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Essays in Philosophy

Volume 21, Issue 1/2, January/July 2020

Activism and Philosophy

Eric Thomas Weber
Pages 29-45

The Pragmatist’s Call to Democratic Activism in Higher Education

This essay defends the Pragmatist’s call to activism in higher education, understanding it as a necessary development of good democratic inquiry. Some criticisms of activism have merit, but I distinguish crass or uncritical activism from judicious activism. I then argue that judicious activism in higher education and in philosophy is not only defensible, but both called for implicitly in the task of democratic education as well as an aspect of what John Dewey has articulated as the supreme intellectual obligation, namely to ensure that inquiry is put to use for the benefit of life.

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