The paradigmatic act of the university professor in the (originally) Western (but now Global) university in the modern age is the lecture. The disputation was central to the pedagogy of the Medieval university and the tutorial system is fundamental to the Oxbridge system. The graduate seminar is the backbone of the modern, research university. But common to all universities of all times is the lecture.…But what kind of event is the lecture? I say it is a moral event first because it is a kind of profession of faith, which is why we are called ”professors.” Max Weber, good positivist that he was, would be horrified by this flaunting of the fact/value distinction. But the fact/value distinction is a product of a stunted modern epistemology detached from its metaphysical life source and left to die slowly from its inability to sustain itself in thin air.
To lecture is to take a stand of some kind. It is to present a thesis, propose an interpretation, or make an argument. It is to choose to leave some things out and to put other things in. It takes place in a set period of time and must prioritize ruthlessly. The most important thing in a lecture is to tell the truth and no lecture that does so will ever be boring.
To take a stand is a moral act. A person lectures, not a disembodied ghost or a mechanical voice coming over a speaker that sounds like a robot. A lecture is given in a concrete, specific language and from a certain perspective, whether that is Marxist or Buddhist, Freudian or Augustinian, Christian or Positivist. To lecture is to be forced out on a high wire in front of an audience where it is impossible to be neutral with regard to the truth. Qualify all you want, nuance all you like: your audience expects (and has a right to expect) you to take a position and defend it. This is a moral act. To be insincere here is to be exposed to the world as a hack, a sophist and an intellectual prostitute.
Her er virkelig mye å reflektere over… Ikke minst for oss som er engasjerte innenfor private, kristne høgskoler. Men også for enhver som er opptatt av utdanning, undervisning og formidling.
English: The above quote from Craig Carter from his blog-post In praise of the Lecture is thought-provoking, insightful and relevant for anyone involved or interested in education or higher learning.