A Philosophical Defence of the University Lecture


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    As a host of published books, journal articles and opinion pieces attest, the university lecture is now distinctly out of step with contemporary Higher Education discourse. Academics across university disciplines confidently proclaim the format’s obsolescence, arguing that only inertia and familiarity could satisfactorily account for the lecture’s survival. We propose in this paper to offer a philosophical revisiting of this most maligned of pedagogical forms. Drawing on the philosophy of Stanley Cavell, we argue for the lecture not as a mode of dissemination but as a mode of address. On this model, the lecture is to be understood as a special form of human encounter where the voice of one is modulated specifically for the hearing of another. Thus, we propose in this paper to offer a philosophical defence of traditional university teaching. We argue that this defence has particular relevance for teaching and learning in the Humanities.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalOxford Review of Education
    Early online date19 Jan 2020
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Jan 2020


    • philosophy of education
    • higher education
    • pedagogy
    • lecture
    • Stanley Cavell


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