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Stanley Fish

September 3, 2008

brings the concept of “academic freedom” down to earth:

It is the nature of that task and not any large abstraction like freedom or freedom of speech that determines the range of permissible and prescribed behavior. You start with the idea of pursuing a line of inquiry to whatever conclusion it brings you, and then you ask for the freedom to engage in that pursuit without interference from external forces that would tie you to the agendas of another enterprise. The freedom you ask for is not added on to the project; it is constitutive of it, for you can’t follow where an inquiry takes you if obstacles are constantly put in your way. When all is said and done, academic freedom is just a fancy name for being allowed to do your job …

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