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Freedom, Technology and Terror

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Is our university a place of free thinking?

Cambridge University is increasingly influenced by the world of business, both through direct contact and funding, and through the all pervasive spirit of profit-loss calculation. This raises serious challenges to the place of free, independent and critical thinking in the University: Are academics compelled to serve profit rather than truth in their research? Has undergraduate education become a mere production line, generating consultants for the private sector, rather than thinkers for society? Have we lost the ability to justify thinking outside of economic grounds?

Our 5th lecture series tries to shed a critical light on the current developments within our institution, and, more generally, to ask if there is any free space of thinking left which has not yet been taken over by economic rationality. It seeks to ask how, in an age when the university’s activities are predominantly judged and legitimised in terms of utility and profit, can we, both students and academics, act to secure freedom from this crude and unforgiving rationality and maintain the critical distance necessary to question its place as a dominant rationality of our time.

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This talk is part of the Thinking Society: Is our university a place of free thinking? series.

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