"Some individuals believe that the primary goal of universities should be to provide information and skills needed for future work.Others however feel that the main objective of universities is to give students access to knowledge for its own values regardless if the information is useful for a job or not."

So how should I read the expression in bold regarding this context? Could you please rephrase the last sentence?

  • ..give access to knowledge per se, irrespective of the fact that it may be useful to find a job.
    – user5267
    Sep 13, 2016 at 9:04
  • .. should that be for its own value, without the final s, in the bold text?
    – JavaLatte
    Sep 13, 2016 at 9:12
  • No , It' written as it is in the source. Sep 13, 2016 at 9:24
  • It is not an idiomatic expression or an adaptation of a set phrase, it just means what it literally says. What is that you don't understand? It refers to the "values" of what you study and learn in universities. Knowledge is valuable in itself, not just because you may be able to find a job because of that knowledge.
    – user5267
    Sep 13, 2016 at 9:38
  • the thing that I dont't understand is the construction of the sentence itself. I'm used to seeing diferent kind of usage of this expression, like, "I Do it for my own good", "Parents do everything for their children's sake" . So the form of last sentence "objective of the universities is to give students access to knowledge for its own values" brought to mind quite different meanings and I instantly thought "whose own values is the subject matter?" Universities or Students? . I didnt even think that implication here might be knowledge itself. Sep 13, 2016 at 10:28

1 Answer 1


This is not a particularly well written piece of text. It contains at least two errors: values should be singular, otherwise it means this: and regardless if should be regardless of whether.

for its own value is probably intended as a reference to, or is a misquote of, the more idiomatic expression for its own sake.

If you do something for its own sake, you do it because it is interesting and enjoyable, and not because you have or need to do it:

I believe in education for its own sake, not just to get a good job.

If you believe in education for its own value, you believe that knowledge is valuable even if it is not directly applicable to a particular job.

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