2018-03Thematic Section
Authority, Tradition and the Postmodern University


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.


Daniel Burston
Psychology Department, Duquesne University
211 Rockwell Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15282, USA


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