Monthly Archives: January 2014

what happens if EU members overturn their democracies?

I’ve had several moving conversations recently with democratic reformers from southeastern Europe. They are near despair about their respective countries. Instead of quoting their confidential assessments, I’ll cite this summary by Tamas Dezso Czigler of LSE: I have previously written … Continue reading

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Democracy in schools: Albert Dzur talks with principal Donnan Stoicovy

Albert Dzur is breaking ground in political theory by revealing how professionals who interact with laypeople can create valuable democratic practices. Democratic theory has generally been blind to the positive potential of work sites, and especially public sector sites such … Continue reading

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the president on citizenship: all rhetoric?

In all of his high-profile official speeches, President Obama makes sure to speak strongly and explicitly about active citizenship as the solution to our national problems. I like to highlight and analyze these passages because reporters always completely ignore them, … Continue reading

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mapping a class as a moral community

On the first day of the spring semester, I asked members of a small philosophy seminar to reflect on their own core moral ideas–meaning not only their abstract principles but also their concrete commitments and role models–and how those interconnect. … Continue reading

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racial pluralism in schools reduces discussion of politics, and what to do about that

Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg and I have published a new article in Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy entitled “Diversity in Classrooms: The Relationship between Deliberative and Associative Opportunities in School and Later Electoral Engagement.”  Using a new survey conducted in … Continue reading

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horizon as a metaphor for culture

(Chicago) The philosophers Edmund Husserl, Hans-Georg Gadamer, and Jürgen Habermas use the metaphor of a horizon to describe the background or framework of experience. Without addressing thorny questions of interpretation involving these three disparate and difficult authors, I’d like to … Continue reading

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big data comes to the social sciences

Gary King, director of Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science, has written a manifesto entitled Restructuring the Social Sciences. I have mixed feelings about it, but it’s a useful statement of influential trends in academia. King begins: The social sciences … Continue reading

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when east and west were one

(Washington, DC) I am highly skeptical of distinctions between “eastern” and “western” thought, considering the enormous diversity within both domains, the thousands of years of interaction between the two, and the arbitrariness of any border. (Why, for example, should a … Continue reading

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50 Core American Documents

I was a little amused to receive a letter that began, “As a leader in the Conservative Movement, you know that ideas matter.” The letter continued, “At Ashbrook we teach young Americans about the big ideas that define America by … Continue reading

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programs for poor people are poor programs

Georgetown Law professor David A. Super argues that the technical problems with the Obamacare website are unusual mainly in their mildness and the degree to which they have been rapidly addressed. Obamacare was heavily scrutinized because of the political stakes … Continue reading

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