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Babel and the Ivory Tower: The Scholar in the Age of Science

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Torn between the competing forces of scholarship as a profession and scholarship as a calling – between Babel and the Ivory Tower – the modern academic faces a dilemma: should she or he try to preserve the soul of higher education by cultivating the Muse of personal knowledge, or renounce the Muse and imitate a technician?

Having come to the end of his own scholarly career, W. David Shaw felt out of place in the technological realm academia has become – where scholars ...

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Overview

Torn between the competing forces of scholarship as a profession and scholarship as a calling – between Babel and the Ivory Tower – the modern academic faces a dilemma: should she or he try to preserve the soul of higher education by cultivating the Muse of personal knowledge, or renounce the Muse and imitate a technician?

Having come to the end of his own scholarly career, W. David Shaw felt out of place in the technological realm academia has become – where scholars increasingly model their work on that of scientists rather than the classical thinkers of the past, and where original ideas often only alienate the scholar, rather than enrich. Thus, Babel and the Ivory Tower is as much a eulogy as an elegy.

Shaw reflects on the changes that have taken place in the academic sphere while philosophically enlarging our stock of fresh ideas about the competing claims of maps and models and open and closed capacities in higher learning. This is a fascinating and illuminating discussion of liberal and contemplative scholarship and adds significantly to the growing body of contemporary philosophical literature.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802079985
  • Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
  • Publication date: 12/28/2004
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 340
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 9.27 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Meet the Author

W. David Shaw is a professor emeritus in the Department of English at Victoria College, University of Toronto.

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Table of Contents

1 The prophet and the scholar : two paths to knowledge 3
2 The scholar's wager : the lottery of higher learning 21
3 The scientist's knowledge : the genius of discovery 35
4 The scholar's knowledge : the conversation of the learned 55
5 Contemplative knowledge : a secret discipline 76
6 Practical knowledge : Prometheus to Faust 101
7 Personal knowledge : the lifeblood of learning 124
8 From maps to models : closed and open knowledge 149
9 Socratic mentors : proving truth by living it 176
10 Prophet, rebel, poet : the scholar's hidden knowledge 199
11 From Ivory Tower to Babel : the secret of the maze 224
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