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versão On-line ISSN 2309-9585
versão impressa ISSN 0259-0190


GOMES, Catarina Antunes. On freedom, being and transcendence: the quest for relevance in higher education. Kronos [online]. 2017, vol.43, n.1, pp.78-98. ISSN 2309-9585.

In spite of an extreme diversity in terms of institutional designs, political environment and economic predicaments, the global landscape of higher education systems nowadays faces common trends that raise a number of perplexities and reframe the idea and the practice of the university. Those same trends compel us to analyse the university's contemporary challenges and conundrums, especially in terms of its social function and the core issue of its existence: critical thinking and intellectual freedom. Thus, central to this endeavour is questioning what critical thinking and intellectual freedom are, as well as what both imply in terms of educational practices and knowledge production. Quite beyond their market-oriented usefulness, the exercise of critical thinking and intellectual freedom might be best understood as the founda-tional condition for avoiding coercive normalisation, that is, the tools through which individuals and communities can sustain democratic control over institutions and exercise critical and conscious choices around identity matters and what futures to build. In this sense it is argued that critical thinking - itself an experience of freedom - should be translated into forms of transcendence through which historical limits imposed on individuals and communities can be challenged. The conundrum is to assess, in present-day conditions, how the university can pursue and defend critical thinking and intellectual freedom.

Palavras-chave : critical thinking; intellectual freedom; role of education; political conformity; thoughtlessness.

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