This essay asks the question “What would it mean to be a just university?” and answers to that the question may be understood in two ways. One way to understand “just” is procedural, having to do with internal governance and ensuring that a university’s policies are themselves just. The other is substantive, having to do with the university’s purpose or reason for existing. The second assumes the university is to serve some function necessary for the general good. This good is often defined in material terms: fostering a stronger economy, medical breakthroughs, more efficient use of natural resources, and so on. But such a view of the university defines its value entirely by factors external to itself. Proponents of one definition of the university’s purpose typically acknowledge some validity in the other, and universities commonly strive to fulfill the claims of both definitions. But universities also have an obligation to teach the young and to do so within the context of a common set of values that both determines the setting in which teaching takes place and encourages students to develop values that will shape their own lives. Katz argues in particular that intellectuals have a special obligation to work cooperatively to eliminate intellectual obstacles that stand in the way of commensuration, communication, and comprehension globally. It is this responsibility that he calls “intellectual philanthropy.”

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