Whither the University? Universities of Technology and the Problem of Institutional Purpose

Seumas Miller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
31 Downloads (Pure)


There is a need to provide an appropriate normative conception of the modern university: a conception which identifies its unifying purposes and values and, thereby, gives direction to institutional role occupants, governments, public policymakers and other would-be institutional designers. Such a conception could admit differences between modern universities; differences, for example, between so-called universities of technology and other universities. Indeed, it is preferable to frame the issue at the level of higher education or university systems rather than at the level of individual universities. According to the teleological normative theory of social institutions, social institutions are organizations or systems of organizations that provide collective goods by means of joint activity; universities are no exception. So what are the fundamental collective good(s) that universities of technology, or the larger systems of which they are a part, ought to be providing and how are they travelling in this regard? This is the question addressed in this paper.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1679-1698
Number of pages20
JournalScience and Engineering Ethics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Bureaucratisation
  • Epistemic institutions
  • John Henry Newman
  • Joint epistemic action
  • Knowledge for its own sake
  • Market-based institutions
  • Marketisation
  • University
  • University of technology

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