the critical and intellectual independence

A few days ago I had to defend the phd thesis and among the questions the Commission was the issue of the location of sociology as a critical science and the problem, then, of a critical research from the University. And listened to the question and I said that does it make sense to consider the idea of making critique from the institution at university?

The idea sort of makes sense. The University would give them a safe place, separate from other influences, where it would be possible to engage in a research that will say things to power and was raised to speak from the subaltern. From where possible, as it says Salazar, comply with the cognitive demands of the society to deliver relevant information to substantiate their historical decisions and to participate collaboratively in the execution of the will historical society (these are his words in the balance of the historiography of chile, in Balance on Historical Chilean, Luis G. de Mussy (ed), 2007). Others may use different formulations and critique given by Salazar, but I think it serves as an example of the type of idea and meaning that is behind those who think of themselves from a critical place.

And yet, I think that this idea is wrong. Enter in roads institutional means to link to logical institutional. And the logic of the University is the logic of the academy, and she is an internal logic -where what matters is to publish for the community itself. But even more is to enter the constraints of the institution (which now manifest themselves in terms of competitions, in publications of the ISI, but which in other places have stated otherwise).

To maintain the intellectual independence required to maintain the social independence; and since this last is impossible, to the full, the intellectual independence also is never total but partial. But it is possible, within the partial, have more or less independence.

The context is not the same, or the solution may possibly be the same, but I recall here an anecdote from the life of Spinoza. In 1673 the Elector Palatine, offered Spinoza a chair in philosophy at the University of Heidelberg. It gave him a pleasant life and one worthy of a philosopher, intellectual freedom (in that it does not lead to disturb the established religion). By the way, being the power in those times, something more honest than now, the letter from the courtier through which is made the offer he concluded that all of this would happen unless events develop contrary to expectations and hope. Spinoza responded with thanks, but rejecting the offer. For more that is offered the intellectual freedom she had limits and was not willing to bear, and he preferred to devote himself to research in his or her situation private and secluded. And so continued working with lenses and doing philosophy (The exchange can be read in the Correspondence of Spinoza, the letters, LIII and LIV are available at this link)

Locations, and institutional solutions to investigate, and to investigate without limit which is what requires criticism (although it is not only the intellectual critic who I need to), change. And if the University is no longer the place to make the life of a scholar, remember that scholars and researchers has been, in many contexts and circumstances, and not always the University has been the place from which it can be done.

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