Thursday, October 26, 2017

"Truth Seeking, Democracy, and Freedom of Thought"

Democracy and freedom of thought: An interview with Dr. Cornel West and Dr. Robert George
Dr. Robert George and Dr. Cornel West, high-profile scholars from opposite ends of the political spectrum, published a statement in support of truth seeking, democracy and freedom of thought. Their statement ( begins, “The pursuit of knowledge and the maintenance of a free and democratic society require the cultivation and practice of the virtues of intellectual humility, openness of mind, and, above all, love of truth. These virtues will manifest themselves and be strengthened by one’s willingness to listen attentively and respectfully to intelligent people who challenge one’s beliefs and who represent causes one disagrees with and points of view one does not share.” To date, the statement has more than 5,000 signatories.

Dr. George and Dr. West have been described as an ideological odd couple. Robert George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, is one of the country’s leading conservative intellectuals. Dr. West, a professor of public philosophy and African and African-American studies at Harvard University, is a self-described “provocative democratic intellectual.”

Yet, despite their differences, they have been teaching a course together at Princeton for a decade. They do this, in part, to model the kind of integrity, openness of argument and love of truth that their students are going to need, not only in their education but also for the preservation of a free society.

In my interview with both of them, they modeled to me all of this and much more.


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