Where is the university? #CSOPhD

A very interesting extract from Gilbert Ryle shared by Adam Wood (MMU) at the Centre for Social Ontology PhD Conference:

A foreigner visiting Oxford or Cambridge for the first time is shown a number of colleges, libraries, playing fields, museums, scientific departments, and administrative offices. He then adds “but where is the university? I have seen where the mumbers of the colleges live, where the Registar works, where the scientists experiment and the rest. But I have not yet seen the University in which reside and work the members of your university.” It has then to be explained to him that the University is not another collateral institution, some ulterior counterpart to the colleges, laboratories, and offices which he has seen. The University is just the way in which all that he has already seen is organized. When they are seen and when their coordination is understood, the University has been seen. His mistake lay in his innocent assumption that it was correct to speak of the Christ Church, the Bodleian Library, the Ashmolean Museum, and the University, to speak, that is, as if “the University” stood for an extra member of the class of which these other units are members. He was mistakenly allocating the University to the same category as that to which the other institutions belong.

Source: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=291989


Categories: Outflanking Platitudes, Rethinking The World

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