Envisioning the Modern University: Schelling’s Jena Lectures

A lecture by Bruce Matthews

What can we learn about the modern university from reading Schelling? PAL invites you to an informal talk by Bruce Matthews, one of this year’s Humanities Writ Large Visiting Fellows.


Thurs. Nov 13
FHI Garage
Smith Warehouse, Bay 4
Duke University
Reception at 4:30pm

Reception continues after the talk


Schelling’s lectures of 1802 challenge us to not only reconsider the role of research and teaching, as well as the cultural and ethical mission of the university, but to consider that the university is condemned to failure if it cannot offer students and society a convincing account of how learning and knowledge are themselves an absolute good. In doing this he announces the fight against two enemies of the arts and sciences: those who would see the university “transformed into industrial training schools,” and the more systemic “fragmentation” caused by the “specialization” of the disciplines. Both these external and internal threats cause “knowledge” itself, understood as the goal of the university, to be “lost sight of in an ever narrower concern for means and institutions.” These remarkably contemporary claims are just the opening salvo in an analysis of the university relevant to today’s debates on higher education.