In hte 2 O'Clock Daniel Cohen read a paper called "academic arguments." Simply put, an academic argument is one that really matters not–a knowledge for its own sake argument in other words. The question raised was basically whether one has any justification for engaging in such an argument. Though Cohen is skeptical that any such purely academic arguments exist (he didn't give any examples), he argued nonetheless that it would be worthwhile, on ethical grounds, to engage in them.
One interesting objection, the last one made at the end of the session, concerned whether we can really abstract the question from other ones: in particular, though knowledge may be intrinsically valuable, it is the least of intrinsic goods, so there will likely always be something better to do than argue for the sake of it.