We are a politically diverse group of social scientists, natural scientists, humanists, and other scholars who want to improve our academic disciplines and universities.
We share a concern about a growing problem: the loss or lack of “viewpoint diversity.” When nearly everyone in a field shares the same political orientation, certain ideas become orthodoxy, dissent is discouraged, and errors can go unchallenged.
To reverse this process, we have come together to advocate for a more intellectually diverse and heterodox academy.
Recent Blog Posts
The recent Google Memo on diversity, and the immediate firing of its author, James Damore, have raised a number of questions relevant to the mission of Heterodox Academy. Large corporations deal with many of the same issues that we wrestle with at universities, such as how to seek truth and achieve the kinds of diversity we want, being cognizant that we are tribal creatures often engaged in motivated reasoning, operating within organizations that are at risk of ideological polarization.In this post, we address the central empirical claim of Damore’s memo, which is contained in its second sentence. Read more →
Philosopher Nicholas Shackel coined the term “motte-and-bailey” to describe the rhetorical strategy in which a debater retreats to an uncontroversial claim when challenged on a controversial one. The structure goes something like this: Read more →
Claremont McKenna College (CMC) has highlighted their position at the top of our Guide to Colleges Top 50 Liberal Arts Schools in the United States in a new piece posted to their newsroom. Read more →
Conor Friedersdorf summarized the hearing held by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on challenges to freedom of speech on college campuses. Particularly noteworthy is HxA member Nadine Strossen’s testimony on how to differentiate between speech expressing hatred and speech presenting clear and present danger of harm.
Drawing on HxA Academy’s research and political science research by our members on viewpoint diversity, HxA’s communications director, Jeremy Willinger, writes about standing up for the heterodox academy in Spiked.
Lauren Camera covers the wave of state legislation intended to protect free speech on college campuses. At The Hill, Sarah Ruger points out some flaws with the Goldwater Institute’s model legislation.
On our blog, social psychologists Brett Mercier and Craig Blatz summarized their research on how people under-estimate how certain their political opponents are.
Lastly, here is our latest academic membership breakdown by ideology:
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We propose that political discussions often proceed poorly because when people describe their views, they describe not only their position on the issue, but also the certainty with which they hold this position. Read more →
Psychologist and emotion researcher Lisa Feldman Barrett distinguishes between provocateurs who are part of a consistent campaign of bullying, and controversial researchers whose ideas are offensive. She argues that only the former are violent.
In a response to Barrett, Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff argue that it’s a bad idea to tell students that any kind of speech is violence.
Social psychologist Mark Leary describes the association between polarization and extreme confidence in the rightness of one’s views.
In Professors in the Political Cross Hairs, The Chronicle of Higher Education features 10 articles about internet outrage against academics. Of these 10 articles, two are new articles about Texas A&M philosopher Tommy Curry—the first (paywalled) article covers Curry himself, and the second has an interactive table showing news stories about Curry in partisan and nonpartisan media.
Claremont McKenna College suspended five students who led the attempt to shut... Read more →
Wanted: Someone who cares about universities and research who can lead an effort to improve universities and research. Heterodox Academy is a rapidly growing collaboration of more than a thousand professors, evenly balanced between left and right. We have come together to discuss ways of improving the academy by enhancing viewpoint diversity and the conditions that encourage free inquiry. We have a robust membership, a popular website, and prominent media presence. To grow further we need to hire an Executive Director. The ideal candidate will understand the academic world and have the skills needed to influence it. Our dream candidate would be someone who has earned a Ph.D. and who has also run an organization. Read more →
‘She blinded me with science’ is a wonderful 1980s song by the Brit Thomas Dolby. It could be the signature tune for Professor Lisa Barrett’s fallacious New York Times Gray Matter article on speech as violence. Professor Barrett’s arguments are supposedly based on science, but the facts don’t support them. She uses eugenics as a bad example, but her proposal is itself a kind of mental eugenics. Read more →
Laura Kipnis does not care if you don’t appreciate her oppositional position – or her sense of humor. “Kiss my ass,” she states in the penultimate paragraph of the 34-page introduction to her new book, “Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus.”Her new book grabs readers’ attention in ways that cause both pleasure and discomfort. Perhaps not surprising, then, she is facing a gag order of sorts and a lawsuit filed by a graduate student at Northwestern University whom she writes about in the book. Read more →
Norms about speech seem to be changing rapidly on many college campuses. Universities are offering or requiring training in recognizing “microaggressions,” and they are creating “bias response teams” to make it easy for students to report professors and fellow students who commit microaggressions. In response, many students and professors say they now feel like they are “walking on eggshells”, not just in the classroom but in informal interactions as well.But how do we know that these changes are real? Might the stories just be a collection of anecdotes from a few disgruntled people who are over-reacting to being censured for a rude remark? Where is the data showing that students are afraid to speak their minds?We know of no good survey to measure this phenomenon, so a group* of social scientists at Heterodox Academy created one – the Fearless Speech Index. This post explains the first draft of the survey and reports preliminary results obtained from an internet sample. Read more →
To increase viewpoint diversity in the academy.
- We are seeking an Executive Director
- HxA Membership Surpasses 1,000 Professors
- HxA releases updated Guide to Colleges
- Announcing the Viewpoint Diversity Experience
- Van Jones’ excellent metaphors about the dangers of ideological safety
- Why progressive professors should join HxA, especially now
- HxA top ten blog posts from 2016