On Attempts To Ban Controversial Scholars From Entering The US

From the ACLU’s blog of rights: In a victory for free speech and academic discourse, last week the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower-court decision upholding the government’s exclusion of Swiss scholar Tariq Ramadan from the United States. Professor Ramadan, a leading scholar of the Muslim world, was offered a tenured professorship at [Read More...]

Is God Needed For Us To Care About Starving Kids A World Away?

A few weeks ago now, I wrote a post, Commitment To Value Without God, in which I discussed how even when I was a Christian, I realized that I did not need to make reference to God in order to either psychologically recognize the value of sumptuous food or good friendship or any of various [Read More...]

Can Scientists Infer About Naturalism And Its Limitations?

John Pieret is not thrilled with Sean Carroll’s foray into the philosophy of science and metaphysics from Thursday. Particularly, he is (rightly) critical of Carroll’s dismissal of major theories of scientific demarcation as mere “mottos” and his apparently unnuanced and uncritical preference for Occam’s Razor in all cases.  Only in the final paragraph does he [Read More...]

Texas Revising Social Studies Curriculum

Via The Friendly Atheist. Among the changes recommended by the three conservative reviewers on the panel: Include more study of religious revival movements: Evangelist Billy Graham should be included on a list of transformational leaders of the 20th century and students in fifth and eight grades should study the colonial-era religious revival known as the [Read More...]

Philosophy Not As Exceptional, But As Specialized

Recently in the philosophy blogosphere there has been a bit of a stir over a request for grant proposals from the NEH for new classes on the “enduring questions.”  In response philosophy Professor Jude Jones and I have had several exchanges on questions related to the relative academic value of specialists from other fields teaching [Read More...]

On The Various Disciplines’ Resources For Engaging The Enduring Questions

Professor Jude Jones has stopped by to offer an excellent retort to my recent remarks in reply to her. Our topic is whether a new NEH call for grant proposals presumes that non-philosophers can address “the enduring questions” usually considered the domain of philosophy better than philosophers have or equal to how we have.  Here [Read More...]

On The Goals Of Introductory Philosophy Courses

In reply to my previous post on grants offered by the NEH to non-philosopher academics for creating novel classes on “enduring questions,” a philosophy professor writes to me in private: Interesting. I share your general sensibilities on this, but it’s not clear to me that they are being sought “to teach philosophy classes”. They are [Read More...]

“Wanted: Non-Philosophers To Do Philosophy”

The National Endowment for the Humanities is offering grants to academics outside of philosophy to develop courses on “enduring questions” that have long been the domain of philosophers and philosophy classes: They make the dubious and ambiguous claim that these questions are “pre-disciplinary” because they are, supposedly “questions to which no discipline or field can [Read More...]

Anachronistic Narratives and Students’ Attempts To Understand Abolitionism

Via Open Left comes these remarks (worth reading in full) from Clio Bluestocking on the appallingly shallow and badly framed ways that her students are conceiving of the abolitionist movement: For example, in the past few years, I have read essays that refer to the conditions of slavery as a “lifestyle.” I have read essays [Read More...]


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