Monday, 20 October 2008

We are satisfying a direct need of our nature in its very acquisition: Newman's knowledge

University Education...has a very tangible, real and sufficient end, though the end cannot be divided from that knowledge itself. Knowledge is capable of being its own end. Such is the constitution of the human mind, that any kind of knowledge, if it be really such, is its own reward.
What the worth of such an acquirement is, compared with other objects which we seek, - wealth or power or honour or the conveniences and comforts of life, I do not profess here to discuss; but I would maintain, and mean to show that it is an object, in its own nature so really and undeniably good, as to be the compensation of a great deal of thought in the compassing, and a great deal of trouble in the attaining.
...we are satisfying a direct need of our nature in its very acquisition... valuable for what its very presence in us does for us after the manner of a habit, even though it be turned to no further account, nor subserve any direct end.

John Henry Newman, The Idea of a University. Discourse V (1852) Knowledge its own End. 1966 Edition, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York. pp.77-8

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