When John Adams wrote his beloved Abigail in 1780, “I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy,” he understood the pursuit of philosophy to encompass what we should today call the natural and social sciences. English usage has since changed; disciplinary boundaries have been declared, funded, and institutionalized. Yet, as I see the role of philosophy in contemporary American education, the spirit of Adams’s aspiration remains central to our own, for we too recognize that there are two educations: one that “should teach us how to make a living, and the other how to live.” The tenor of my own teaching is grounded in this fundamental principle, that liberation of the intellect is essential to human flourishing. Intellectual freedom is, in my view, tantamount to the practice of sound scholarship—that is, to maintaining rigorous habits of organized skepticism and reasoned consensus in all collective endeavor. (Continues...)
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Very nice profile piece in the Honors College Fall magazine (p.43) by my colleague Ron Bombardi. Handsome photo too.