Academic freedom


  • Guðmundur Heiðar Frímannsson



Academic freedom, freedom of expression, function of universities.


In this article academic freedom is examined and an attempt made to elucidate and explain its content. The function of universities is discussed to set the context for academic freedom. A distinction is drawn between freedom of expression and academic freedom and it is argued that these two concepts of freedom are logically distinct and independent of each other. Also, a distinction between a wide and narrow conception of academic freedom is explored. It is argued that awide conception of academic freedom should be rejected. An example of a seemingly justified use of the wide conception of academic freedom is explored and rejected. At last it is argued that it is inevitable that some of the teaching and research in theoretical disciplines at universities is not useful or socially relevant in any significant sense but they are important for universities and for those who learn and teach them. They can also be beneficial for society in general as well.

Author Biography

Guðmundur Heiðar Frímannsson

Professor, University of Akureyri.



How to Cite

Frímannsson, G. H. (2012). Academic freedom. Icelandic Review of Politics & Administration, 8(2), 265–280.



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