Search the Bulletin

Swarthmore’s Lacuna

It was interesting to hear Robert George talk about how much his students learned when he co-taught a course with Cornel West. Sadly, Swarthmore deprives its students of such an experience, because no professor publicly espouses a reasoned philosophy as different from the status quo as George’s. This remains a lacuna that the College should fill with men and women who will force students to question the beliefs and presuppositions that form the skeleton of everything else they believe—to question not just assumptions of race, privilege, and sexuality, but whether truth really is relative, whether there are natural laws written in the universe, or whether matter is the only discernable and knowable force in the world.

Intelligent men and women throughout history have debated these questions, from Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, and David Hume to Elizabeth Anscombe and Richard Rorty, but during my years at Swarthmore, no faculty member publicly offered radical alternatives to what most students and faculty members took for granted. Having such professors would give Swarthmore students the kind of experience that those at Amherst and Princeton have: a taste of real philosophical and metaphysical diversity, which only deepens one’s education.

Nathaniel Peters ’07
New York

Comments are closed.