The Degradation of the Academic Dogma: the University in America, 1945-1970

The Degradation of the Academic Dogma: the University in America, 1945-1970

The Degradation of the Academic Dogma: the University in America, 1945-1970

The Degradation of the Academic Dogma: the University in America, 1945-1970

Excerpt

No one will miss the indebtedness of the title of this book to Henry Adams, The Degradation of the Democratic Dogma. So far as I am aware, however, indebtedness does not extend beyond title. When Henry Adams and his brother Brooks used the word "degradation" in their writings, for the most part they had in mind a process in human history comparable to entropy in the physical world. Both the Adams brothers saw in the history of civilization an endemic running down of energy that was reflected, they believed, in an increasing dissolution of culture and of moral values in their own time. As is well known, their contemplation of the future of both American society and the Western world generally was one of considerable foreboding.

Nothing of that is to be found in this book. My referent throughout is the university in America: not the surrounding social order, not the American nation, not Western society. Whatever is happening to these larger entities is a matter I am happy to leave to others for judgment. I am even willing to stipulate for present purposes that these entities are undergoing changes of progressive character in which what I have chosen to call the degradation of the academic dogma is a necessary part. After all, there is no Golden Age known in history not based in some degree at least upon the dislodg-

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