Indiana Law Journal

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91 Indiana Law Journal 5 (2015)


In his recent book, Versions of Academic Freedom: From Professionalism to Revolution, Stanley Fish renewed his arguments for an “it’s just a job” account of academic freedom, begun in his 2008 book, Save the World on Your Own Time. He claims that academic freedom consists of nothing more than the conditions necessary to follow the established criteria for scholarship and teaching within each discipline. He complains chiefly against the invocation of academic freedom to protect or glorify political advocacy by academics. There is a lot in Fish’s account to admire and agree with. The appropriate sphere of academic freedom needs to be distinguished from general First Amendment rights enjoyed by public employees and from substandard teaching or scholarship, which can and should be sanctioned. But he also continues to deny that academic freedom fosters any important public values broader than the interests of academics themselves, a position I view as both incoherent and disastrous for the preservation of academic freedom.


Note: This Early Winter issue replaces the normal Fall issue of the Indiana Law Journal.