The postmodern university is experiencing a legitimation crisis because of a deepening and corrosive mistrust of all forms of authority; even those that are intended to benefit students by enabling them to “think critically”, or to deepen and improve their knowledge and skills. Some of the problem is rooted in prevailing cultural and economic trends, but others inhere in the nature of postmodernism itself; especially the postmodern claim that truth itself is non-existent or simply unattainable or unavailable, even at the best of times. Unlike earlier generations of critical theorists, who believed that “the truth shall make you free”, postmodern theorists, following Nietzsche, claim that the very idea of truth is moot, if not entirely obsolete. But absent a commitment to a search for truth, the entire structure of the university itself begins to crumble.
authority, reason, postmodernism, Erich Fromm, Friedrich Nietzsche
How to cite:
Burston, Daniel. “Authority, Tradition and the Postmodern University.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 2, no. 3(5) (2018): 90–99. https://doi.org/10.26319/5817.
Psychology Department, Duquesne University
Burston, Daniel. “Psychoanalysis & Subjectivity in the work of Erich Fromm.” In Understanding Experience: Psychotherapy and Postmodernism, edited by Roger Frie, 161–179. Routledge: London, 2003.
Francis. Laudato si’. Vatican City: Vatican Press, 2015.
Freud, Sigmund. The Future of an Illusion. Translated by Gregory Richter. Toronto: Broadview Press, 2012.
Fromm, Erich. Escape From Freedom. New York: Avon Books, 1965.
Fromm, Erich. To Have or to Be?. New York: Bantam Books, 1976.
Fromm, Erich. Man For Himself. Greenwich, CT: Fawcett Premier Books, 1947.
Fromm, Erich. “The Prophetic Concept of Peace.” In The Dogma of Christ and Other Essays on Religion, Psychology, and Culture. New York: Holt Rinehart and Winston, 1963.
Fromm, Erich. Psychoanalysis and Religion. New York: Bantam Books, 1972.
Fromm, Erich. You Shall Be As Gods: A Radical Interpretation of the Old Testament and Its Tradition. Greenwich, CT: Fawcett Premier Books, 1966.
Frye, Northrop. The Northrop Frye Quote Book. Toronto: Dundurn, 2014.
Laing, Ronald David. Self and Others. London: Tavistock 1961.
Lyotard, Jean-François, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Translated by Geoffrey Bennington and Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984.
Nietzsche, Friedrich, “On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense.” In The Portable Nietzsche. Edited and translated by Walter Kaufmann. New York: Viking Penguin, 1974.
Pfister, Oskar. “The Illusion of a Future: A Friendly Disagreement with Prof. Sigmund Freud.” International Journal of Psychoanalysis 74, no.3 (July 1993).
Open Access Statement:
This is an open access journal which means that all content is freely available without charge to the user or his/her institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author, as long as the author and original source are properly cited. This is in accordance with the BOAI definition of open access.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Submitting a text to Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture means that the author agrees with the general conditions of this license. The author does and will maintain copyrights and publishing rights for his/her article without any restrictions.