Moral dimension of the intellect

All students have it. It's how we use this intellect that can make a major difference in an academic life. Too often our perceptions of the human intellect omit the moral dimension.

Should the emphasis in academic work rest on the accumulation, the analysis, the remembering of bundles of facts? Papers and finals may tend to push us toward the very human level of simply acquiring information. This approach opens the door to the dangers of a kind of intellectualism that thrives, for its own sake, on the mere accumulation and processing of human knowledge. When we follow this pattern, the human intellect can become something of a god to us. We give it power and influence—we see it as the source of intelligence.

February 6, 1978

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