The articles suggested below introduce the curious reader to essential information about HxA and the social and ideological issues currently faced by students, faculty, and administrators on college campuses. These readings aim to increase awareness about principles of open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement. Please feel free to use these readings or the downloadable PDF with students, colleagues, and others in learning about heterodoxy.

Why does HxA exist?

Simply put, there is a growing problem on college campuses in which students, faculty, and administrators are increasingly unable:

  • to ask difficult questions and share ideas without fear of censorship (participate in open inquiry)
  • to approach problems from various perspectives (espouse viewpoint diversity)
  • to productively converse or debate across their differences (engage in constructive disagreement)

Read more about THE PROBLEM from HxA here.

The PROBLEM is also discussed here in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Why does it matter that colleges support and facilitate open inquiry?

Open inquiry is the ability to ask questions and share ideas without risk of censure. When students fear reprisal for expressing their opinions or do not trust their faculty or peers enough to engage fully with the material learning suffers. This doesn’t just affect the student who self-censors, it also robs their peers of potential learning and growth opportunities (as compared to if these perspectives had been shared and explored). Students can persist in error, avoid reaching out for help or mentorship, switch majors, avoid grad school, or even drop out before obtaining a degree. 

Read about student SELF-CENSORSHIP on college campuses here.

  •   The majority (68%) of college students report that their campus climate prevents them from expressing their true opinions because their peers might find them offensive (John S. and James L. Knight Foundation)

Find more STATISTICS about FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION and campus climate here.

Are Viewpoint Diversity and Constructive Disagreement really a problem on campus?

Increasingly college campuses are becoming hotbeds of intolerance to viewpoint diversity and are failing to engender a climate promoting civil discourse. Such intolerance has amongst other things resulted in the cancellation of visiting speakers and in the dismissal of faculty. Ultimately, such culling of diverse ideological views at the institutional level may prevent students from learning how to successfully process and debate ideas and opinions that oppose theirs.

Read about the impact of VIEWPOINT INTOLERANCE and FAILURES OF CIVIL DISCOURSE through the voices of a professor, college students, and a social activist.

Read here about viewpoint INTOLERANCE, CONTEMPT, and SOCIETAL CLIMATE from best-selling author Arthur Brooks.

Why are Viewpoint Diversity and Constructive Disagreement valuable?

  • Faculty may be fearful of social ostracization or punishment if their ideas, opinions, or questions balk against the prevailing campus culture; potentially extinguishing their important contributions to scholarship.

Read about ideological diversity here and the CONSEQUENCES of suppressing ideological diversity on campus here

  • When college campuses espouse and perpetuate a homogeneous set of views, whether through hiring practices or student body composition, it can increase a tendency toward emotionally biased rather than logical decision making (i.e., motivated reasoning) and toward seeking information that confirms previously held beliefs (i.e., confirmation bias)

Find out here about research comparing HETEROGENEOUS vs. HOMOGENEOUS groups.

Discover DIFFERENT WAYS TO THINK about diversity here.

What is an example of a personal attribute that makes one ready to adopt principles of Open Inquiry, Viewpoint Diversity, and Constructive Disagreement?

  • One personal attribute that may influence your adoption of HxA principles is intellectual humility. According to Mark Leary, Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University, intellectual humility is “the recognition that the things you believe in might in fact be wrong”.

Read Brian Resnick’s article on Vox about INTELLECTUAL HUMILITY in the sciences here.

How do I become and active supporter of heterodox principles?