Thursday , November 22 2018
Home / Bleeding Hearths Libertarians / In Defense of Viewpoint Diversity

In Defense of Viewpoint Diversity

Summary:
I’ve got a new article up at Inside Higher Ed arguing that greater viewpoint diversity in academia would be good for both research and teaching. Here’s an excerpt: Viewpoint homogeneity is also a problem in the classroom, even if, as [University of Pennsylvania professor Sigal] Ben-Porath has noted, it is rarely the case that “other views are not presented or are silenced” or that “professors preach their political ideology in class.” John Stuart Mill argues that it is not enough that someone “should hear the arguments of adversaries from his own teachers, presented as they state them, and accompanied by what they offer as refutations. This is not the way to do justice to the arguments, or bring them into real contact with his own mind. He must be able to hear them from persons

Topics:
Christopher Freiman considers the following as important: ,

This could be interesting, too:

James Taylor writes Why the “Grievance Studies” Hoax Was Not Unethical. (But it’s not very interesting, either.)

Christopher Freiman writes The Complicated Case of Political Dissent and Higher Education

Christopher Freiman writes Unicorn Socialism

Roderick Long writes Reign of Fire

I’ve got a new article up at Inside Higher Ed arguing that greater viewpoint diversity in academia would be good for both research and teaching. Here’s an excerpt:

Viewpoint homogeneity is also a problem in the classroom, even if, as [University of Pennsylvania professor Sigal] Ben-Porath has noted, it is rarely the case that “other views are not presented or are silenced” or that “professors preach their political ideology in class.” John Stuart Mill argues that it is not enough that someone “should hear the arguments of adversaries from his own teachers, presented as they state them, and accompanied by what they offer as refutations. This is not the way to do justice to the arguments, or bring them into real contact with his own mind. He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them; who defend them in earnest, and do their very utmost for them.”

Empirical evidence substantiates Mill’s claim. To take one example, conservatives are better at spotting inconsistencies in claims made by liberals than by fellow conservatives, and vice versa. It’s clear how that tendency can undermine good-faith presentations of the ideas of the other side. Left-leaning instructors will more readily unearth the weaknesses of right-leaning arguments, just as right-leaning instructors will be more adept at poking holes in arguments from the left. So even if right-leaning authors appear on syllabi as frequently as left-leaning authors, students remain at risk of receiving an unbalanced presentation of the views.

Some of my other work on viewpoint diversity in academia can be found here and here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *