Edited by Lazariou, George, Liber amicorum: A Philosophical Conversation among Friends • A Festschrift for Michael A. Peters, (Addleton Academic Publications : New York) 2014

The notion of an academic friendship implied in “book of friends” -- Liber amicorum -- suggests a mutual caring about ideas and their representation, an intimacy that differs from the impersonal and bureaucratic relationships that distinguish neoliberal universities, and shared activity in the joint pursuits of conferences, seminars, books and papers implied in co-authorship, in a shared body of literature, in shared perspectives. Academic friendship is built into the notion of philosophy and is not only a shared love of wisdom in the original Greek meaning of the term but an essential relation that is at the basis of being a colleague: it is inherent in the idea of dialogue, communication and the very possibility of conversation.

This Romantic analysis that revolves around academic exchange, mutual acknowledgement, and shared standards of scholarship stands in marked contrast to the knowledge hoarding and privatisation of research that characterises the neoliberal university that imposes its industrial line management psychology to police, monitor and increasingly spy on the performativity of its faculty. In the “university of friends” it is our special responsibility to be critical of one another and to learn to take criticism in a positive sense as the lifeblood of scholarship: criticism without meanness, without rancour, and without nastiness.

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