Bob Brecher, University of Brighton

10 November 2015


I argue that to understand the neo-liberals’ ideological agenda for our universities, we need to try to get clear about some of its realities, and in particular two: its ideological commitment to reshaping both human beings and the state; and its insistence on the impossibility of human knowledge. In light of that account, the neo-liberal agenda for our universities is clear: their very function as producers of knowledge has to be undermined; and the obvious way to undermine it is to monetarise knowledge. This has received insufficient attention among all too many academics who object to the direction of UK higher education in general and of the Browne Report in particular, to the point where it sometimes appears that the profession is impotent. But it need not be; and I shall finish by offering “Ten Commandments” to combat the neo-liberals’ epistemic revolution in the universities.


Bob Brecher is Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Brighton, UK; Director of its Centre for Applied Philosophy, Politics & Ethics; and Co-Director of its Violent Conflict research cluster. His interests are mainly in moral theory and in the philosophical issues surrounding conflict, torture, so-called terrorism and medicine, and in the politics of education. He has published extensively and is author of, among others, Getting What You Want? A Critique of Liberal Morality (London: Routledge 1998) and Torture and the Ticking Bomb (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell 2007).


Unfortunately much of the recording for this talk was lost through issues with technologies. Bob Brecher re-recorded his section of this talk and an edit was made to capture what was possible of the session. Closed captions are unfortunately unavailable.


The David Watson Memorial Lecture Series, 2015 – 2016, What Should Universities Be?

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