Thinkers come along demolish the status quo every 20 years or so, sometimes more frequently, sometimes less so.
This is not particularly new for the academy, they’ve dealt with it before and they’ll deal with it again.
But the academy itself doesn’t go anywhere. If you think these aren’t smart people, you’re fooling yourself. If they went through the academic process, and had to fight for their ideas every step of the way, just to say something, anything, even if its only a footnote on the words of some obscure thinker, you better be sure that if someone tries to come along and upend that, they’ll be ready to defend themselves.
But it happens, and when it does, they have a trick for that.
They don’t walk away, they don’t quit, they don’t merely let the academy crumble because someone came along and smashed all their ideas with a rock.
They just go with it and the status quo changes.
Now there is a new thinker in the Academy, and sometimes an old one falls away. Now there are new ideas to defend and take up with fervor, if not moreso, than the old.
After all, how do you think all those great books from these fantastical minds end up there to begin with? Did you think all those professors would just roll over to any new thought from anywhere? Would you want to read anything they brought to you if they did? Would you want to listen to anything they had to say?
Where did all these great minds even get their education from to begin with? Even if they are cast out, admonished, ignored, it matters very little. Their ideas did not exist in a vacuum. They were taught like any other.
Even if they did it alone, a self-taught miracle, they certainly did not do so without the books the academy cared for, valued, explicated on, pointed out, popularized, where would they even look? Where could they look?
But if one thinks they can do better than university, that they can go it alone completely, anyone is free to try, but even if they were to succeed in that goal, and start philosophy over completely from scratch.
At best, all they will have done is created what was already there to begin with. The Academy.