Wednesday, November 28, 2018

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We’re Not Children. So Trust Us With Grown-Up Debate

Laura Kennedy writing in the Irish Times calls for people to be treated as grown ups and not treated like children who need protected from difficult ideas. 

There is a general tendency to consider universities in some way intellectually and functionally separate from society as a whole. We think of them, in some cases accurately, as places where young people go to test the boundaries of the world view they accrued during childhood and adolescence. Those young people leave an environment delineated by the cultural, ideological, religious and other views of their guardians, and are suddenly exposed to new and multitudinous ways of understanding the world.

In theory, personal development and education are the focus of those years. Often, students will develop new interests in politics, and asking philosophical questions about concepts like fairness, identity, justice and human rights, using the skills they are taught at university to think about the issues and problems they see in wider society.

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