Loving to engage with students who are prepared to debate … great to see this story encouraging students not to see their tutors as golden gods:
Master and pupil should be bosom friends and intellectual enemies. We need students to feel loved so that they learn, and outraged so that they can reach beyond their teaching and devise something new for themselves.
We need them to disagree with their teachers. When they submit, debate is impoverished and progress slowed or arrested. Where would Western tradition be if Aristotle had not reacted against Plato, or Epicurus against Pyrrho? How much weaker Chinese thought would look if Chuang Tzu had slavishly followed Hui Shih, on whose mind, he said when the master died, he sharpened his own in friction. What would the modern world have lost if Ferdinand de Saussure had stuck to the programme of the Leipzig Neogrammarians or if Ludwig Wittgenstein had not quibbled in Bertrand Russell’s classes, insisting, for example, that there might be an undetected hippopotamus under the table?
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