Purposeful point

December 23, 2005

In his review, Gordon Johnson endorses the claim made in Gordon Graham's book The Institution of Intellectual Values: Realism and Idealism in Higher Education (Books, December 9) that "there has been no sustained exposition of what a university is for" since John Henry Newman's in 1854.

This claim ignores not only such luminaries as Jürgen Habermas and F. R. Leavis but also Ron Barnett's sustained engagement with the liberal humanist ideal of the Western university in a series of books published in the past decade.

Patrick Ainley
Greenwich University

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