Il processo di autodistruzione delle facoltà umanistiche

Raccomando vivamente a studenti e colleghi la lettura del saggio di Kevin Mulligan, How to Destroy a European Faculty of Letters. Twenty Five Easy Steps, in KVHAA Konferenser 81, Trust and Confidence in Scientific Research, Eds. G. Hermerén, K. Sahlin and N.-E. Sahlin, kungl. Vitterhetsakademien (KVHAA), the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities: Stockholm, 2013, pp. 23-36, dal quale estraggo questa citazione:


"If even part of what I have suggested is plausible, parts of the humanities are in the process of destroying themselves. Since they no longer believe in themselves they are distrusted. Since they are distrusted they will either disappear or their functions will be transformed. One such transformation is already apparent. For in at least one respect the humanities are trusted. They can be relied on to play the role of useful clowns. In the modern European University someone has to promote - and be seen to promote - the already mentioned good works*. Who better than the full professor of the humanities? After all, she is more likely than anyone else to believe in the usefulness and intrinsic value of such good works, especially if she has victimological inclinations. The role of useful clown complements in many ways one by now traditional function of the 'discourse' of European humanities and philosophy - intellectual titillation. The cheap intellectual thrill provided by the ever changing fashions in Theory** and its ilk are a sociological factor that few Rectors can afford to ignore. How else can one explain the strange phenomenon of Rectors and Provosts who, after a distinguished career in one or another hard science, hasten to hand out honorary doctorates to charlatans and invite psychoanalysts to address their Universities?" (p. 33).

(Kevin Mulligan è professore ordinario di filosofia analitica all'Università di Ginevra.)


* Con la locuzione 'good works' Mulligan si riferisce a temi e finalità percepiti dall'ideologia corrente come degni di universale approvazione e incontestabili: "Increasingly the central role of of the Faculty of Letters comes to be seen as the promotion of various good-works, from sustainable development and the ramifications of the universal care and benevolence industry ('mentoring') to the promotion of women and 'human rights' " (p. 25).

** Con questo termine Mulligan si riferisce alle pseudoscienze che hanno prevalente diffusione nelle facoltà umanistiche, dove si è persa ormai la distinzione tra "cognitive values and virtues - the values of truth, knowledge, clarity, justification, argument - and cognitive disvalues and vices - bullshit, charlatanry, obscurity, obscurantism, illusion and error" (p. 27; vedi anche p. 31).

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