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How Universities Can Help Create a Wiser World

Thursday, 20 March 2014

6pm-7.30pm, followed by a book signing/drinks reception. The drinks reception is generously supported by Imprint Academic

Venue: Lecture Room 106, First Floor, Robert Building, UCL, Torrington Place (entrance in Malet Place), London, WC1E 7JE

A lecture by Nick Maxwell Emeritus Reader in History and Philosophy of Science, Dept of Science & Technology Studies and author of How universities can help create a wiser world: The urgent need for an academic revolution. (1st ed.). Imprint Academic: Exeter.

Responses from Philip Ball, science writer and Alan Sokal Professor of Mathematics, UCL and Professor of Physics, New York University


Chair: Professor David Price, Vice-Provost Research, UCL

Respondent: Philip Ball, freelance science writer

In order to make progress towards a better world we need to learn how to do it. And for that we need institutions of learning rationally designed and devoted to helping us solve our global problems, make progress towards a better world. It is just this that we lack at present. Our universities pursue knowledge. They are neither designed nor devoted to helping humanity learn how to tackle global problems — problems of living — in more intelligent, humane and effective ways. That, this book argues, is the key disaster of our times, the crisis behind all the others: our failure to have developed our institutions of learning so that they are rationally organized to help us solve our problems of living — above all, our global problems. Having universities devoted almost exclusively to the pursuit of knowledge is a recipe for disaster. Scientific knowledge and technological know-how have unquestionably brought great benefits to humanity. But they have also made possible — even caused — our current global crises, above all the impending crisis of global warming.

Nicholas Maxwell will argue that we need urgently to bring about a revolution in universities round the world so that their basic aim becomes wisdom, and not just knowledge.

Organised and supported by the UCL Grand Challenge of Human Wellbeing


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