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Open Access 1. Controversial Speakers, Moral Disagreements, and the Middlebury Moment

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Abstract

Student protests have developed on campuses throughout the country in response to controversial speakers. Overwhelmingly, these protests have been framed as conflicts over the right to free speech and the importance of free inquiry on college campuses. This essay reframes conflicts like these as moral disagreements over the role of individuals and institutions in producing and disseminating knowledge that supports or undermines justice within a pluralistic, democratic society. Using the specific case of Charles Murray’s visit to Middlebury College in spring 2017 and drawing insight from social moral epistemology, the essay aims to clarify the moral concerns at stake in clashes over controversial speakers and to identify possibilities to advance the moral aims of institutions of higher education in response to such events.
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Keywords: Botany; Controversies; Historical linguistics; Latin etymologies; Semitic loanwords in antiquity; Zoonyms

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2019

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  • Philosophy and Theory in Higher Education is an international refereed scholarly journal committed to advancing understanding of the role(s) and purpose(s) of higher education. The journal strives to be inclusive in scope, addressing topics and issues of significance to a wide range of scholars and practitioners concerned with the relationship between higher education and society. Rigorous submissions informed by diverse philosophical and theoretical orientations, including, but not limited to, critical theory, existentialism, feminism, queer theory, post-colonialism, Marxism, liberalism, poststructuralism, postmodernism, and posthumanism will be welcomed. PTIHE aims to stimulate critical analyses of policy and practice in higher education, with an emphasis on inter-disciplinarity and international perspectives. The content will be primarily philosophical and theoretically-based research papers. Analytical papers that reflect on empirical projects will also be featured in the journal. Short responses to previous articles as well as essay reviews of new works in the field will be considered to promote ongoing critical dialogue within the journal. Proposals for special issues, with thematically linked papers, are encouraged.
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