While academic freedom can only be described in relation to academic norms, its justification can and should depend on its contribution to the common good. Academics contribute to the common good by producing scholarship. But scholarship is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Academic freedom is justified not only because enables academics to produce more and better scholarship, but also because it enables academics to challenge academic norms that diminish the quantity or quality of scholarship they produce.
Response or Comment
Brian L. Frye, Justifying Academic Freedom, 9 FIU L. Rev. 45 (2013).