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For the common good

David Hollinger, professor emeritus of history | December 11, 2009

When academia is under such enormous pressure from a variety of political forces, it is bracing to read For the Common Good: Principles of American Academic Freedom (Yale University Press, 2009), by Matthew W. Finkin and Robert C. Post. This cogent, accessible defense of the political autonomy of universities is the most ambitious and convincing treatise on academic freedom written since the great days of John Dewey and Arthur O. Lovejoy, the founders of the American Association of University Professors. Finkin, a law professor at Illinois, is a long-time expert on this topic, as is Post, who is now the Dean of the Yale Law School. Finkin and Post emphasize the difference between academic freedom doctrine and free speech doctrine, and they vindicate academic professionalism with a lucidity and verve that is very much needed at this time. Many Berkeley people will remember Post, who taught in our law school for many years before moving to Yale.

Comments to “For the common good

  1. Hi,

    I checked the Berkeley Libraries (Main, Moffitt, etc.) they do not have this book. What’s going on? Call for librarians: buy this book. It seems fantastic according to the summary of Prof. Hollinger. DAR

    • There are two copies of this book at the Law Library, call number KF4242 .F56 2009. Please check the Law Library web site at for access policy and hours. I’m mentioning your comment to other campus librarians in case our reduced budgets (sigh) still allow us to buy a copy for another library.

      Corliss Lee
      Doe/Moffitt Instructional Services

      • Same as Dar, I also find difficulty finding this book…I already checked the Berkeley Library, even some public library few days a go when I was traveling to my relatives in Denver. Please-please….if anyone have information about this book please contact me. Thank you.

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