Political Bias in Philosophy and Why it Matters

Spencer Case

Superfluous political examples in philosophy texts show political bias that harms the discipline, scholars, and students. 

The Cheap Moral Indignation of Bowdoin College

Michael Toscano

A highly ranked elite liberal arts college chastises students for dressing up as American Indians at Thanksgiving, while at the same time encouraging rampant immorality as part of campus culture.

Revisiting the Classics: Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics

Mitchell Langbert

NAS is calling upon readers to submit reflections on old books. Professor Mitchell Langbert discusses how Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics offers value for students that a modern text cannot provide.

An Open Letter to Penn State Employees

Matthew Woessner

Professor Matthew Woessner of Penn State calls for civil resistance to the university's new health-care requirements.

Prager U: If Good and Evil Exist, God Exists

Jason Fertig

What is the basis for moral good and evil?

Business (Ethics) as Usual

Jason Fertig

Textbooks tend to take a superficial and often anti-market approach.

Video: J. Budziszewski on a Primer on Natural Law

Professor J. Budziszewski discusses classical Natural Law with Inside Academia's Andy Nash.

Reengineering Ethics Education

Jason Fertig

Teaching "ethics" won't prevent the next Enron; ethics can only be taught indirectly, argues Jason Fertig.

Give Students the Gift of Ethics

Douglas Campbell

Adhering to a set of ethical standards is our greatest expression of human freedom and individuality, writes Douglas Campbell.

Can We Teach Someone to Be Ethical?

Nicholas Capaldi

Nicholas Capaldi outlines four ways of persuading someone to do the right thing.

Teaching Ethics: A View from the Trenches

Nathan Tierney

Nathan Tierney offers principles and practical advice, including arguments against ethical relativism, for teaching ethics in a college classroom today.

For Goodness Sake: Sustainability Ponders Ethics

Ashley Thorne

“Being sustainable has become more-or-less synonymous with being good,” two professors write. But even sustainability can be either virtuous or vulgar, depending on your motive.

Going Green is Part of Social Integrity? No Comment

Ashley Thorne

"An Honor Code must link social integrity with ecological sustainability," says a student. Is that really so?

The Global Warming Debate, Peer Review and University Science

Mitchell Langbert

Dr. Tim Ball has written an article in the November 21 Canada Free Press in which he calls leading climatologists "frauds."  He bases this  on computer-based information obtained by someone who hacked into the East Anglia Climatic Research Unit server. The pro-anthropogenic climate change media, such as Associated Press and the Washington Post, emphasize the ethical issues associated with the hacking of the computers but downplay the implications for the credibility of  pro-anthropogenic academics.  The damage seems to be more serious than the Post yet admits. In his Canada Free Press article Ball raises questions not only about the credibility of climatological research but of the academic peer review process generally.  Given widespread public interest in this topic, increased  public scrutiny of peer review and of university research may be a collateral effect of the scandal. Concerning the peer review process generally Ball writes:

I was always suspicious about why peer review was such a big deal. Now all my suspicions are confirmed. The emails reveal how they controlled the process, including manipulating some of the major journals like Science and Nature. We know the editor of the Journal of Climate, Andrew Weaver, was one of the “community”. They organized lists of reviewers when required making sure they gave the editor only favorable names. They threatened to isolate and marginalize one editor who they believed was recalcitrant.

We may ask whether this kind of bias exists elsewhere in universities. If climate change has been politicized, what about studies like labor relations, law, sociology and economics?

Teaching Can Be Dangerous

Ashley Thorne

Cross-posted from NAS.org, "An Unsuccessful Education Can Ruin You": The Chronicle of Higher Education has an article, "Course Reminds Budding Ph.D.'s of the Damage They Can Do," about a seminar taught at the CUNY Graduate Center on the ethics of teaching. Steven M. Cahn teaches the class, and he seeks to dispel the notion that all education is innocuous:

"People often think that education works either to improve you or to leave you as you were," Mr. Cahn says. "But that's not right. An unsuccessful education can ruin you. It can kill your interest in a topic. It can make you a less-good thinker. It can leave you less open to rational argument. So we do good and bad as teachers—it's not just good or nothing."

Cahn discusses with his small class the meaning of academic freedom ("How free should instructors be to proclaim their beliefs in the classroom? And how sensitive should they be to their students' personal commitments?") and the question of university neutrality ("Do colleges have an institutional duty to stay out of certain public debates? Or is that kind of neutrality actually undesirable or impossible?"). His students enjoy tackling these issues; as future professors, the subjects they consider in Cahn's seminar will soon become very real for them. This course covers the very same fundamental higher education debates in which the National Association of Scholars has found a voice for the last twenty-two years. These are conversations well worth having - they ponder "What does it mean to be a university of integrity?" The existence of the CUNY seminar is encouraging. Now if only all faculty members and administrators took this course, perhaps we'd have a better foundation for teaching the next generation.

Secrets, Secrets Are No Fun

Ashley Thorne

The college-driven trend to divulge says something about higher education's vision of itself as therapeutic.

Unbuttoned in Illinois

Peter Wood

The University of Illinois has issued a strange notice concerning its employees' buttons and bumper stickers.

Miscarriage of Academic Freedom?

Ashley Thorne

A Yale student's senior project raises questions about higher education's approach to art.

The Study Abroad Scandal, Round Two Harvard, Yale, Columbia among 25 Universities Investigated

The fleet of college and university programs that ferry students across the ocean to study abroad has hit stormy weather, at least in the Northeast. New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has unleashed a second wave of subpoenas aimed at colleges he suspects of exploiting their students.