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THE BLOG

Three Strategies for Navigating Moral Disagreements

By: Musa Al-Gharbi, research associate at Heterodox Academy We in America and Western Europe, and by now many other places in the world, have this idea of people as fundamentally rational. On this account, our profound cognitive abilities are designed to help us discover objective truths about the world through logical argument and empirical observation...

Why I’m Leaving the Academy in Order to Help Save it

By: Debra Mashek, HxA’s Executive Director   Dear Members of Heterodox Academy, I landed my dream job in 2005.  For the past 13 years I have been on the faculty at Harvey Mudd College, an elite liberal arts school with an intense focus on the STEM disciplines. Every single day I get to work alongside incredible..

Nick Phillips: Conservatives are passing laws requiring public universities to protect free speech. It’s probably a bad idea

So what do these bills do? They reinforce the message that when a community is having trouble navigating competing truth claims, you go outside the community and find an authority figure to put their foot down. The social justice set will get the message. They’ll make sure to have bills of their own at the ready for the next time they get control of a state legislature, and they’ll design administrative countermeasures to resist at the campus level. This is a recipe for polarized stalemate in our divided country.

A Tale of Two Columbia Classes

Of the seven philosophy courses I’ve taken at Columbia so far, not a single one has operated even close to this way––philosophy professors are always the first to point out logical weaknesses, strong counterarguments, and alternative points of view, even when they fundamentally agree with the course material. In this class, I got the sense that the professor was wedded to the material, such that a critique of the material would have been synonymous with a critique of her. As hyperbolic as this might sound, voicing a strong pushback against any idea that the Professor favored was nearly unthinkable.

Teaching Heterodoxy: ESL and Viewpoint Diversity

This is the second post in our Teaching Heterodoxy series.

By Dr. Cory Holland, Worcester State University

The following activity occurred in the context of an English as a Second Language (ESL) writing class for international students hoping to matriculate in US universities. This particular class was evenly split between students from China and students from Saudi Arabia, a detail that will become important shortly. Students in this class are at a high-intermediate level of English proficiency and are learning to write short essays in genres common to introductory university classes.

Research Summary: The Polarizing Effects of Online Partisan Criticism: Evidence from Two Experiments

We conclude that online partisan criticism likely has contributed to rising affective and social polarization in recent years between Democrats and Republicans in the United States, and perhaps between partisan and ideological group members in other developed democracies as well. We close by discussing the troubling implications of these findings in light of continuing attempts by autocratic regimes and other actors to influence democratic elections via false identities on social media.