Author Archives: Peter

About Peter

Associate Dean for Research and the Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts University's Tisch College of Civic Life. Concerned about civic education, civic engagement, and democratic reform in the United States and elsewhere.

becoming adults more slowly

A new paper by Jean Twenge and Heejung Park (2017) is getting a lot of coverage. The main finding is a delay in the onset of certain activities traditionally defined as “adult.” This graph shows the trends in having a … Continue reading

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religion and politics in the US versus many other countries

Here is a thesis that experts can evaluate better than I: The issue of religion in politics is fundamentally different in the US from many other countries. In the US, it is mainly about majority opinions versus minority rights. In … Continue reading

Posted in democratic reform overseas, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lifeworld and System: a primer

The great social theorist Jürgen Habermas has drawn attention–for more than half a century–to the problem that he calls the “colonization of the Lifeworld by System.” Here is my explanation, based mainly on a rare concrete example from his Theory of … Continue reading

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Democrats as technocrats

This web search takes you to a whole stack of good recent writing about the Democratic Party as the technocratic party, with headlines ranging from Twilight of the Technocrats? to The Triumph of the Technocrats. In lieu of a critical review, I’d pose … Continue reading

Posted in 2016 election, populism, revitalizing the left, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

no justice, no peace? (on the relationship between these concepts)

As a political philosopher, I’m trained to think about justice versus injustice. Both terms are controversial. It would be hard to find two people (even two who might share the label be labeled “social justice warriors”) who define “justice” exactly … Continue reading

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assessment criteria for participation in a seminar

Thinking that I should be explicit about how I define good participation in a seminar that I’m teaching, I circulated these eight criteria: Being responsive to other students. (Responsiveness needn’t always be immediate, verbal, or occur within the class discussion … Continue reading

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my fall philosophy class on the question: How should I live?

This introductory course will emphasize one of the great philosophical questions: “How should I live?” The readings will specifically consider whether truthfulness, happiness, and justice are important aspects of a good life, and how each should be defined. … Moral … Continue reading

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the Obama Foundation Fellowship

The Obama Foundation is recruiting their first cohort of Fellows. This inaugural class will have a special opportunity to shape the program for the future. The fellowship takes the form of four face-to-face gatherings over two years, plus a lot … Continue reading

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anxieties about American exceptionalism

In our century, a major fault line in US politics has been the question of “American exceptionalism,” meaning the unique excellence or mission of the USA–“the notion that America is freer and more democratic than any other nation, and for … Continue reading

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Glendalough

St Kevin had the gift of talking with beasts. It came naturally to him, a hermit, Living amongst them in his hollow tree In Glendalough, long vale of icy lakes. But just because he and they could converse Doesn’t mean … Continue reading

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