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Academic Freedom

Academic freedom refers to teachers having freedom to teach and students having freedom to learn without interference from within or from ideological conflicts outside the institution. Understanding the rights and responsibilities of teachers is essential in public discourse on academic freedom. This entry provides the historical background of the concept, its interpretation in the law, and current challenges.

Foundations of Academic Freedom

In the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries, university faculties were representatives of the church and state. Peripatetic educators taught within the parameters of church doctrine. However, Peter Abelard, author of Sic et Non, was condemned for failure to adhere to church doctrine. Medieval universities were corporations or guilds of scholars. In 1200, the University of Paris received royal recognition from King Philip Augustus, placing masters ...

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