Philosophy@Utah State

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Closing the American mind, 30 years later

In anticipation of the “Snowflakes” discussion on Thursday, here is an insightful essay on the legacy of Allan Bloom’s 1987 The Closing of the American Mind. An excerpt:

For a democracy to thrive, talented youngsters had to be exposed to a philosophical education that allowed them to transcend the “bourgeois vulgarity” of their surroundings, and to devote themselves to something other than mere self-advancement. If American society could not ensure this, it risked descending into rule by elites who were no better than the uneducated mob, and for this reason perhaps far more dangerous (such was apparently his assessment of the graduates of MBA programs). As a result, Bloom believed that a “crisis of liberal education” would amount to nothing less than “the crisis of our civilization.”


Panel discussion THURSDAY: Are students snowflakes?

DQmbemu1Wx7EadWkPC8C4bg6oe2BYEhi1RFHrBctFMhmW2FErica Holberg, Charlie Huenemann, and Harrison Kleiner will be presenting. The basic question has to do with the tension between the value we place on free speech on college campuses and the interest we have in defending campuses (and students) against speech whose primary aim is to incite hatred and division. Thursday, 11/30, 4 p.m., HH 322, all are welcome!

Truth panel TODAY!

“Truth and Lies” – panel discussion featuring Cathy Bullock, Jason Gilmore, Melissa Tehee, and Jennifer Peeples. Moderated by Tammy Proctor. TODAY, 5-6:30 p.m., Eccles conference Center Auditorium

Ethics Bowl result

If you see Taylor Wyatt, Justin Campbell, Dylan Ring, Adam Tak, Catherina Aust, Emerson Isaac, or Megan Behan around, give them a high-five for their hard work and performance in the regional Ethics Bowl. competition was very tight this year – the differences in points for teams were very narrow. Our teams weren’t selected for nationals this year, but they did very well. Congratulations to all!


Team members, coach, and judges from USU

Ethics Bowl Saturday! Call for moderators

The regional Ethics Bowl will be on our campus this Saturday. Anyone is welcome to attend and watch teams from around the region compete in providing the most sensible approaches to difficult and interesting moral problems. All sessions will be in Huntsman Hall, running from 8:30-4:30.

Students are eligible (and warmly encouraged!) to serve as moderators for sessions. You need only be able to follow a timer. If you are interested in participating, please send me a note –

Visiting Lecturer on Reformation History

Peter Marshall, a leading scholar of Reformation history, will be presenting a lecture on this Thursday, November 9th, 7 p.m., in the TSC Auditorium. The title is “1517: Martin Luther and the Invention of the Reformation.”

Philosophy students get-together

Are you interested in being a philosophy major? Or interested in learning why, in your double major, philosophy should be your first major? Are you interested in what this “Senior Thesis” business is all about? Are you interested in FREE PIZZA?

Then please come to our meeting this Wednesday, November 1st, at 4 p.m., in Main 304!