by Hervé Varenne

  Teachers College, Columbia University

Two university scientists patent their dyslexia therapy (in association with Rutgers and the San Francisco medical school!), raise venture capital, and form a company, "Scientific Learning Inc." (as reported in the NY Times of September 14, 1999 p.F6)

On reading about "Scientific Learning," I came to ponder. For close to 30 years, I have been on the faculty Teachers College, the School of Education for Columbia University. I have conducted research, taught this research and the traditions supporting it. I have tried to educate both new researchers and professionals that will use research. I have never thought that any of this could be sold in a mall. Have I been wrong? Should I help my colleagues in Special Education to hurry, develop, patent a "Teachers College" dyslexia therapy, and promote it actively as the better one? We do have a proud tradition of research, development and advocacy in special education. Should we now cash in as engineering schools, departments of biochemistry and such, and now business schools, are doing? Should we enthusiastically embrace the world of commerce?

A year ago, I would have shaken my head and moved on: How could such crass chuzpah affect me? I was quite sure that academics would immediately recognize the multiple threats to independent research, philosophical critique, not to mention client safety, in such an endeavor. Much has happened since that made me pay attention and wonder whether this is a moment for trusting on academic common sense or for resisting ideological choices masquerading as historical necessity. A colleague, a sociologist and close advisor to the president of Teachers College, brought this to me with great verve and courage. In the winter 1999, he distributed to the faculty a long essay justifying changing the model of the university from one where it is constituted as a site for critical investigation, teaching and advising, to one centering on "knowledge production." He explored some of the implications of this new model for the future "content development team leaders" (read "professors") and challenged us to think about a time when Teachers College would "need to become a division of Disney or Microsoft." When I first read this, it seemed farfetched. It was not. In short order Columbia University announced that it had created "Morningside Ventures" "to compete in the commercial marketplace for learning" by building "strategic alliances with businesses"; this is "a for-profit company" needed "to compete effectively and productively" (Renzulli 1999). The first example of this is an agreement between the Graduate School of Business and UNext.com to deliver courses in finances, accounting and marketing. UNext.com describes itself as "a group of business and academic professionals with a shared vision of the future of distance learning. We are dedicated to building the first-ever online education enterprise focused on high quality education as it is created and taught in respected and distinguished educational institutions" (from their self description). They tout their links with the business schools of Harvard, Chicago, Stanford, and the London School of Economics. They talk about their concern with "the individual" even though most of their contracts so far have been with large corporations. They do not mention in any prominent place who their investors are, perhaps because a major one in Michael Milken.

The brave new world of commercial teaching is with us and it cannot be ignored. It is now a fact in all our lives. Even relatively small institutions like Teachers College are desperately trying to get into the band-wagon (or "the train leaving the station" as another popular metaphor goes), investing time and resources because "the mode of production and consumption of knowledge is undergoing changes no less dramatic than the changes form a pre-industrial to industrial society," to quote from another top administrator at Columbia (Renzulli 1999). The tone is messianic and apocalyptic. We are told repeatedly and with absolute certainty that something like the University of Phoenix or UNext.com is the future of us all. The future is here and the consequences are obvious: the move from university to what I would call "commercity" is inevitable.

There has been surprisingly little public debate about all this-particularly about the inevitability of the transformation. It is interesting that the initial players have, according to a recent news analysis tried to "maintain a low profile." It is revealing that, according to the same story, the dean of the Columbia Business School decided that "that the faculty would have no role in negotiating or reviewing the alliance with Unext" (Woody 1999). But public acts have now been taken, an argumentation in favor of this particular future has been made. It is time to mount a vigorous challenge. We are talking here about our collective future and what we bequeath to future faculty members and students. It is our historical responsibility to engage what may or may not be the playing out of overwhelming forces squashing all those who resist. History is never linear or foreordained. Collective action will always move it into directions that were not quite predictable, except perhaps in hindsight, when happenstance may come to look like necessity. We need not surrender.

Arguments affirming the inevitability of the full transformation of the university into a commercity generally start with a thumbnail history of higher education emphasizing its material ties to buildings and people thereby limiting its reach and impact. This evocation of the dark ages when we could only reach a few (dozen? hundred?) students at a time in spaces of bricks and mortar, is followed by a shining picture of a future partially characterized, in the words of my colleague, by "inexpensive, ubiquitous, high bandwidth communications . . . [that] reduce barriers to knowledge production and allow many new competitors to enter the field with relatively low capital requirements." In this world, we will be able to reach thousands upon thousands across in a virtual electronic space that finally achieve the utopian vision of the global village. Most interesting in this new vision of the separation between traditional and modern is the rhetorical shift to metaphors borrowed from industry. In the new world, "the search for knowledge" becomes "knowledge production" (along the lines I suspect that transformed the "personnel" of an institution into its "human resources"). Things would be simple if the shift in the root metaphor meant the construction of a new division in the collective labors. If the new commercities were merely proposed as an addition to the world of schooling, there might not be much cause for alarm. After all, private, for-profit, technical schools already exist. All large corporations have training departments for the employees. But, we are told, something new is happening that is directly relevant to the not-for-profit, research university. This is the institutions the commercity will necessarily replace. To this extent, the debate is not about doing different things, but about doing the same things differently. "Knowledge production" is not a metaphor to cover other activities than "the search for knowledge within a community of peers and students that sometimes produce books, articles, experiments, etc. of temporary value until they are superceded in a continuing conversation within a particular kind of public space"-as I would summarize my understanding of the university's mission. "Knowledge production" is to become the fundamental root metaphor.

Each metaphor, as it is extended to guide our personal and institutional action over the next years, helps construct different futures for ourselves and for those who will come after us. Above all they support social constructions of distinct public spaces institutionally optimized for different kinds of activities. Our problem is thus whether we strive to make of major research universities spaces optimized for marketplace development or ones optimized for critical investigation.

My statement is organized in five theses:

  1. As we enter the marketplace we lose the ability to examine it and possibly challenge it;
  2. Our value depends on us not having a price;
  3. Our value is dependent on a set of institutions ensuring that we are "free"-economically as well as politically;
  4. Freedom is expensive and the costs must be carried by all involved (faculty, students and above all the full community, that is the polity);
  5. The future is not preordained by technology

Knowledge production?

Those who talk about "knowledge production" in the context of a university seek to focus attention on one subset of a university's activities: degrees leading to certification and better job opportunities. The rest (research, reflection, etc.) is placed in parenthesis as subsidiary to the one activity that produces income. The current marketplace for degrees ("along with the rights and privileges hereunto attached"), it is argued, has been tightly regulated by state agencies the university powerfully influence (but not quite control). If this influence is lost; if the states deregulate this corner of the marketplace; and if private corporations find it possible to sell similar degrees more cheaply, then we may have to control the sale of what has until now been distributed at little if any cost: books, software, educational programs of all kinds-including our lectures and advice. If these objects are patented or licensed, then new revenues might be found. This is the argument that administrators find compelling.

a market in Provence To the extent that all universities have become ever more tuition dependent-that is, dependent on the sale of degrees--, it is plausible to argue that their financial health has been dependent on a set of political and technological understandings supporting a relative and now eroding monopoly. It affirms that the research and teaching function of universities have already been for some time located within rather than without the marketplace. If this shift is structural, if we are already competing with commercial firms, and they are encroaching on our domains, and if this is now in the process of being recognized politically, then we should fear extinction. We might then follow those who hope that we can forestall extinction by transforming ourselves to approximate the commercial firms who are thriving in the marketplace.

The flaw in this argument has to do with whether the universities claim that their degrees have particular value justifying their relative monopoly is merely an improper attempt to control the marketplace or whether this claim is founded in the historically distinctive position of the university outside the marketplace. I would argue that the university is different because it is, ontologically rather than purely for tax purposes, a not-for-profit venture dedicated to pursuing knowledge and distributing it "freely," (that is under specific conditions I will discuss later). This is the distinction that allows us to do certain things with a major value outside the marketplace where questions of value are eventually decided--including the value of the marketplace. The (relatively) free distribution of our contributions to the general conversation allows us, among other things, to criticize and evaluate what the marketplace produces. If we give up this claim to distinction, then, of course, we must start behaving fully like merchants in the market, controlling each other closely for financial productivity while protecting trade secrets (including any public statement possibly challenging the value of some of our best-selling products). Given the size of the current industry dedicated to providing educational material (from tests to textbooks to software to 'edutainment') we have plenty of models as to what would happen in an institution dedicated to "knowledge production for sale." My colleague was adamant: freedom is through competition in the marketplace, anyone who wonders about this "'just doesn't get it'" for "that's the price of progress." If he is right, then we have no choice but to join in this brave new world.

What is unclear is whether moving a university into the marketplace would keep open spaces often not discussed in apologies for the brave new world of the commercity: the spaces where is produced the "price-less," that is products for which no price can be set. We all, not only "we" of the academy, but also "we" of the polity at large, need these spaces, spaces on the Left Bank of the Seine from which the University can stand against the merchants on the Right Bank, criticizing, prophesying and otherwise challenging the marketplace. I propose that there is continued value for the polity in such open spaces where some of its members can function as full intellectuals. And I propose that we fight whatever is threatening us in current historical and technological developments to ensure that, in the future, the Scholar can continue to stand against the Merchant.

What price a great school of education?

Let us assume for a while that the distinction between the Scholar and the Merchant has been erased and that we are now all merchants. (1) Let us place ourselves in a future when university professors have fully shifted their attention from teaching and research to developing wares and selling them out to the highest bidder. It is not clear to me that, in spite of our best efforts, we would be successful in this endeavor. Might we not discover that others make these wares more cheaply? The Merchant's rejoinder would be that this is not a problem for society: is it more important for a (knowledge) worker to receive a monopolistic wage or for more consumers to get access to the knowledge? If university professors are transformed into corporate employees, what of it? The issue however concerns the "ware" itself and how the price for it should be set. I propose that we all consider that our best products are, actually, priceless. This may be because they "couldn't be given away": consumers are not interested or the products lack obvious usefulness to anyone on the marketplace. Our products may also be priceless, fundamentally, because they are not part of the world of price: how much would anyone give for a new theory of education-to continue using an example from my own institution?

The problem appears to be that some of our products do have a price. This is not quite as new as people are wont to say but it has suddenly become a concern. The administrators of Teachers College, like those of most universities, have become obsessed by the fact that some faculty members with an entrepreneurial bent have been making separate deals with outside commercial enterprises without arranging for the institution to share in the profits. They want to claim a share even if this means that the institution must enter into commercial contracts. So far, such argument have remained a relatively circumscribed matter significant mostly in engineering, biology, and a few other fields where intellectual investigation may, at times, produce objects of great market value. The issue now is whether this can be so broadly developed that it can become the main stay for the material support of other universities. Like most professors, I know that my institution has not been greatly interested in my commercial life: my first book was published by Teachers College Press but I was never contacted again to make sure that my further publications would be published there. Whatever profit was made by the various presses that published my subsequent work was not shared with Teachers College even though whatever value might be in this work was enhanced by my interaction with peers and students. But all of us who have published academic books know that we are talking peanuts here. A few members of the faculty are rumored to have made personal fortunes consulting or publishing textbooks. This, obviously, is what administrators would like to tap. They want to convince the entrepreneurs among us that they would profit even more if they shared their rights with the university rather than with the purely commercial houses they have been working with.

Their argument is founded on the assumption that the name "Teachers College," through the prestige attached to it, adds value to a professor's work and thus that something must be returned to the university for use of the name (and some of the other services provided to the professor). If I were an entrepreneur, or if I were the consumer (for example a school board looking for in-service training for teachers), which would I choose-something with the name "Teachers College" attached to it, or something with the name "Microsoft" attached? With the usual commercial products, the matter is relatively simple: when buying a car, one checks the car and, in the long run, the value of the name "Ford" or "Mercedes" is dependent on the cars. In the long run, the value of the name "Columbia" depends on what the university has produced. But is also depends on how and under what conditions it was produced. It depends to a significant extent on its political status as a not-for-profit institution that offers its research and education as close to "freely" possible given the needs to heat classrooms and feed the teachers. This status has no market price because it derives from agreements with the polity at large as it organized itself for the greater public good. If this status is lost, or if it appears that it is now purely a tax dodge for an intensely profit-seeking enterprise run by Boards of Directors accountable to investors, then there is little advantage in remaining associated with the institution, particularly if it is competing with much better capitalized private ventures. If all I was interested in was getting rich, it is uncertain that the new Teachers College could claim my loyalty for long.

The same questions should be raised about the value of TC's "name" in relation to the commercial houses who might decide to enter into partnership with us rather than develop their own projects or divisions from scratch. One can argue that a commercial house like Disney or Microsoft will find added value in the use of the name "Teachers College" on their packages and that they will be willing to pay us handsomely for it. It is not a matter of course, however, that they will continue to value it equally if it became known, in the marketplace and beyond, that TC was, for all intent and purposes, but one of their subsidiaries. More importantly perhaps, would consumers (from individuals to school districts and states) give products (including faculty and students) from Teachers College the same authority if they became aware of its new status? One should at least entertain the possibility that, once it is clear to all that Teachers College's products are produced under the same constraints as those produced by Microsoft, then all its advantage would disappear.

But the major problem with even debating the price of Teachers College is elsewhere. This debate makes us lose sight that developing new dyslexia therapies (reading software, seminars on school administration, etc.) is only a small part of our collective productions. What is the price of Dewey's "Pedagogical Creed"? of Piaget's conservation experiments? of Vigotsky's explorations of the "zone of proximal development"? of Bourdieu's writing on habitus? There is much value here as all these are explored by the faculty, and it may enhance the price of dyslexia therapies developed by some members of the faculty. But the price enhancement is precisely dependent on the priceless quality of the other activities. Price these and they lose their value, including the value of enhancing price by association. This can be stated as a "catch-22," a paradox, but only to the extent that we forget that the phrase "cultural capital" is a metaphor: education (critical research, etc.) is not capital. Schooling (degrees, training, etc.) may have a price. Education does not because it does not belong to the world of price.

If there is value in research universities then we must fight for it. I will grant various colleagues and administrators the possibility that, twenty years from now, the corporation housed in Manhattan between 120th and 121st street, while it may still be named "Teachers College," will have become a knowledge factory where employees are paid according to their commercial contribution to the bottom line. But we might envisage, somewhere else on Morningside Heights, another institution unencumbered by commercial considerations and dedicated to the priceless, "free" critique of, among other things, what the new TC is producing.

On the value of academic freedom for the village around the marketplace

a village in Provence I intend the adjective "free" in the preceding sentence both in the economic and political sense. "Free" connotes both what is given away and what is developed in freedom. Anthropologists like myself know that gifts offered "freely" have a particular social power that objects sold do not equally possess. The marketplace is but one space within a village (to tap currently popular metaphors) and exchanges that take place in other spaces than the market have different properties and they impact differently on social relations. "Freedom," of course is a relative, culturally constructed term but the consequence of this understanding of freedom has often been misunderstood. Most of us have been convinced by various philosophers and social critics over the past 50 years that freedom cannot be understood as a state where one would be unencumbered by any context or responsibility. Such a state is impossible in our universe. This recognition however does not have to lead to the kind of nihilism that ends up protecting only the class of people involved in the production of material wealth. If there are good philosophical, ideological, if not religious, reasons to construct something, then it must be constructed through continual cultural (that is institutional and political) work.

Academic freedom is such an ideological edifice that requires well-focused cultural work. Academic freedom is not absolute. Rather, it is directly controlled by all the mechanisms involved in making someone the member of a faculty, that is of a special class of political actors instituted and protected in particular ways. One becomes "free" academically only at the end of a long process starting, say, on admission to graduate school and probably not ending before the granting of tenure. Thus this freedom is controlled not only by the university itself but also by the state forces controlling the university. At the highest point within the campus of Columbia stand Low Library and high over its columns is an inscription that I find particularly appropriate in that it specifically places the university within the polity. It reads in part


An anthropologist might see in this an origin myth grounding an authority that is given to the university (and to degrees it grants) by the "People of the State of New York." The university is an organ of the people not the other way around-and this applies as well to the stock exchange a few miles to the south.

Once we have centered on the issue of political controls as constitutive of a freedom that is not a simple absolute, then we can then address the different implications of the organization of these controls: who controls academic freedom? How are the controls exercised? What do the controls limit and what do they encourage?

Obviously, I am asking that, for a brief while at least, we suspend our habitual cynicism regarding academic freedom. Tenure, the institutional guarantee that we are indeed academically free, is not a matter of protecting elderly faculty members who have ceased producing on any scale. The existence of such may be an unfortunate by-product but it is certainly not the rationale for it. I would argue that tenure is not even mostly a matter of protecting the individuals among us who are exploring unpopular paths. Tenure is a guarantee to the world outside the university that the statements coming from the university are made in a context independent, that is institutionally isolated, from political or commercial interests even if they end up supporting various political points of view or commercial products.

These matters are not abstract. They are directly political in all the houses, streets, squares and, yes, marketplaces of our global village. We are all aware of the relative authority of voices coming from university settings by contrast to voices from commercial settings on all issues of health. The polity, through its politicians and media, clearly distinguishes between researchers from the tobacco or pharmaceutical industries and researchers from the university even when they have the same credentials. I started this piece with a journalistic account of the creation of "Scientific Learning Inc." In the report, the journalist made the same distinction usually made in the health field: university researchers are not equivalent to commercial researchers. Substantively similar development research, conducted by individuals with the same credentials, and leading to similar products, is to be evaluated differently by the polity depending on whether the developers may profit commercially or whether their work was protected and constrained by academic freedom.

I am not arguing that we should trust academic research on absolute grounds. I understand the postmodern critique that would emphasize that university research is also vitiated by social and cultural interests that hide under a simple-minded version of freedom and independence. It remains that different relations to overall authority place authors (active individuals) under different kinds of constraints and their speech will privilege different aspects of an overall reality which no human institutions can encompass. It is the difference in point of views that is the ultimate value here. The point of view provided by the academic freedom must be preserved.

The material costs of institutionalized freedom

(Academic) freedom, we know comes at personal cost. Some costs may not be quantifiable. Others are directly measurable in potential income lost when one chooses to join a faculty rather a venture capital firm, perhaps on the model of Tim Berners-Lee whom some credit with inventing the World Wide Web in a research environment. At the point when he could have joined the creation of Netscape and possibly become a billionaire, he chose to join the faculty at M.I.T and continue working for a free internet.

Academic freedom also comes at many different kinds of costs. There are political costs: When "the people of the State of New York" granted academic freedom to Columbia, "the people" relinquished some of its right to control it. There are social costs: "free" academics must be supported by others (from administrators to janitors) who are not granted the same kinds of privileges. We might talk of the ecological costs associated with all parts of the enterprise. In this context we might even summarize all these costs into the economic ones that can be easily quantified: "free" academics must be fed, housed, computerized, etc. Academic freedom is expensive.

This is not the place to discuss how these costs should be allocated among all those involved-and I am thinking here of all those who, willy nilly, are made part of the polity ("village"?). I just want to mention that there is a strong rationale for an allocation that does involve the whole polity rather than just the small portions who directly enjoy the privileges. People (at least at TC!) are fond of the principle "all boats on their own bottoms." This only makes sense if we are indeed floating in multiple boats, and makes no sense if, as another saying from popular culture suggests, "we are all in the same boat" . . . Once the ultimate value of multiple points of view on the world has been accepted, then one must agree to some mechanisms for making it possible for people to inhabit these positions. Eventually, the polity must come to understand again that to ask the Merchant directly to pay the Scholar for his ware is in fact to erase the distinctiveness of the Scholar. Business school types would probably say, quite correctly as far as it goes, that the Merchant will always end up supporting all economic activity. (2) But economic support is qualitatively different depending on the mediating institutions between those who give the support and those who receive it.

As a fundamental political construction (the word "institution" would fit best here if it had not lost much of its evocative power), the State (whether individual states, the federal government, or the Supreme Court) must be involved. In the long run, it is the State that establishes the parameters of the peculiar social field (the University) within which academic freedom to probe, criticize, and build, can flourish. Whether the State can or should directly fund the University is clearly a question that the different cultures of the School have answered differently. Various democracies have opted for different solutions. The French, famously, have opted for all costs to be carried by the polity as a whole through the taxation power of the central government. Private philanthropy was always discouraged, and continues to be so discouraged. Americans, on the contrary have relied and continue to rely on a philanthropy which, arguably, insulates the University both from the State and the commercial world (even when the money comes from there). More and more this philanthropy has been supplemented by types of state support and by the fees students are willing to pay to get degrees. There may be dangers to academic freedom here too. (3) Still, in the long run, whether the funds coming into a university are dangerous to its mission must depend on the extent to which the right hand that collects the fund is insulated from the left hand that spends it. A contribution from Microsoft to TC is not a danger if it is the faculty who determines how it is to be spent. It is a direct threat if it has become a contract between the administration of the two corporations. Tuition payments, similarly, are not a direct threat if it is lcear that they do not buy a degree that the faculty is at liberty to deny without the institution having to refund the collected moneys.

Crystal balls and the future

The advocates of the commercity have convinced themselves that they know what "inexpensive . . . communications" will bring. In their crystal balls they only sees forms of commerce with corporations directly paying their employees (partner?) on the basis of their contribution to production. In the future there will only be intellectual piece workers. Others, given the same premise, sees a very different future that might even more of a threat to the university. They argue that, soon, people will not have to attend a university because all knowledge has been digitized and placed on the Web for universal access. If this is the case, then there is even less of an argument for hoping that universities can sell their wares!

In this world my knowledge, as made available on the Web, is now potentially fully free. As someone who has already placed many of my course notes, unpublished material, etc, on the Web, I wonder why anyone would now want to buy all this from me. I know from personal experience the extent of the potential problem: over the past few years, I have educated myself into the methods for building web sites by availing myself of the work made available freely by various people I don't know who built open sites that I now use regularly to get informed about the always evolving arcanae of the field. My personal contribution to their material support has only included the purchase of a few books.

Could someone learn my field, the anthropology of education, this way? If one understands knowledge as "authoritative participation in current conversations in any field in such a way that lack of formal, degree-certified, graduate schooling would not be noticeable," then the only issue is one of authority. (4) Leaving this issue aside, I am sure that a determined self-starter could come to know all the major issues in the anthropology of education, the major figures who have contributed to the conversations about these issues, their major works and the problems associated with it, and all this from her home computer. I assume that this person would, in her search, bump into authors, approaches, etc., that the blinders academic training can place on many practitioners prevent them from investigating. To this extent an autodidact could contribute something truly original to the field and be celebrated for it. She could do this without taking any courses whether on campus or through distance learning.

I don't know how those who now "own" knowledge in anthropology of education might defend their "intellectual property" against this kind of appropriation. If my tenure at Teachers College is interpreted as a license bought by the corporation so that it can use my knowledge for its own commercial purposes then I, and the corporation, have a serious problem. Most current intellectual knowledge has already leaked into the public domain and it is unlikely that passwords, licensing fees or patents can protect new knowledge. Even if some of us were willing to put these kinds of barriers around our contribution to the general conversation, it only takes a few determined "free"-thinkers to disseminate all that is substantive in any person's work. Not so paradoxically, most of the intellectual knowledge developed around the new technologies, both technical and liberal has already escaped the world of commerce. The famous operating system "Linux" is but one example. Project Gutenberg is another. (5) And so are Centers like the Institute for Learning Technologies at Teachers College. (6)

I assume that the next quarter century will be marked by a battle between those who try to patent, copyright and otherwise protect their intellectual productions, and those who give theirs away for free. Which of these two futures finally get institutionalized is, I argue, beyond the power of anyone to forecast with any degree of confidence. But I would also argue two only apparently incompatible points:

As far as the future is concerned, it is possible that the "free" university will remain best suited to contribute, and critique, what is available "for free" and will be very much in need of sifting. Information will be available on the Net, but perhaps not education. In any event, we should never confuse the ideological choices guiding our constructive activity with fate or destiny: the social forces we are talking about here are much greater than any of us, singly or additively.

Acknowledgements  This text was first written in response to a challenging statement by Prof. Gary Natriello of Teachers College.  In his piece, he explored a future in which Teachers College might become "a division of Disney or Microsoft" with radical implications for academic freedom or tenure.  I am grateful for the opportunity to think further about these matters.  I also want to thank Ernie Rothkopf and Jacob Neusner was encouraged me first to pursue this matter.

1. I am aware, as I discuss below, of the costs associated with Scholarship but will argue that the search to meet these costs do not ipso facto transform scholars into merchants.

2. Marxist types used to affirm with equal conviction that the workers in the Merchant's factories were those who supported all economic activities. Both convictions must be acknowledged.

3. Some would argue that there are clear dangers here too: the more controlled government funded research becomes (as in contract research based on RFPs), the more the research agenda becomes restricted to certain areas. Student fees are a different kind of challenge since a state might worry that an institution that is overly dependent on tuition would be tempted to cheapen its teaching so as not to scare students with the result that degrees eventually guaranteed by the State are not quite what they should be..

4. I am envisioning here a kind of "Turing test" for knowledge that would leave aside any kind of probing of the internal circuitry of the knower and concentrate rather on the reactions of others to her entry into social interaction: in other words the test would consist in establishing that the person can pass as a knower in the community of those who control the particular conversation in question.

5. This is a major project to digitize all books, starting with the famous literature, and moving on to more obscure scholarly texts (URL: "http://sailor.gutenberg.org")

6. This is a center dedicated to exploring new ways of presenting knowledge using all the capabilities of the new technologies. One their most complete project is prototype and develop an " online, multimedia Dante-related academic resource combining traditional elements of scholarly research with new communication and presentation possibilities enabled by networked digital technology" (URL: " http://www.ilt.columbia.edu/projects/dante.html").

January 28, 2000