Truth and Power

“Nietzsche rightly warned that when truth dies, all that is left is the will to power. The first place where this comes to light is the university, the home if not of truth itself then at least of the pursuit of truth. There are indeed injustices in society; there are prejudices; there are disadvantaged minorities. Their case must be heard and their battles fought. But that belongs to the domain of politics. It is not, and should not be, the domain of academia. There is a difference between truth and power. They have different logics and different homes. The university must be the guardian of open debate, courteous argument, civil speaking and respectful listening. It must provide space for dissenting minds and for voices that challenge our comfortable assumptions. It must teach us to distinguish truth from falsehood, cogent argument from sophistry, the presentation of evidence from mere passion and persuasion. Never must it fall into the ‘intellectual organisation of political hatreds’ that reduced European universities to moral bankruptcy in the 1920s and 1930s, for if it does so it will have betrayed its mandate to protect our political freedoms by defending intellectual freedom.”

Morality, Chapter 12, p. 185