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.

self help: a short story

Political prisoner K. was sentenced to solitary, with only cement walls, a cot, a stinking bucket, and a food slot for company. One day, on his way back from interrogation, he saw a tattered paperback on the floor. The guard … Continue reading

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why learn game theory? (a lesson plan that includes a game)

You may or may not be interested in games: playing them, designing them, or analyzing them with the tools of game theory. It is certainly understandable if games are not your thing. However, I believe that everyone should develop the … Continue reading

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nonviolent civic work under conditions of extreme violence

My Tufts colleague Anjuli N. Fahlberg, a sociologist, has done extraordinary work in Rio de Janeiro’s City of God. Despite a staggering level of violence in that neighborhood, the residents have created a wide array of impressive initiatives that offer … Continue reading

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churchgoing and Trump

The Democracy Fund’s Voter Study Group has released an important new paper by Emily Ekins entitled, “Religious Trump Voters: How Faith Moderates Attitudes about Immigration, Race, and Identity.” Ekins notes that Trump performed best in the 2016 GOP primaries among … Continue reading

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undergraduate Introduction to Civic Studies Course

PHIL-0020-01-Intro to Civic Studies at Tufts University (Fall 2018) Ioannis D. Evrigenis, Professor of Political Science Erin I. Kelly, Professor of Philosophy Peter Levine, Lincoln-Filene Professor and Academic Dean, Tisch College Civic Studies is an interdisciplinary field of study that … Continue reading

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V.S. Naipaul’s view of culture

I read a lot of Naipaul in my youth and see value in his work. But Ian Buruma’s obituary profile reminds me of the main way in which I disagreed with him. Naipaul believed there were “whole cultures”: comprehensive, harmonious, … Continue reading

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from classical liberalism to a civic perspective

Earlier this summer, I was in the van Mises Room in the Friedrich von Hayek Program in the James Buchanan Building at George Mason University, talking about my intellectual hero, Elinor Ostrom, who learned a great deal from Hayek and … Continue reading

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postmodernism and Trump

In the Washington Post, Colby College English professor Aaron Hanlon argues that postmodernist theorists didn’t inspire or prepare the way for Donald Trump and other politicians who openly disparage truth. Rather, postmodernists lamented a world in which propaganda and media … Continue reading

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issues in the philosophy of social science

Here is the outline of a course I’d like to take–or possibly design and teach some day: What is the social world? Is it, for example, a bunch of human individuals who interact? Perhaps not, since individuals’ identities and values … Continue reading

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new special issue of The Good Society on reintegrating facts, values, and strategies (open access)

Newly published–and free without a subscription through November — is The Good Society‘s Special Issue on Reintegrating Facts, Values, Strategies, vol. 26, no. 2-3 (2017). Guest edited by me. Table of Contents Editor’s Note (pp. iii-iv) – Trygve Throntveit Guest Editor’s Introduction: On … Continue reading

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