Most Canadian universities were created in response to society's perceived need for men and women trained in the professions, or at least prepared to take up gainful employment that contributes to the national economy. In contrast, Bishop's was inspired by John Henry Newman's idea of the university as an academic community in which undergraduates might form their opinions and learn to defend them by living among those whose interests and competence include a wide range of disciplines. The goal of such an education is to produce what Newman calls a "philosophical habit of mind" an ability to think which, being independent of any particular subject, is the instrument of all.
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