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Tel Aviv University
[TAU, Philosophy] Taxpayers Report: Paying for Anat Matars Activism

 

 

Dr. Anat Matar

TAU Philosophy

e-mail: matar@post.tau.ac.il

 

07.07.14

Editorial Note

 

Anat Matar, a senior lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at TAU, has been the subject of previous postings.   Matar is a leading member of a group of radical faculty at TAU – along with Yehouda Shenhav, Moshe Zuckermann, among others - who have used their tenured positions to push their political causes.

 

Matar, a veteran member of the Communist Party, has virtually abandoned all her research duties to devote herself full time to her topics of choice such as BDS and Palestinian security prisoners who, in her view, should be reclassified, as political prisoners / civil resisters, and promoted conscious objection among Israelis.    

 

At one time or another, Matar has been activist with The 21st Year, Open Doors, Hacampus-Lo-Shotek, Ta'ayush, Refuseniks Parents' Forum, The Israeli Committee for Palestinian Prisoners.    In addition, Matar co-edited a book on the alleged abuses of security prisoners, as well as traveled extensively with her colleague, Rachel Giora, to promote BDS.

 

Given that Matar is teaching in a public university, her activism may seem excessive.  But Matar explains that it is her duty to expose the “truth.”  

 

Truth is political:

theoretical (“constative”) content cannot be separated from practical (“performative”) force, and the latter is always politically “tainted”; the liberal fantasy about academic  purity and freedom eliminates truth and reinforces conservatism and  obedience.  Theory should be interwoven with praxis – both within and outside academia.

Most observers would conclude that it is ironic that this Marxist heroine of “praxis” makes a living courtesy of the taxpayer.    But Matar evidently does not see this here; she is truly convinced that it is the duty of the said taxpayer to support her mission of “truth.”

 

 

 

The London Conference in Critical Thought, The Centre for Arts and Learning in the Department of Educational Studies, Goldsmiths College, University of London

27th and 28th of June 2014

http://londoncritical.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Phil-In-Out-University-abstracts.pdf


LCCT 2014 stream: Philosophy and Critical Thought Inside and Outside the University

Panel 1 – Philosophical Externalities
‘Proving the truth in practice’ – Anat Matar


‘Proving the truth in practice’ – Anat Matar, Tel Aviv University
Man must prove the truth – i.e. the reality and power, the this-sidedness of his thinking, in practice. (Karl Marx, Theses on Feuerbach)

Three assumptions form the background of my discussion: 1. It is the primary role of the university
and its alternatives to deal with truth – not only in philosophically exploring its nature but also in
overcoming the liberal fear of content and annunciating truths-as-truths; 2. Truth is political:
theoretical (“constative”) content cannot be separated from practical (“performative”) force, and
the latter is always politically “tainted”;the liberal fantasy about academic purity and freedom
eliminates truth and reinforces conservatism and obedience;3.Theory should be interwoven with
praxis – both within and outside academia.

I elaborated and defended these assumptions elsewhere. In the first part of the present talk I’ll
explain them, but move quickly on to discuss the feasibility of implementing them within and outside the university through an examination of the case of research done in critically-motivated NGOs inIsrael. While the quality and timeliness of this research finds no parallel in academic research, theformer’s chances of becoming public knowledge and eventually “proving the truth in practice” areslim. The missing link in order to overcome this predicament is a vital Left, through community work,alternative journalism and also academic activism. Thus the upshot of my talk is that there’s no wayof isolating the question of the university from the wider context of the present situation and thefuture of the Left.


================================================




Political Concepts 
Department of Anthropology 
The New School for Social Research 
6 E 16th Street, 9th Floor 
New York, NY 10003


Issue 3.2 / Spring 2014

University : Anat Matar


In the rough and tumble reality of the Middle-East, Tel-Aviv University is at the front line of the critical work to maintain Israel’s military and technological edge.

—Gil Zohar, “Lifting the Veil of Secrecy”1

Part I

The modern university is undoubtedly heir to the Platonic academia and the universities of the Middle Ages. But it is the dramatic development of this institution from its pre-modern phase to its modern and then post-modern stages that motivate this essay’s focus on the liberal university, as it was shaped in the eighteenth century and then crystallized over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Alongside its (prima facie) loyalty to traditional values, the conceptual and historical changes that transformed the university resulted in inevitable inner tensions, whose exposure should occasion reflection on possible means to resolve them.

Thus, in considering the journey towards post-liberal horizons, I shall follow three maps: one tracing the essentials of liberal thought, as these are reflected in the modern concept of the university; a second highlighting a set of relevant historical facts; and a third, superimposed upon the other two—both following and correcting them—expressing a post-liberal vision. As detailed below, the contradiction embedded at the very foundation of the modern university creates a gap between the ideal and its historical manifestation. The university’s traditional goal is truth; yet the unavoidable elusiveness of truth bars claims to have reached it.

The means through which the liberal university addressed this fundamental problem engendered the catastrophe we are witnessing today within and outside academia, as those in power abuse the liberal “solution” in a post-liberal world. If academia is to break through this impasse and move towards a post-liberal horizon, it will have to reject this solution and confront—not only in theory but also in practice—the contradiction that constitutes it. While not at all sure what the result of such a confrontation would look like, I’m convinced that it is vital. What I propose in the present essay is merely an introduction to such a move, no more.

As early as his 1784 treatise, “An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?” Kant proposed that “the public use of man’s reason must always be free . . . I mean that use of which anyone may make of it as a man of learning addressing the entire reading public.”2 Ten years later, Kant formulated the direct link between academia and the general statement about Enlightenment, truth, and freedom. His series of treatises on the university focused, more precisely, on the relations between the “lower faculty”—consisting mainly of philosophy—and the “higher faculties”: theology, law, and medicine. Today, we would add to the latter such faculties as engineering, economics, management, security, and diplomacy, which were not part of Kant’s academic world.

It is clear that this division is made and this terminology adopted with reference to the government rather than the learned professions; for a faculty is considered higher only if its teachings—both in their content and the way they are expounded to the public—interest the government itself, while the faculty whose funct'ion is only to look after the interests of science is called lower because it may hold whatever propositions about science it finds good . . . It is absolutely essential that the learned community at the university also contain a faculty that is independent of the government’s command with regard to its teachings; one that, having no commands to give, is free to evaluate everything, and concerns itself with the interests of the sciences, that is, with truth . . . For without a faculty of this kind, the truth would not come to light.3

Kant includes in the lower, philosophical faculty, the natural sciences, as well as math, history, the humanities, and metaphysics (that is, the metaphysics of nature and of morals); in other words all of the theories that “are not adopted as directives by order of a superior,” whose fundamental commitment is, rather, to the “book of nature” and to autonomous reason, capable of judgment.4 Nevertheless, he clearly assigns the human sciences—philosophy in particular—the central, key position in his discussion of the lower, independent, and critical faculty.

The necessarily critical character of this faculty is what grants it independence just as, conversely, the dependence of the higher ones, which serve and order, entails their necessarily uncritical character. It is therefore clear why attempts to grant or apply “academic freedom” or “independent thinking” or “multiple opinions” to academics from the higher faculties are, of necessity, merely cynical:

As tools of the government (clergymen, magistrates, and physicians), they have legal influence on the public and form a special class of the intelligentsia, who are not free to make public use of their learning as they see fit, but are subject to the censorship of the faculties, so the government must keep them under strict control.5

1. Gil Zohar, “Lifting the Veil of Secrecy,” Tel Aviv University Review (Winter 2008/9): 4.↩

2. Immanuel Kant, “An Answer to the Question: ‘What is Enlightenment?’,” in Kant: Political Writings, ed. Hans Reiss (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 55.↩

3. Immanuel Kant, “The Conflict of the Faculties,” in Religion and Rational Theology, trans. Allen Wood (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 249. Last emphases are mine.↩

4. Immanuel Kant, “The Conflict of the Faculties,” 255.↩

5. Immanuel Kant, “The Conflict of the Faculties,” 248.↩



Therefore, “the business people of the higher faculties . . . can be prevented from contradicting in public the teachings that the government has entrusted to them to expound in fulfilling their respective offices, and from venturing to play the philosopher’s role.”6 As opposed to these:

The philosophy faculty can . . . lay claim to any teaching, in order to test its truth. The government cannot forbid it to do this without acting against its own proper and essential purpose; and the higher faculties must put up with the objections and doubts it brings forward in public, though they may well find this irksome, since, were it not for such critics, they could rest undisturbed in possession of what they have once occupied, by whatever title, and rule of it despotically.7

One may read Kant’s position as radical, since it expresses a fundamental lack of respect towards the non-critical empirical sciences as means for educating a man of the Enlightenment. Indeed, when confronting the challenge faced by the thinkers of the Enlightenment—in view, among other things, of their persecution—the placement of criticism as the primary value is understandable and should be viewed as a radical move. However, there is severe collateral damage in the critical move towards the higher faculties: for the process of marking out the lower faculty as unique, designed in its entirety to defend the truth, exacts as heavy a price from this faculty as it does from the higher ones—or indeed, perhaps an even heavier one.

While it indeed gains its freedom—the freedom denied the other faculties—it gradually loses its entitlement to content, to substance. The elimination of “the thing in itself” from the realms of cognition and of language, the immanent failure of any attempt to articulate “the ideas of reason”—these moves set up a strict dichotomy between “philosophical truths” and, in Hegel’s ironic language, “such questions as, When was Caesar born? or How many feet were there in a stadium? etc., [to which] a clear-cut answer ought to be given.”8

Kant, in other words, built a barrier between effectively trivial accessible truths—those truths belonging to the lower faculty but not to philosophy—and profound philosophical truths that lie beyond the realm of possible knowledge. While other sciences may penetrate the field of possible experience, metaphysics is doomed to remain merely critical: it is barred from articulating any doctrine. Indeed, it “extends to all parts of human cognition,” but “there are some parts . . . which it does not treat as its own content, but as objects it will examine and criticize for the benefit of the sciences.”9

Thus, despite the dramatic emphases in Kant’s text, exposing the truth is actually separated from the func'tion of criticism and doubt; the latter, for Kant, is only characterized in its negativity, in its being anti-content, as opposed to the positive truth, the truth which was heralded in the philosophical past and the theological epos:

For if God should really speak to a human being, the latter could still never know that it was God speaking. It is quite impossible for a human being to apprehend the infinite by his senses, distinguish it from sensible beings, and be acquainted with it as such. But in some cases the human being can be sure that the voice he hears is not God’s; for if the voice commands him to do something contrary to the moral law, then no matter how majestic the apparition may be, and no matter how it may seem to surpass the whole of nature, he must consider it an illusion.10

Part II

Kant’s Conflict of the Faculties was a crucial stage on the way towards positioning science as the new epic that serves as the basis of modern states. In his book, Protestant Theology and the Making of the Modern German University, Thomas Albert Howard follows Lyotard in noting that

without older religious-confessional or ‘divine rights’ forms of political legitimation, the modern state must derive it from other secular sources . . . Admittedly, in modern society, political legitimation comes at some level from ‘the people’, the ‘general will’; but in order to obtain and maintain credibility . . . political authority must convincingly demonstrate that its officials and policies are in line with, or at least not willfully contradicting, the latest in scientific scholarship, i.e. the authority of the university broadly understood. Government must therefore stand arm in arm with further advances in knowledge for the betterment of society.11

If, on the part of the government, the “stick” embedded in Kant’s treatise is the creation of a secure critical zone, the “carrot” is the promise of legitimizing the State. In order to accomplish this, the state must agree “to recognize the philosophical faculty’s claim of accepting no master but reason itself—reason ‘independent of time, place, and historical circumstance’.”12

Howard supplies a detailed, painstaking description of the transition, under Kant’s obvious influence, from the university founded on the theological ‘epos’ to the modern university, which sees as its vision the Wissenschaft, scientific learning. He concludes by noting wryly:

That reason might find it hard going to transcend time, place, and historical circumstance—and indeed that it could func'tion as a mere expression of them while insisting otherwise—was not a thought that Kant and his intellectual progeny . . . entertained as seriously as one might have wished.13

6. Immanuel Kant, “The Conflict of the Faculties,” 256.↩

7. Immanuel Kant, “The Conflict of the Faculties,” 256.↩

8. G. W. F Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. A. V. Miller (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977), 23.↩

9. Immanuel Kant, “The Conflict of the Faculties,” 256.↩

10. Immanuel Kant, “The Conflict of the Faculties,” 283.↩

11. Thomas Albert Howard, Protestant Theology and the Making of the Modern German University (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 128.↩

12. Thomas Howard, Protestant Theology, 129. The inside quote is taken from Alasdair MacIntyre. Kant himself promises the “carrot” but insinuates that the “stick’s” blow isn’t that hard: “For the very modesty [of its claim]—merely to be free, as it leaves others free, to discover the truth for the benefit of all the sciences and to set it before the higher faculties to use as they will—must commend it to the government as above suspicion and, indeed, indispensable. Immanuel Kant, “The Conflict of the Faculties,” 255. Second emphasis added.↩

13. Thomas Howard, Protestant Theology, 129.↩



The very first stages of the modernization process were actually promising, as is exemplified by the establishment of the University of Berlin, in 1809. Howard writes,

“Few events in the history of education can boast of more self-conscious deliberation, more dramatic historical conditions, and more long-term influence than the founding of this single institution.”14

The university, founded by Wilhelm Humboldt, was administered from the outset by philosophers who rejected central elements of Kant’s critical philosophy which they regarded as empty. The most prominent German Idealists—Fichte and Hegel—served not only as heads of the philosophy department but also as the university rectors. Hegel saw in the Kantian ideal of reason ‘independent of time, place, and historical circumstance’ the elimination of all content. In the introduction to the Phenomenology of Spirit, in a comment plainly directed against Kant’s “dogmatism,” he explains his basic rejection of such ideals as stemming from his novel approach to philosophical, reflective knowing. Such knowing

is not an activity that deals with the content as something alien, is not a reflection into itself away from the content . . . On the contrary, since [our] knowing sees the content return into its own inwardness, its activity is totally absorbed in the content, for it is the immanent self of the content; yet it has at the same time returned into itself.15

Friedrich Schelling, who succeeded Hegel as head of the philosophy department, followed him in totally rejecting the pure and merely critical conception of philosophy, or of the lower, free, faculty. Howard contends that at the heart of Schelling’s educational philosophy “lies the conviction that ‘all true science’ forms an ‘organic whole’”:

To philosophy falls the crucial task of making sure that all members of the university do not lose sight of “the whole” and in fact conduct their individual work in a manner that recognizes and participates in the “organic unity” of knowledge: “This vision [of the whole] can be found only in the science of all science [Wissenschaft aller Wissenschaft], in philosophy, and it is only the philosopher who can communicate it to us, for his own special field is the absolutely universal science.”16

Like Kant, Schelling, too, distinguished between the philosophical faculty and the higher faculties, “which, unlike philosophy, were not devoted to the pursuit of truth as such, but to the pursuit of the natural ends of human beings.”17 But as opposed to Kant, Schelling did not take the philosopher’s role to be merely critical. The pursuit of truth, for him, was full of content.

However, changes in the spirit of modern universities went in the opposite direction to that sought by the Idealists of the University of Berlin. In the course of the nineteenth century, the sciences followed the path opened up by Kant and developed a self-awareness to their immanent failure to articulate truths. As Max Weber has put it, the achievements of science “are always destined to be outdated.”18 Weber’s famous lecture, “Science as a Vocation,” delivered at the University of Munich in 1918, is an explicit attempt to face the crisis identified by disenchanted post-theological intellectuals who had lost the dream of reaching eternal truths and relinquished the old idea of a close linkage between the true, the good, and the beautiful. It is of course no wonder that Weber, witnessing the horrors of the First World War, came to the conclusion that the university had totally failed in showing “the path to God.” No, “God was not to be found along the road by which the Middle Ages had sought him. God is hidden, His ways are not our ways, His thoughts are not our thoughts.”19

Yet the results of this post-theological crisis were grim: when eternal truth was dethroned as academia’s final goal and replaced by the ideal of “continually evolving knowledge,” the university turned from an institution which embodies the will to tell the truth to an institution which embodies the will to beware of telling the truth. And indeed, during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, alongside the repeated clichés that “truth (the essential and first condition of learning in general) is the main thing,” several interconnected trends crept into the lower faculty and especially into philosophy.20 All these trends manifest the same departure from truth—the departure whose seeds can already be found in Kant and then in Weber. One of these trends is articulated explicitly by Weber himself; it is the idea that we should not seek truth but prefer, instead, the clarification of sense: elucidation.21

14. Thomas Howard, Protestant Theology, 142.↩

15. G. W. F Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, 33.↩

16. Thomas Howard, Protestant Theology, 157. The inside quote is taken from Schelling’s Vorlesungen über die Methode des akademischen Studiums.↩

17. Thomas Howard, Protestant Theology, 157, emphasis added.↩

18. Max Weber, “Science as a Vocation,” in From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, trans. C. Wright Mills (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991), 129-156. The quotes in the present article are taken from the pdf version of the article, in the following site: www.tems.umn.edu/pdf/WeberScienceVocation.pdf. As is well known, the position represented here by Weber reached its ultimate articulation by Karl Popper, in the first half of the twentieth century.↩

19. Max Weber, “Science as a Vocation,” 10.↩

20. Immanuel Kant, “The Conflict of the Faculties,” 255.↩

21. Max Weber, “Science as a Vocation,” 18.↩



Ludwig Wittgenstein famously argued that it is philosophy, in particular, whose aim should be thus defined. For Alain Badiou, this is an anti-philosophical move.22 Following his analysis, I propose to see the series of trends discussed here as anti-academic —that is, if our use of the term ‘academia’ is still to retain some degree of loyalty to Plato’s heritage, i.e., to truth. Working exclusively towards “elucidation,” “clarification,” and “understanding”—upon analyzing texts or theses—means eliminating any truth-judgment of the contents studied; it focuses, instead, on exposing presuppositions and consequences and evaluating consistency and clarity.

Now, this trend is closely connected to another distinct trait of modern, liberal universities: the trend of cleaving to procedure —probably the term most sacred to academia. Since truth is allegedly elusive, the sole requirement is that academic practices maintain proper procedures. Propriety has become the goal.23 In this context, it should be emphasized that contrary to the intimations of common rhetoric, academic procedures are not regarded as leading to the discovery of truth. None of the procedures constitutive of legitimate argument, of academic publication, of promotion, aim at advancing the true. They are quite simply aimed at identifying that which answers the required criteria.24

While attempting the truth is frightening and threatening, demanding responsibility, risk-taking and strife, sticking to procedure guarantees the opposite: conservatism, clear boundaries, domestic peace. This precisely is its purpose, veiled behind the gesture towards infinite scientific progress. Moreover, sanctifying procedure goes hand in hand with another problematic trend: disappearance of the voice of the auteur, of personality, of “primary literature,” and its replacement by layer upon layer of “secondary literature,” comprised of minute arguments, debates, and rejoinders.25

It is intriguing to realize that the proliferation of secondary literature draws, on the conceptual level, from the transition from truth to formal procedures, while on the bureaucratic level it actually enables this transition: it facilitates the switch from particular, individual worldviews that cannot be subsumed under policing generalizations to formal regulations and quantifying criteria.

The different trends just cited conform to one fundamental principle: elimination of the political. This point deserves special clarification. I mentioned earlier that the lower faculty is forced to relinquish the idea of presenting a doctrine. In order to safeguard its critical stance, it must avoid any pretense of identifying truth as truth and limit itself to exposing lies as lies. A more reflective formulation of the same point is that the doctrine implicit in liberal academic methodology is an anti-doctrine—yet anti-doctrines stem from certain presuppositions, which are, in the manner of presuppositions, colored both metaphysically and politically.

Towards exposing the assumption most vital to the anti-doctrine in question, I propose to employ the distinction between constative and performative utterances, as formulated by John L. Austin.26 This follows the lead of Jacques Derrida, a philosopher who not only wrote substantially on the academic institution but also devoted a lot of his time to the promotion of philosophical education. In his essay, “The University without Condition,” Derrida discusses the modern, liberal university, emphasizing its self-image as the institution responsible for accumulating and transmitting knowledge (savoir). According to this image, the study and teaching of knowledge ought to “belong to the theoretical and constative order. The act of professing a doctrine may be a performative act, but the doctrine is not.”27 A paradigmatic example of this image is Weber’s above-mentioned vision of the university. One can, Weber says,

demand of the teacher that he have the intellectual integrity to see that it is one thing to state facts, to determine mathematical or logical relations or the internal structure of cultural values, while it is another thing to answer questions of the value of culture and its individual contents and the question of how one should act in the cultural community and in political associations . . . [T]he prophet and the demagogue do not belong on the academic platform.28

They do not belong there—so Weber’s text suggests—precisely because of their performative force, as opposed to the “constative” essence of the academic platform.29

Reading Austin carefully we realize that the distinction between performative and constative points at a much wider array of distinctions, which paraphrase each other. In a very natural (and Nietzschean) manner, Austin suggests that “the familiar contrast of ‘normative or evaluative’ as opposed to the factual” is one of them.30 Yet Austin’s principal claim is that all these distinctions are doomed to disintegrate eventually—they cannot be clearly demarcated. And this collapse means nothing less than the collapse of the liberal agenda in general.

The dichotomist perspective, from which Kant and Weber observe the academic world and its purity, is an immanent part of the liberal agenda, as it separates propositional content from the circumstances in which it appears, therefore sharply distinguishing the understanding of content from the judgment of content. The former is a necessary—but insufficient—condition for the latter and must precede it in time.31

Thus truth judgments may be delayed forever, while understanding can prevail. It is crucial to realize the double-bind characterizing this picture of content. On the one hand, it draws its legitimacy from (and, in turn, strengthens) the rhetoric of truth’s supremacy and the importance of striving towards it. On the other, it draws from (and, in turn, enables) the modern trends of portraying a liberal academic vision renouncing truth and replacing it with clarification, procedure, anonymity, and the a-political.

22. Alain Badiou, L’antiphilosophie de Wittgenstein (Paris: NOUS, 2009), 21. There are, of course, alternative readings of Wittgenstein, which emphasize his own reluctance from formalistic philosophies and present his revolutionary ideas about content as a giant step towards reframing the question of truth in philosophy. Although I tend to agree with such readings, I believe that Wittgenstein’s writings have strengthened those trends in philosophy that explicitly eschew truth and stick to “elucidation” and “clarification” alone. This is no doubt because of the lasting (albeit denied) influence of the Vienna Circle philosophy.↩

23. The centrality of procedure is manifest throughout liberal thought as a whole, and the university has no advantage in this respect over the system of justice or systems of elections to parliaments in democratic regimes. My only aim here is to remind ourselves of the particular manner in which the sanctity of procedures works for the elimination of any will, albeit stubborn, to uncover truth and to insist that doing this cannot cohere with the symmetries and balances typical of procedural approaches.↩

24. This, of course, is the “pure” understanding of the role of procedures. As we shall soon see, the factor of power naturally complicates the matter.↩

25. I do not wish to argue that philosophers like Descartes, Spinoza or Kant regarded philosophy as personal; on the contrary. Yet their own philosophical practice was very far from the present vision of a joint venture towards better understanding to be gained through smallish, intricate steps of “secondary literature.” See also Stephen Shapin’s analysis below, and in his book, The Scientific Life: A Moral History of a Later Modern Vocation (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2008).↩

26. John L. Austin, How to Do Things with Words (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975).↩

27. Jacques Derrida, “The University without Condition,” in Without Alibi, trans. Peggy Kamuf (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2002), 218.↩

28. Max Weber, “Science as a Vocation,” 13.↩

29. We should not ignore the striking—and not at all incidental—resemblance between this division and Hegel’s ironical distinction cited above. Weber grants us the permission to answer such questions as when was Caesar born and how many feet are there in a stadium, but forbids the profession of fundamental philosophical theses, since these involve concrete content. These, then, belong to the territories of prophets and demagogues.↩

30. John L. Austin, How to Do Things with Words, 149.↩

31. On the vicious circle of understanding and judgment and on its political significance see my “Lonely Beating: Wittgenstein’s Automaton and the Drums of War,” in Hues of Philosophy, ed. Anat Biletzki (London: Kings College Publications, 2010), 117-130.↩


Part III

To substantiate my point, let me postpone for a while my conceptual criticism of the dichotomist worldview and turn directly to reality. Kant, notably, did not ignore the political reality in which he lived. On the contrary; it is obvious that his insights regarding the higher faculties’ compliance with the regime were accurate. Their obedience hasn’t of course diminished since his time. Howard Zinn reminds us, in A People’s History of the United States, of the crucial involvement of the mega-rich, known as “philanthropists,” in the establishment of American universities:

Conwell was a founder of Temple University. Rockefeller was a donor to colleges all over the country and helped found the University of Chicago. Huntington, of the Central Pacific, gave money to two Negro colleges, Hampton Institute and Tuskegee Institute. Carnegie gave money to colleges and to libraries. Johns Hopkins was founded by a millionaire merchant, and millionaires Cornelius Vanderbilt, Ezra Cornell, James Duke, and Leland Stanford created universities in their own names . . . These educational institutions did not encourage dissent; they trained the middlemen in the American system—the teachers, doctors, lawyers, administrators, engineers, technicians, politicians—those who would be paid to keep the system going, to be loyal buffers against trouble.32

Capital, then, serves in such contexts as an extension of the regime. In my own academic home, Tel Aviv University, the annual meeting of the Board of Governors—consisting mainly of donors—is often decorated by symposia supporting Israel’s policies, and the participating speakers include senior governmental officers.33

At this point, it is crucial to clarify that relations between academia and the regime are not limited to the “higher faculties.” Even Kant knew very well that, unlike his reliable analysis of their power-bias, his description of the independence and liberty of the “lower faculty” was far from precise. In his famous Homo Academicus Pierre Bourdieu produced a pioneering sociological analysis of the academic world (in particular that of France in the 1960s). His research led him to represent university professors as “situated halfway up each of the two hierarchies into which the fractions of the dominant class fall, the hierarchy of economic and political power and the hierarchy of intellectual authority and prestige.”34

Professors are socially located, then, between those who are totally and officially submissive to the establishment and those who enjoy genuine freedom. Academics constitute “an upper petty bourgeoisie,” promote “domestic virtues,” and generally share an “aristocratic asceticism which underlies their lifestyle.”35 Professors conceive of themselves as advancing liberal values of the sort that guided Kant, but, according to Bourdieu, their solidarity networks and the effects of their work in an organization actually contradict these values.36

Further empirical support for my philosophical analysis is provided by Stephen Shapin’s The Scientific Life: A Moral History of a Later Modern Vocation.37 Shapin investigates the differences between the contemporary scientific model and Weber’s “science as a vocation.” He traces the consequences of secularism and the industrial revolution in changing patterns of scientific practice so as to better profit the State. He also stresses the introduction of private industries into the field of scientific research. These and similar developments have shaped scientists as bourgeois professionals, devoid of far-reaching aspirations to “truth.”

Scientists who regard their job as a profession rather than vocation refrain from asking questions such as: who profits from my research, whom do I eventually serve, what values lead my particular research, why do we opt for this rather than that study? Where Weber barred the essentially “constative” university from answering such questions—taking these to be illegitimate in academia—he considered it one of the most important tasks of science to clarify ethical dilemmas, expose the assumptions underlying their various solutions, and analyze their consistency and consequences.38 Today even clarifications such as these are being eliminated from academic curricula.

32. Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States (New York: Harper Collins, 1980), 262.↩

33. A paradigmatic example can be watched here: Video↩

34. Pierre Bourdieu, Homo Academicus, trans. P. Collier (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1984), 223.↩

35. Pierre Bourdieu, Homo Academicus, 222.↩

36. Pierre Bourdieu, Homo Academicus, 65. Note especially those disciplines in the Humanities which “tend to show as grounded in the coherence of reason things which in fact are based on belief or, in short, on the orthodoxy of a group” (original emphasis).↩

37. Stephen Shapin, The Scientific Life (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010).↩

38. Max Weber, “Science as a Vocation,” 18.↩

39. Gil Zohar, “Lifting the Veil. The article quotes at length the words of Isaac Ben-Israel, former director of MAFAT: “Unlike in the United States where research is conducted at national labs, Israel has no such equivalent institutions . . . Military R&D in Israel would not exist without the universities. They carry out all the basic scientific investigation, which is then developed either by defense industries or the army.” Ben-Israel was parachuted from the military General Staff, which orchestrated the oppression and war crimes typical of the second Palestinian Intifada directly to the comfortable professorship in TAU’s Security Studies Program at the Faculty of Social Science. But despite the clear particularities of the Israeli case, I do not at all wish to suggest that Israeli universities are exceptional in being deeply involved with the political and military establishment. The opposite is true, in fact. Henry Giroux, in his book The University in Chains: Confronting the Military-Industrial-Academic Complex (Boulder: Paradigm Publishers, 2007), offers a detailed argument for identifying similarly deep relations between the American academic sphere and the establishment. Compare also the two following cases: In Israel, Colonel Pnina Sharvit-Baruch was appointed as a lecturer of international law at TAU right after she quit the army, where she was responsible for granting permission to the Israeli army’s war crimes committed in Gaza on 2008. She is currently a senior research associate at the Institute of National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University. In the United States, the faculty of law in the University of California, Berkeley, re-hired John Yoo after he quit his service at the George W. Bush administration, where he enhanced executive authority to undertake interrogation techniques usually regarded as torture.↩



Before discussing this point further, though, I’d like to set general theories aside and focus for a moment on some of the most concrete and painful empirical details at hand. For me, such an examination must start at home, with the Israeli academic scene. A quick and effortless survey of this scene reveals the conservatism and obedience of Israeli professors—their unhesitant loyalty to the establishment. The list of sins is long and varied. Suffice it to cite a short, proud paragraph from Tel Aviv University’s bulletin:

While much of that research remains classified, several facts illuminate the role of the university. MAFAT, a Hebrew acronym meaning the R&D Directorate of the Israel Ministry of Defense, is currently funding 55 projects at TAU. Nine other projects are being funded by DARPA—the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency of the US Department of Defense. Seven highly-coveted Israel National Security Prizes have been awarded in recent years to members of TAU’s Blavatnik School of Computer Science . . . For security reasons, the recipients cannot be named.39

The phenomenon reoccurs as well in the institutes and departments of Middle East Studies, in special programs in Political Science, etc.; sociologists, archaeologists, and historians too know how to tell the story desired by the State, shoving aside and marginalizing whatever is viewed as a threat.40 Even the philosophy faculty breeds obedient servants to Power. As “moral advisors” to the army and the government they use an ethical discourse to allow their clients to execute precisely what they plan to.41

Complementarily, it is extremely difficult to come across faculty members who raise their voices against the government and its atrocious actions! Only a couple dozen Israeli professors, for instance, signed a very mild letter protesting restrictions imposed by the military on study in and movement to and from academic institutions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.42 Contemporary universities pride themselves on being relevant, but “relevance” is a euphemism. It actually means that research, all over the university, is recruited to serve the market, the government, and the military.

With these empirical data in mind, I now resume my conceptual analysis. As shown above, a host of dichotomies underpins the vision of the liberal university: fact vs. value, sense vs. force, truth-judgment vs. validity-judgment, constative utterance vs. performative utterance. Yet inquiry into both the nature of language and empirical facts has showed that such neat distinctions cannot be drawn. From Austin we learnt that the divide between constative and performative utterance must crumble and fall: every constative utterance is already an act, and every linguistic performative act already implies a constative one. Yet even Austin did not see that this insight must lead to the penetration of the parasitic and the marginal into the normative center and to seepage of the center outwards, towards the margins.43

As reason and its execution can no longer be clearly distinguished from each other, “lower” metaphysics is imbued with the force of application while the research results of the “higher” faculties are granted, must be granted, constative status. This insight, by its very nature, cannot remain within the boundaries of the philosophy of language. Today’s extra-academic research—that of the pharmaceutical industry and the computer sciences or even that of state security and the legal system—are no more marginal than academic research; their claim to “truth” is indistinguishable from that of “pure” academic research—since the latter, as we have seen, isn’t pure at all.

But the liberal university cannot deal with the consequences of this osmosis. It is precisely at this point where we realize the problem underlying the genuinely well-intended Kantian distinctions: the manner in which the mechanism they fashion serves the regime rather than disrupting its activities. The higher faculties (and those lower faculties which are entitled to content) turn out to be in dire need of philosophy’s purity, which would legitimize them as “academic” and thus whitewash the conservatism marking their economical, legal, archaeological, historical, establishment-flattering research.

For its part, philosophy, queen of the lower faculty, faces a major choice: to either willfully supply the desired “purity” and become a “profane” higher faculty or insist on sticking to its rational, critical, “pure” spirit, hence locking itself within the empty space allocated to criticism which is merely formal, procedural, devoid of concrete historical content. We seem to be facing a double-edged dagger: while one of its edges destroys any way of distinguishing between Power and its critiques, the other empties any potential criticism of a real content.

40. One of the most recent examples again comes from my own university: The Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University plans excavations in the occupied Silwan Village, to be funded by the extreme right-wing Elad Association.↩

41. I have analyzed one such example thoroughly in an article published in Hebrew.↩

42. Out of the 8000 that receieved the request to sign the letter, only about 400 did. See “academic freedom to whom?” See academic-access.weebly.com

43. This is the gist of Derrida’s criticism of Austin’s work, which he otherwise admires. See his “Signature Event Context,” in Limited Inc, trans. Samuel Weber (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1988).↩

44. Jacques Derrida, “Mochlos,” in Eyes of the University, trans. J. Plug (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004), 102.↩



Part IV

What, then, lies beyond the horizon of liberal thought? How is it possible to overcome the liberal-conservative predicament? In order to suggest an answer, I wish to embark from Derrida’s discussion of the university-to-come in his “Mochlos” and “The University without Condition.” Derrida is a philosopher, a dialectician, a deconstructionist—and philosophy, dialectics, and deconstruction are, for him, the foundation for the university “à venir,” the university that must arrive, and indeed the university that already arrived as an idea with the inauguration of the Platonic academy.

Like Plato, Hegel, Schelling, and Kant, Derrida believes that philosophy is the essence of the university—its necessary condition, its vital force; therefore, he concludes, conceptual analyses of the university, of philosophy, and of truth should be interlaced. Derrida’s deconstruction is in fact none other than Platonism laying bare its innards, its modus operandi, its mechanism. It reveals-creates the meaning of dialectics, which aspires to the unconditional. Such a move of self exposure cannot, of course, preserve the excavated insides and is doomed to conclude in dismantling the mechanism, at least in part. This philosophical procedure—a kind of Aufhebung—takes liberal thought to pieces but attempts to retain something of its spirit.

Derrida’s idea is, tout court, that once we place deconstruction at the basis of the university, we must confront the double-edged dagger directly, boldly. Now, “deconstruction at the basis”: this is an oxymoron, since deconstruction relentlessly examines and destroys its own presuppositions, and hence cannot serve as a basis, in the usual sense of this term. But the oxymoron acknowledges the fact that the foundation of the university must be unstable, and yet that this doesn’t mean it to be eliminated—or buttressed. The wobbly foundation is but an upshot of the immanent contradiction at our point of departure: the aspiration to attain and articulate the elusive truth, which refuses the necessarily conditional and partial nature of words.

Yet deconstruction also acknowledges the endless vivacity of language, the fact that alongside its necessary failure it does leave room for meaningful discourse—one that is primarily not formal, empty or negative, but a discourse of truth. The enormous achievement of the nineteenth century was overcoming Kant’s predicament and restating the possibility of articulating truth that is not at all “independent of time, place, and historical circumstance”; eventually, though, this achievement was annulled. Once we acknowledge the power of words—rather than lay emphasis on their impotence—we aim the arrows of our questions and criticism towards the very concepts of question and criticism.

Thus, when a question clarifies to the scholars that their claims are weaker than they have been willing to believe, it focuses their gaze on the inevitable; but when it frees them of the belief in truth and allows anything and everything, with the sole provision that they observe the procedures of the question, when it presents the critical move as an aim unto itself, it is purely negative, empty, and arbitrary. Derrida is fearful of the oppressive possibilities of this procedural void and rejects it in an act of philosophical and political refusal, that is, an act of philosophical refusal that is pointedly political. Deconstruction, says Derrida, will never be construable as “a technical set of discursive procedures.”44 At the very least, it includes

the taking of a position, in the work itself, toward the politico-institutional structures that constitute and regulate our practice, our competences, and our performances. Precisely because deconstruction has never been concerned with the contents alone of meaning [that is, with the constative rather than the performative], it must not be separable from this politico-institutional problematic, and has to require a new questioning about responsibility, a questioning that no longer necessarily relies on codes inherited from politics or ethics. [These belong rather to the "higher faculties," those essential instruments of the government.]45

Truth is political. Once we realize this, we realize also—with Marx, or Henry Giroux—that the understanding of truths is inseparable from proving them in practice, that theory should be interwoven with praxis.46 Eliminating the political, in the name of that liberal fantasy about the purity and freedom of the lower faculty, of contemplative science, amounts to nothing short of eliminating truth and reinforcing the conventional. This is the answer to Weber’s complaint about the mediocrity common to academics.47 Weber, we saw, wholeheartedly supported the root causes of this mediocrity.

The most crucial—and perhaps most surprising—move taken by deconstruction is hence restoring truth as central to academic discourse: strong, content-laden, personal, political truth; truth that hasn’t been thrust aside, to be replaced by its liberal heirs, the anemic twins, “sense” and “clarity.” The separation of rhetoric from content, of methodology from truth, and of theory from praxis, is a mirage. This is why Derrida insists on reminding his readers that he is a professor— he professes, by profession, by a pledge of faith. He professes, declares, rather than transmits knowledge in a “neutral” manner; he believes in what he’s teaching; he is engaged; he takes upon himself a moral, political, public responsibility. He refuses to remain on the “pure” side of the fence—primarily because he realizes there is no such side.

45. Jacques Derrida, “Mochlos,” 102. For inserted clarifications, see 90.↩

46. See for example Henry Giroux, “Breaking the Chains: A Strategy to Retake the University” in
The University in Chains.↩

47. Max Weber, “Science as a Vocation,” 5.↩

48. Alain Badiou, L’antiphilosophie de Wittgenstein, 8.↩



Like Derrida, Badiou too emphasizes the fact that the philosopher is never a modest participant in a work-team, he never blurs his individual personality; on the contrary: she’s a political activist, totally present in her authoritative, enticing, violent words.48 In other words, acknowledging the political nature of truth is also acknowledging the fact that not every procedure which passes as proper leads the way to truth, and not all “valid” arguments are equivalent to one another. Giroux is perhaps the most explicit of the thinkers I’ve mentioned on this point: he urges academics, as intellectuals working in the public sphere, to turn the university into a pedagogical and political site of resistance—concrete resistance to the economy of corporations, to the militarization shaping our world (in general, and the academic world in particular), and to any other factor that stands in the way of radical democracy.

Such resistance demands a new political discourse, one that takes power seriously, understands politics as a matter of critique and possibility, reclaims democracy as a progressive and ongoing struggle . . . This may sound particularly utopian in an age of widespread cynicism and despair; yet hope is a precondition not only for merging matters of agency and social responsibility but also for imagining a future that does not repeat the present.49

It is here, at this point, that everything comes together. Giroux’s formulation presents a desire to protect the university, to keep it unpolluted by considerations of power, of the market, of militarism, of pandering to the regime. At the same time, it constitutes recognition of the pointlessness of such a faculty if it commits to making no commitment—for instance, if it cannot denounce crimes against humanity and act against them in a non-trivial manner.

“Freedom,” “equality,” “human dignity”—all these must take on a concrete, substantial, non-elusive form. In this sense too, the university-to-come is meant to constitute a continuation of sorts of the Platonic academy—in its recognition of the connection between truth and good, i.e., in the necessarily political character of knowledge. Forcing the strict dichotomy between constative and performative onto the university means sanctifying procedure and emptiness; it means fear of genuine responsibility. Given the total evaporation of any boundary between the theoretical and the practical, though, the role Kant bestowed on us should be kept in mind, that is, the refusal to surrender to those powers which run the state, the market, the “world.”

Part V

What does this analysis teach us of the cherished value of academic freedom? There is no easy answer. Martin Heidegger, in his notorious rector’s lecture of 1933, ridiculed this concept in the name of truth: “The much-lauded ‘academic freedom’ will be expelled from the German university; for this freedom was not genuine because it was only negative. It primarily meant lack of concern, arbitrariness of intentions and inclinations, lack of restraint in what was done and left undone.”50 As painful as this may be, it must be admitted that Heidegger’s complaint against the irresponsible indifference embodied in the term “academic freedom” is not farfetched.

Academic freedom as we know it today is the freedom not to ask troubling questions. More than enabling the truth to emerge, it ensures that no one will notice it even if it does emerge and that anyone vehemently insisting on laying claim to it will automatically be dismissed and denounced as dogmatic. In this respect, academic freedom grows on the same soil as formalism, procedure, an emphasis on sense (rather than truth) and an exclusion of the personal and the political from academic discourse. Even worse, it is sometimes abused precisely for purposes of harassing genuine critics. Ellen Schrecker provides a chilling record of the uses of this term during the McCarthy era, when academic freedom became a weapon of those who wanted to sack those “dogmatic” lecturers who embraced “the party line” in order to gain “political achievements.”51

Schrecker’s analysis should serve as a constant reminder of this unpleasant truth: when the flag of academic freedom is raised, the oppressor and not the oppressed is usually the one who flies it.52 At times when the boundary between the faculty of philosophy and the faculty of law—a servant of the government—is in the process of being blurred, human rights are rewritten to suit those who hold the power, and the people who give orders are precisely those who determine the definitions of war crimes. Therefore, a crucial role of the term “academic freedom” is fostering an image. It is an image that delivers the message that the university is not a conscripted institution, not a servant to power; it tempts us to believe that it is mere coincidence that only a tiny group of professors dare criticize the government. Reading “academic freedom” in this vein reveals liberalism as no more than a sophisticated version of authoritarianism.

Despite all this, an appeal to academic freedom should not be totally ruled out. On the contrary, I suggest that we break off from Heidegger just at the point where he refuses to recognize the genuine purpose couched in Kant’s notion of academic freedom: the claim for citizenship. Heidegger’s vision of the university is horrifying not only in its combination of spirit, army, work, and discipline, not only in its exposure of the particular spirit and the particular army meant to coalesce and combine them. What is horrifying is, first and foremost, the act of enlistment that precedes both this spirit and this army, which makes them both possible.

For it is this act that involves the total rejection of what Kant fully understood, of the message characterized above by Giroux: the oppositional stance of the university “to come” of active, genuine citizenship. It is indeed of the utmost importance to recognize that not all regimes are equal; that truth does exist, possessed of content that can be adhered to. And yet, the first element to be preserved in Kant’s vision of the university is refusal to serve the regime, any regime.

49. Henry Giroux, The University in Chains, 209.↩

50. Martin Heidegger, “The Self-Assertion of the German University,” in Martin Heidegger and National Socialism, ed. G. Neske (New York: Paragon House, 1990), 8.↩

51. Ellen Schrecker, No Ivory Tower: McCarthyism and the Universities (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986).↩

52. As I already mentioned, the vast majority of Israeli professors who rejoice over their academic freedom do not find facts about the impossibility to run proper academic life in the Occupied Territories of any relevance to their pride about academic freedom in Israel. For an in-depth exploration of this hypocrisy, see Judith Butler, “Israel/Palestine and the Paradoxes of Academic Freedom,” Radical Philosophy 135 (2006): 8-17.↩

53. Pierre Bourdieu, Homo Academicus, xii, xiii.↩

Part VI

This brings us back, then, to the strife, the conflict, the contradiction informing the very basis of philosophy. The present university, supported by liberal rhetoric, suppresses this contradiction and chooses, instead, a practice of oppression. A post-liberal university, one that is conscious of the illnesses of liberal thinking, would make this contradiction explicit and turn it into the springboard of its praxis. In the Preface to the English Edition of his Homo Academicus, Bourdieu stresses that his aim is far from “leading to a nihilistic attack on science”; he wishes to claim that the academic world “can escape from the vicious circle” in which it is trapped.53 In this spirit, I wish to end my analysis of the concept “university” with a concrete proposal for the university that returns to its commitment to truth.

This proposal draws on an insight of Gottlob Frege. Frege realized that philosophy, which is called upon to know itself, has not yet focused on the central tool enabling it: on language. He therefore concluded—in what was later dubbed “the linguistic turn”—that philosophy of language should be the foundation of philosophical inquiry. But Frege ignored the fact that it is not only language that makes philosophy possible; in many ways the institution of the university over the past two hundred years has been significant, and possibly even essential, to the existence and the formation of philosophy.54

Acknowledging this yields a demand for the scrutiny of the university as preceding, in principle, the rest of philosophical work. But as I’ve argued above—citing Plato, Kant, Hegel, Schelling, and Derrida—philosophy forms the essential foundation of the academic institution in toto. For both these reasons, it follows that the Socratic search for self-knowledge as a fundamental, constituting act yields the requirement to establish at the very basis of academia a “philosophy of the university,” a “critique of academic reason and power.” This move might be termed the “academic turn.”

Notice, though, that the metaphor “basis” is itself derived from the traditional image of academia as a stable “structure.” It should now be clear that this image must also fade away. There is and can be no firm basis or “foundation” to be acquired and mastered once and for all. This immanent instability should not lead us back to disinterested science, though. Such a methodology is neither tolerant nor anti-dogmatic. It does not manifest academic freedom. It is no more than a dogmatic reinforcement of (the content of) liberal methodology while denying and obscuring this. In contrast, the new discipline proposed here—a “science of academia”—explicitly embraces a particular, political point of view. It must also, however, clarify its argument for this choice and examine it anew with regard to every concrete context.

What, then, should be studied within this new (anti?-) discipline? Since the “critique of academic reason and power” shatters the rigid partition between actuality and formal purity, it should include not only philosophical theories of truth and knowledge and science, or discussions of the essence of academic language (of jargon, of relations between ordinary language and the language of science or philosophy, of the distinction between theoretical writing and literary writing), but also genealogical, sociological, economic, and historical research—empirical, concrete, contemporary—into the entire spectrum of facets and components of the university as an institution.

Thus, alongside metaphysical questions regarding the essence of truth after “the death of God” and the relations between truth and logical argument, it will dwell—both in theory and in practice—on Marx’s assertion that “man must prove the truth—i.e. the reality and power, the this-sidedness of his thinking, in practice.”55 Its discussion of center and margins will also concentrate on the question of whether it’s just a coincidence that precisely those who transgressed academic style were the ones who achieved what has been viewed in hindsight as approaching truth. (Or, it will ask, in other words, what the connection is between an abandonment of truth and the demand for mountainous piles of “academic publications?”)

Alongside an examination of the socio-economic status of those who people the university, scrutinizing their historical proximity to the regime, academics working within the new paradigm will also act for the inclusion of those populations which have always been excluded from liberal universities. In a discussion of truth-seeking and the heritage of the Enlightenment, it may be of major importance to examine the forced exile from Israel of Azmi Bishara—an alumnus of Humboldt University and the editor of the collection, The Enlightenment, An Unfinished Project? (as if he himself were a persecuted philosopher in the age of Enlightenment)—in relation to his decision to leave the lower faculty after having recognized the executive power of its “constative” utterances.56

The sciences of academia will include an exacting interrogation of the history of oppression within the university. Social and personal networks among scholars and the lack of transparency governing various academic procedures will be studied carefully, linking them to the economy of fear disabling criticism among colleagues. Especially pertinent to this project will be the study of such myths as the procedure of “blind refereeing” and the anonymity that governs a whole range of academic procedures. The main fun'ction of these can be exposed as precisely the opposite of what is claimed: allowing for hypocrisy, cowardice, aggressiveness, conservatism, and power-games. The question of profit will also be raised: who profits from the particular research projects being carried out in universities, who subsidizes these, who is interested in advancing a particular scientific project and what are the consequences of this project?

Questions in the field of moral theory on the political responsibility of the intellectual would occasion accounts and thoughts on the almost total collaboration of academia with the state. In Israel, in particular, these would focus on the compliance of its academia, as a whole, with a state that systematically denies the people under its occupation minimal conditions for the organization of an academia. As activism forms an integral component of the “critique of academic reason and power,” support for the academic boycott against Israel should become more comprehensible than it seems today, examined as it is within the context of liberal universities.57

*
Anat Matar is a senior lecturer at Tel Aviv University and a political activist, specializing in the philosophy of language (both in the analytic and the Continental traditions) and in political philosophy. She’s the author of Modernism and the Language of Philosophy (Routledge 2006) and co-editor (with Abeer Baker) of Threat: Palestinian Political Prisoners in Israel (Pluto Press, 2011).

54. One should not underestimate the role of libraries, curricula, budgets, students, public prestige, and exposure for contemporary philosophical work.↩

55. Karl Marx, “Theses on Feuerbach,” trans. Cyril Smith. www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/theses/index.htm

56. In 1995, Bishara quit the academic world and founded the political party “National Democratic Assembly.” He was elected to the Knesset and led a strong opposition to the government. Bishara resigned from the Knesset and left Israel following a police investigation into his foreign contacts and other matters.↩

57. I’m grateful to Adi Ophir, Ido Geiger, Pini Ifergan and Rela Mazali for their thorough reading and comments.↩



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