‘There’s a greater problem here. This is a president who won’t proudly proclaim American exceptionalism, maybe the first president ever who truly doesn’t believe in that … Look at his foreign policy. Doesn’t believe [in] America as a force for good, it doesn’t seem. Seems like instead, he believes in multilateralism as a goal, not a tactic. He allows f ... More
On what terms should we interrogate the past? Ancient life can seem essentially unknowable, a place where everything is different, glimpsed only in the words of those who lived then and surviving traces of material culture.
The Cambridge classical scholar Sir Moses Finley argued for an interpretation of ancient life bounded by then current civic and religiou ... More
In a recent Prospect interview, distinguished Princeton and ANU scholar Philip Pettit described political philosophy as a conversation around various themes. Some voices focus on power or freedom, others on democracy or the nature of the state. The conversation should extend beyond the academy, argued Pettit, to embrace public intellectuals, journalists, comm ... More
Knowledge gained through academic life is no preparation for political practice. So found Michael Ignatieff, the distinguished Canadian historian and public intellectual. In October 2004 he was teaching at Harvard University when approached by ‘three men in black’. These Liberal Party power brokers suggested Ignatieff leave the classroom and run for office. F ... More
In a famous essay on poetry, English philosopher Michael Oakeshott evoked the metaphor of conversation to describe how people share and discuss ideas. A conversation, suggested Oakeshott, allows a continuous discussion between past and present, between the thought of earlier generations and the pressing needs of the present. A conversation is not a search for truth ... More
What happens if we take seriously the metaphor of a marketplace of ideas? Philosopher John Armstrong and economist Carsten Murawski recently tested that question in an article on theconversation.edu.au, by exploring the implications of a market logic for higher education (20 March 2012).They argued that student choice would remodel the teaching and research agendas ... More