On universities and the nature of knowledge
We have all experienced – and suffered at some point – the tug-of-war at university staff meetings between those who emphasise teaching and those who would rather to give more importance to research. In other words, it is the strife between two old-fashioned points of view: the former indebted to the Napoleonic model (centralised and aiming to produce professionals) and the latter to the Humboldt model (arising from German idealism and focused on knowledge). There are at least two other models, however: the US model that was originally influenced by Humboldt’s ethics2 but soon moved away from the German model due to its ‘useful knowledge’ orientation that narrowed the gap between universities and business. The British model, finally, was a hallmark of institutional autonomy for a long time, both financially and intellectually, until it became overcrowded.