Transcending Academic Orthodoxies and Pursuing Truth in its Wholeness
Garcia, Kenneth. Transcending Academic Orthodoxies and Pursuing Truth in its Wholeness. 2017
The following paper argues that academic freedom, rightly understood, is the guarantor of “expanded reason,” which the author understands as the drive to explore reality beyond what can be known through ordinary disciplinary methods of inquiry. In order to rightly understand the true meaning of academic freedom, however, we must adopt a properly theological understanding of its ﬁnali- ty. Speciﬁcally, while the majority of this paper focuses on historical and theological concepts of academic freedom, and how the research of scientists, whether or not they are aware of it, implicitly moves toward an inﬁnite horizon. The goal of this paper is to discuss and debate understandings of academic freedom for the 21st century that build on, yet complete the prevailing secular principle. The secular principle is not so much wrong as it is incomplete, an incompleteness that leads to short- comings in the practice of it, speciﬁcally, the failure to guarantee scholars the freedom to pursue connections between knowledge gained in academic disciplines and theological insight. By theological insight the author doesn´t mean for example, pronouncements by religious authorities or adherence to dogmas but a subtle spiritual awareness that there is a surplus of knowledge and meaning to reality that transcends what can be known through ordinary disciplinary methods of inquiry; that ﬁndings in many ﬁelds of study hint at connections to a greater whole; and that scholars in any academic ﬁeld must be free to pursue those connections.Most academics can agree, though, that the principles of academic freedom and the confessional commitments of religiously afﬁlia- ted universities do not always mix well. Fortunately, acceptance of intellectual and academic freedom has advanced signiﬁcantly and most, if not all, religiously afﬁliated universities now adhere to principles of academic freedom and tenure.