My purpose, after finding use in John White’s distinction between two types of autonomy, is to explain how academic work, unlike much other work, needs to be seen as in its nature autonomous, insofar as academics would engage in their work authentically. This is also in the service of challenging the mechanistic world-view which dominates policy and dictates parameters for practice, characterised in, for instance, the polemics of Richard Dawkins. The basis for the challenge lies in John McDowell’s post-Kantian thesis foregrounding the ‘space of reasons’ of the world. I shall present the key points of the argument succinctly and phrase questions to provoke discussion, since this session provides opportunity for participants to explore the implications of these lines of thinking for practice and policy, especially with the advent of the new Researcher Development Framework and with the now pressing question of sustaining the Development agenda post-Roberts
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