Medievalism and Mr Clarke 2

May 16, 2003

As one of Charles Clarke's constituents in Norwich South and secretary of the Philosophical Society at the University of East Anglia, I would like to invite the education secretary here to speak for the motion "This house believes that the concept of a university as a place for seeking after truth, without any socioeconomic benefit, is outdated", "medieval" if he prefers.

I would oppose the motion on the grounds that without pure, disinterested research into truth most of the great intellectual advances in human history would have been impossible; that training students to seek the truth, rather than training them to be efficient managers or hairdressers, is generally a far better training for the mind; and that lives are lived not to further economic growth, but that economic growth is justified only if it improves our lives. What can really improve lives is instilling in students a love of learning, knowledge and understanding.

Rupert Read
University of East Anglia

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