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May 17 , 2010

How Universities Can Help Create a Wiser World

The Urgent Need for an Academic Revolution


In order to make progress towards a better world we need to learn how to do it. And for that we need institutions of learning rationally designed and devoted to helping us solve our global problems, make progress towards a better world. It is just this that we lack at present. Our universities pursue knowledge. They are neither designed nor devoted to helping humanity learn how to tackle global problems - problems of living - in more intelligent, humane and effective ways. That, this book argues, is the key disaster of our times, the crisis behind all the others: our failure to have developed our institutions of learning so that they are rationally organized to help us solve our problems of living - above all, our global problems. Having universities devoted almost exclusively to the pursuit of knowledge is a recipe for disaster. Scientific knowledge and technological know-how have unquestionably brought great benefits to humanity. But they have also made possible - even caused - our current global crises, above all the impending crisis of global warming. In this lucid and provocative book, Nicholas Maxwell argues convincingly that we need urgently to bring about a revolution in universities round the world so that their basic aim becomes wisdom, and not just knowledge.
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