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All the major fields of learning are therefore represented in the faculty and among the students of the institutions of which the university of Utopia is composed. Because the people recognize that the tendency of specialization is centrifugal and that every precaution must be taken against this tendency. They require the members of these institutions to live together. The object of the University of Utopia is the clarification and reinterpretation of basic ideas. All right ideas can seriously pretend to be basic. I discussed the utopians because of the character of their liberal education. I have little difficulty in assessing the pretensions of various ideals. Those ideas which underlie the learned professions are included in
those occupations which do not rest on any intellectual content or which have none in their own right. I necessarily exclude those interested in them take part in the conversation. The persons who are interested only in the accumulation of data about some subject even a subject of great importance like the operations of government or the economic system are protons or proteins are unless they are able to think and communicate about the ideas involved in these phenomena. That's a set really exploded to. The qualifications of the professors of utopia are strikingly different from those which prevail in the United States. In the United States. The professor must only be eminent or give promise of eminence in his field. In
Utopia the professor must be eminent. I give promise of eminence in his field. This is taken as a matter of course. And last in addition to meeting this requirement he is also willing and able to receive light from other fields and shed light from his own upon the basic problems that the university is discussing. He cannot be appointed. This conclusion follows remorselessly from the conception of the university that the utopians entertains. The students of the University of utopia are not there because they do not want to go to work or because they want to move a wrong or to up the social ladder. Or because they want to learn how to get ahead in some occupation. Or because without the civilizing influence of the dean of students they might
turn into juvenile delinquents. And students of the University of Utopia or there because they have intellectual interests and have shown in the program of liberal education they have passed through that they are capable of developing them. The university is not concerned with the question whether the studies of these students prepare them to carry on some specific activity in later life. Such a question would be uncomprehensible Toyo topia utopians have the conviction that a lecture will activity and a discussion of the most important theoretical and practical problems as n dispensable to a happy life and to the progress and even the safety of the state. The University of Utopia was conceived and established as a
center of independent thought. I've said enough to show in what sense it is a center everybody can and will communicate with everybody else. I have perhaps said enough to suggest in what sense it deals with thought. Anything that is not thought can have no place in it. By this I do not mean the university as opposed to recreation or social life. The programme of extra curriculum activities is starkly in its range richness. All I mean is that the university has never confused these activities with the purpose of the institution. One reason for this is perhaps that a collegiate football has never taken root. It has never even been thought of and utopian
as I've said. The utopians are a sensible people. Now since the top ins are sensible they do not deny the value of the collection of information or data. Or do they deny the importance of technical training in many fields. And they would be the last to say that a society should not organize itself in some way to bring its knowledge and experience to bear on urgent practical problems. All of the utopians claim is that such activity is the collection of data. Technical training and the solution of immediate practical problems cannot be conducted in the university without disrupting or at least confusing the institution. And since they regard the university as a highly specialized institution
they do not want to confuse. They see confusion as the first step toward under specialization and disintegration. Utopians understand however that man and gauged on the collection of data technical training at high levels and the solution of urgent practical problems have much to gain from association where the center of independent thought. They also think that the university has much to gain from association with such men and with such undertakings. This is not because the professors are sensitive to the charge but they live in an ivory tower and have never met a payroll such absurdities are never heard in Utopia. The reason for this is that the utopians recognise of anything worth thinking about has consequences in the practical order
and that anything in the practical order may suggest something that is worth thinking about. Utopians of their force surrounded their universities. With organizations collecting data giving technical training at high levels and seeking the solution of urgent practical problems and the interchange between these groups and the members of the university is very active. Neither side of the exchange is at all confused about what is the university and what is not. Neither side would wish to be the other. Each institution is specialized these arrangements have worked remarkably well. I have heard that they were modeled after those between the public administration Clearing House and the University of Chicago. I have now shown in what sense the University of Utopia is a center
and in what sense it is dedicated to thought. In my next lecture I shall attempt to show in what sense it is independent and is therefore entitled to be called a center of independent thought. But I should say something now about the idea of independence as it affects the students of the university. As you know the students enter the university of Utopia between the ages of 18 and 28. Having sought to obtain a liberal education in the college. Their object in the university is not to drop this education principally to participate in the discussion. That is the university. To understand the reasons for things and to master the ideas and an important field of learning. The first difference it strikes is in looking at what they do and what the American
student does rise in the negligible amount of family instruction given them in the university. Twenty years ago when I asked the chairman of the Economics Department at the University of Chicago why he had such large and frequent classes for graduate students he replied believe it or not Mr. Hutchings my students cannot learn anything unless I am in the room. When I asked why he didn't get better students. He replied perhaps correctly that there weren't any. And Utopia this problem does not arise. Only those students who are qualified to do independent work and
who are interested in doing it all read method to the university. This is in fact one of the two great differences between the college and the university in that country. The college does its work through formal instruction for the most part. There is no specialisation in the university. Ramel instruction is at a minimum and one of the objects of the institution is to advance knowledge and special fields of learning. The College of Utopia is in session for thirty six weeks of the year university for only 24. So let's see a Champions pay no attention to time served as a criterion of intellectual progress and since of course there are no accrediting agencies in Utopia. Which would tell a university that only time served can be a criteria. And since the credit system has never been heard out of your tap ins have no
difficulty in clothing that independent study and reflection should constitute a principal activity of the faculty and students of the university. And utopia. The university student never attends formal class meetings more than four or six hours a week and he is not required to attend. The method of discussion which is characterized the educational program up to the university is the principal method of instruction in the university itself. The professors in the University of Utopia never lecture. Except about a break that they have in progress. If that work has reached the stage at which it can be written down it is written down distributed among the students and discussed. No utopian professor would think of giving a course of lectures more than once.
If he did so it would suggest that he had no work in progress or that he was not making any progress whether. This brief survey of the organization and operation of utopian educational system and enables us to say in what sense philosophical diversity is a hazard to education and in what sense it may be an advantage. Clearly if the educational system is thought of as a means by which society indoctrinate the young with a certain view of life and the world then philosophical diversity is faith and must be eliminated if necessary by the most drastic methods drastic methods employed by Nancy Germany and
those states which have officially embraced Marxism. I know all of us. If the university is thought of as performing among other things the task of training the so-called intelligentsia to preserve interpret and teach the official philosophy then of course philosophical diversity cannot be tolerated. Educational systems and universities in countries that have militant official philosophies may be able to cope with industrialization and specialization by some of the methods practiced in Utopia but they cannot cope with philosophical diversity. They cannot allow it. They have to take the view that the last word has been said. All right ladies. The last unfortunate word and that to permit the addition of another is to promote error and endanger the unity and hence the safety of the
state. At first glance the problems raised by philosophical diversity and countries that are without an official philosophy seem inside of them. If there are many philosophies how can we avoid having many educational philosophy. If there are many educational philosophies how can we avoid having many educational systems which is manifestly absurd. Yet the utopian experience may suggest to us that it is possible to have one educational philosophy and many philosophies. The Utopian example may show that a country can have one educational system and one educational philosophy in the face of philosophical diversity. The utopians have accomplished this fate by making the consideration of
philosophical diversity the primary task of educational philosophy. I glance at the University of utopia will show how this is done. The university is not a center of propaganda for an official doctrine. Still less is it an institution like many American university that is not concerned with doctrine at all. The University of Utopia is concerned with all doctrines but don't have any reasonable claim to be taken seriously. It's effort is to work toward a definition of the real points of agreement and disagreement among these doctrines not in the hope of obtaining unanimity but in the hope of obtaining clarity. The object is not agreement but communication. The utopians think it would be very boring to agree with one another. They think it helpful and interesting to understand one another.
The University of utopia like the educational system as a whole and aims to bring together men of different additives backgrounds interests temperament and philosophies for the purpose of promoting mutual comprehension. The University of Utopia is an understood diversity. That's the educational system of utopia. The paradigm or credit type or model of the Republic of learning and the world political republic for which the utopians yearn for the civilization that the utopians have established is one in which discussion takes the place of force and consensus is the basis of action in theoretical matters utopians believe that the continuous refinement of methods and ideas will lead to the development of new ideas and hence to the advancement of
knowledge the utopians are willing to examine the pretensions of any plan of action. Or of any theoretical proposition. But now they are convinced that philosophical diversity is a good thing. In order to have a university or an educational system at all they have had to impose some limits on the length and breadth of their philosophical tolerance. These limits can be indicated by recording the kinds of men who cannot be appointed to the faculty of the University of utopia. There is the kind of man who believes that he knows everything. I was closely related to if not identical with the kind of man who does not want to learn anything. Then there is the kind of man who does not want to talk with anybody. With these exceptions within these limitations. The utopians are very
Catholic and their philosophical tastes are the prime question is not the source or character of the man's philosophy but whether he is willing to talk about. The nature of liberal education and Utopia and the universal diffusion of that education has reduced the number of utopians who are unwilling or unable to talk about their ideas. Almost to the vanishing point. The wide differences of view among them in regard to such matters as the nature of man. The purpose of the state and the existence of God have not prevented them from developing a coherent educational program. The type of man the utopians wish to produce through their educational system is I suppose clear enough. Here's a man who has achieved through the use of his razor and through
experience. The utopians do not regard education as a substitute for experience but only as preparation for it. They believe however that a trained mind is essential to the comprehension of experience and that the object of the specialized institution called the educational system is to equip the people in this way to deal with the problems that confront them. I should add that though to Americanize the educational system of Utopia may look impractical attached unrealistic utopians have made a remarkable record as they have faced contemporary problems industrialization specialization and philosophical diversity and not threaded their efforts to understand the world in themselves. They have had no difficulty in finding their way on the conflicting ideologies.
After all the population is trained to criticism. These triumphs of understanding. Perhaps you would expect since they are triumphant solutions of intellectual problems. But I am sure it will strike you as singular or even sensational. Is the success of the utopians and dealing with the kind of practical issues that seem beyond resolution in the West today. This is the place to emphasize that the utopian educational system as a whole and the University of utopia in particular are in constant touch with the life of the people and constantly seeking to eliminate the practical problems that the people confront. The great difference between the American University and the University of Utopia on this point is that utopian educators never lose sight of what a university is for and never confuse the contribution they can make
to the solution of a practical problem with that which can be made by industrialists bankers or politicians. The object of the University of Utopia is not to mirror the chaos of the world but to straighten it out. For example the press radio and television of utopia are renowned for the accuracy of their reports and the illumination that they shed on what is going on. These instruments of communication are regarded as a contribution to the informal education of utopian adults. They're thought of as a means of public enlightenment. How are these results achieved. Not through schools of journalism. The man men who manage and write for what are called the media of mass communication and Utopia receive an education in the college and if they wait in the university they learn their trade in the practice of
their education has equipped them to read and write. To think about important questions and to discuss them intelligently. This is one part of the story. The rest is found in the training of the people with whom they communicate utopians are a people trained to criticism and sense the propagandists. An advertising man would leave them on Merv. There is no point in indulging in it. At last reports there were no propagandists or advertising men in that happy country. As I conclude this necessarily brief and then complete account of the organization and activities of the educational system of utopia. I must do my best to answer a question that I am sure is in your mind. You may grant that the utopians have found a
way to meet the educational hazards of industrialization specialization and philosophical diversity but you may fail at the cures they have invented are worse than the diseases the picture afterall is one of continuous talk. Granted that the talk is about the most important subjects granted that communication is indispensable to a community. Granted that every social group should be a community and that a university should be a thinking community. You may ask why do these people decide anything and why don't how do they learn to do it. How do they ever get any convictions have they and can an ideal country be one in which people are forever talking and communicating and trying to find out what they ought to think and believe. Isn't it possible in short to carry this sort of thing too far.
If I may say so the questions that I have attributed to you perhaps falsely reveal what is wrong with the world today rather than what is wrong with utopia. Utopians distinguish sharply between knowledge and opinion. They also distinguish sharply between two meanings of advancing knowledge. The method of discussion and the method of discovery. The utopians have nothing but praise for the scientific method. They are experts at it because they are experts at it. They recognize its limitations. They use it to advance knowledge about the world and man but they do not think that it provides the only way of advancing knowledge. The utopians know with interest but without surprise that most of the things they know were not learned by this method because they knew them before this method was
invented. They came to know by the method of discussion the things they knew before the method of discovery was in common use. The utopians do not believe that the method of discovery has supplanted the method of discussion. They insist that they need both and cloying each in the fields in which it is appropriate. Therefore they do not say for example that they can learn only in the laboratory because no knowledge can be obtained outside it. They say they learn the things that can be learned in the laboratory by the method of discovery and the things that can be learned outside it by the method of discussion. Now when the utopians enter upon the discussion of the matter they ask themselves what kind of matter it is. Here's one about which they can hope to obtain knowledge. Or is it
run on which were the best well in the world and the most careful thinking the results can be merely probable. If it is one on which reasonable men can agree. That knowledge should be obtainable. The utopians inquire whether they can arrive at knowledge by the discussion of the subject. If they can they go to record it with knowledge as the end in view. If it is a matter on which it is clear reasonable men can always differ. If in short it is a matter of opinion such as the precise reasons for the defeat of Napoleon of Waterloo the utopians discuss it and investigate and investigate it with a view to arriving at the most enlightened opinion. It is a matter for action. Such as the question whether the utopians should negotiate with the full Liston's. Well then the utopians deliberate with a view to the most unlikely decision.
Now there are two reasons. Right the discussion is conducted in Utopia. I've had such inspiring results in the material intellectual and political progress of the country. First know what they're talking about. They do not say that everything is a matter of opinion and one man's opinion is as good as any other man's. This would mean only that no discussion was worthwhile or that it was endless. Utopian sorry the knowledge in certain fails can be advanced by discussion as to matters of knowledge. The utopians intend to arrive at the truth by this method and so far as a subject is one the knowledge of which is susceptible of advancement by this method. As to matters of opinion the peons hope to reach the most intelligent conclusion by the theoretical or practical.
The second reason why discussions on Utopia have a high quality that distinguishes them. Is that the utopians have convictions they have convictions because they think their home educational program is designed to force them to do so from their youth up. They submit their convictions to the scrutiny of their followers in the expectation through the consideration and comparison of the reasons for their convictions and knowledge. All right opinion as the case may be. While I am of late they attained. You have heard Robert M. HUTCHENS former chancellor of the University of Chicago in the third of four lectures on hazards to education in the United States. The topic of this lecture was philosophical diversity. This talk was delivered under the Walgreen lectureship at the University of Chicago. This series of lectures is
copyrighted by the university and will be published in book form by the University Press. This is the ne e b network.
Hazards to education
Philosophical diversity, part two
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University of Chicago
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program, the second of two parts, focuses on the hazards that philosophical diversity poses to education.
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Walgreen Lecture series on the present hazards to American education as seen and presented by Robert M. Hutchins. Each lecture discusses one particular problem.
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Producing Organization: University of Chicago
Speaker: Hutchins, Robert Maynard, 1899-1977
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 55-10-3 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:30:24
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Chicago: “Hazards to education; Philosophical diversity, part two,” 1955-04-17, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed March 3, 2024,
MLA: “Hazards to education; Philosophical diversity, part two.” 1955-04-17. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. March 3, 2024. <>.
APA: Hazards to education; Philosophical diversity, part two. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from