Harvard Educational Review
  1. Spring 2019 Issue »

    Navigating Campus Controversies

    Seeking Truth, Respecting Speech, and Cultivating Intellectual Fairness in Higher Education

    Rebecca M. Taylor and Ashley Floyd Kuntz
    In this essay, Rebecca M. Taylor and Ashley Floyd Kuntz explore the higher education aims of advancing truth, respecting speech, and fostering inclusive learning environments in the context of controversial invited speakers on college campuses. They consider the case of Charles Murray’s visit to Middlebury College in 2017. They argue that intellectual fairness—which centers the importance of pursuing truth, combating bias, and supporting the intellectual development of members of the academic community—is an appropriate guiding virtue when navigating the intellectual and democratic aims of higher education. They look to advance intellectual fairness as a normative framework for understanding the aims and responsibilities of higher education institutions.

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    Rebecca M. Taylor is a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Ethics at Emory University, where she investigates the ethical foundations of education, directs an ethical leadership program for undergraduates, and teaches community-engaged courses. Her research explores philosophical and empirical questions regarding the intellectual and ethical aims of education, bringing foundational, normative inquiry into dialogue with dilemmas in educational policy and practice. Taylor’s work has appeared in journals, including Educational Theory, Journal of Philosophy of Education, Democracy and Education, and Educational Philosophy and Theory.

    Ashley Floyd Kuntz is an assistant professor in the Department of Human Studies at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Having spent the last decade teaching and mentoring undergraduate honors students, she focuses her scholarship largely on college student development. She is particularly interested in the development of moral and civic capacities during the collegiate years and the ways in which colleges can foster such development. She credits her work in the philosophy of education to a graduate fellowship from the Spencer Foundation that continues to impact her thinking and writing.
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