Links: ‘Valuing the Humanities’ discussion, and Munk debate with Blair/Hitchens

In answering a query made by a previous comment, I submit two links pertinent to the Munk Debate on religion. The motion advanced was: religion is a force for good in the world. Promoting the case was Tony Blair, former UK prime minister and against, Christopher Hitchens. Here is the official Munk foundation webpage and here is a podcast from CBC with what I think is an editorial. The latter is open access and the former asks for a fee to download or stream the full debate.

Another link to put up here. Michael made a post last week concerning the ‘Valuing the Humanities’ panel discussion. The British Philosophical Association has uploaded a downloadable mp3 here with the full discussion.


Link: How the Humanities are useful

Greetings readers,

Some of you may be aware that we’ve not commented on current affairs very much these past fwe months. Well, the reason is; I’m busy with real life at the moment and it is not through want of trying that I’ve not posted about recent events. The recent events I mention are:

  1. The recent announcement of the Browne report, an educational policy dictum commissioned last year on the funding deficit of UK Higher Education.
  2. The various reactions to said report, which include: the 180′ made by the Liberal Democrats where they directly contradicted their election pledge. In true 18thC literary fashion, this is a case of the underdog who is corrupted by power against their former values.
  3. Related threats of serious funding cuts to UK academic funding, and the suggested tuition fee price hike for those who may be starting university courses over the next decade.
  4. The specific threat to the Humanities relating to the prospect of funding cuts. When academic funding is cut, departments in the humanities will almost certainly be under the axe first.

The short of it is: this is not a good time to be an intellectual.

With that primer, I thought I’d share a link. I like the examples given in this article of how certain ‘useful’ subjects have become suddenly obsolete. I can imagine courses in computer science, or technical ICT qualifications which can become easily obsolete within 5 years (with the emergence of say, new computer languages, greater innovations and more superior software and hardware releases). The renaissance/humanistic mindset is under threat by one of instrumental rationality. Lets just hope the music that comes out of this period is as uncomfortable and avant garde to reflect the time.