Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Knowledge legitimation and the role of universities

Started this post a thousand years ago and I'm just gonna post it without finishing it. So there!

...the question of double legitimation...comes to the fore. For it appears in its most complete form, that of reversion, revealing that knowledge and power are simply two sides of the same question: who decides what knowledge is, and who knows what needs to be decided?

Lyotard p8-9

Also see Herman Hesse, The Glass Bead Game, as Joseph Knecht writes his circular letter to the Board of Castalia. This is from P. 338 of the Vintage 2000 edition:

Therefore it is not our business to rule and not our business to engage in politics. We are specialists in examining, analysing and measuring. We are the guardians and constant verifiers of all alphabets, multiplication tables, and methods. We are the bureau of standards for cultural weights and measures.

Granted, we are many other things also. In some circumstances we can also be innovators, discoverers, adventurers, conquerors, and reinterpreters. But our first and most inportant function, the reason the people need us and keep us, is to preserve the purity of all sources of knowledge.

In trade, in politics, and what have you, turning X into a Y may occasionally prove to be a stroke of genius; but never with us.
I had planned on working through Lyotard more meticulously, but I need to move on and get these bloody bits of paper of the walls, so we'll skip forward to Part 10: Delegitimation, and again, I'll just pop in the quote:

What we have here is a process of delegitimation fueled by the demand for legitimation internal erosion of the legitimacy principle of knowledge...erosion at work inside the speculative game, and by loosening the weave of the encyclopedic net in which each science was to find its place, it eventually sets them free.

The classical dividing lines between the various fields of science are thus called into question - disciplines disappear overlappings occur...The speculative hierarchy of learning gives way to an immanent..."flat" network of areas of constant flux. The old "faculties" splinter into institutes and foundations of all kinds, and the universities lose their function of speculative legitimation.
Lyotard, Post. Con: Rpt Knowledge P.39 (should be) legitimation works: Lyotard's language games and the glass bead game. Maybe.

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