The Achievement of Alasdair MacIntyre

Moral philosophers are caught in a peculiar paradox these days. On the one hand, their field is flourishing: No longer intimidated by the logical positivists (who denied truth to moral assertions except as expressions of likes and dislikes), thinkers as diverse as Iris Murdoch, Martha Nussbaum, and . . . . Continue Reading »

Liberalism vs. Religious Freedom

Religious Liberty in the Supreme Court: The Cases that Define the Debate over Church and State terry eastland november 1995, eerdmans, $31.50For all their concern about the rise of anti-democrats in post-Soviet Russia, when it comes to the decisive excellence of the American regime our . . . . Continue Reading »

A Peculiar Little Test

Every two or three years, at a small, elite New England university, I offer a graduate-level course on “Nature Writing.” The students, as you might guess, exhibit a keen interest in birds, blossoms, bugs, and bears. Despite shared tastes, the composition of the class is impressively diverse, a . . . . Continue Reading »

War in the Classroom

Battleground: One Mother's Crusade, The Religious Right, and the Struggle for Control of our Classrooms  by stephen bates  poseidon press, 365 pages, $24 The 1983 protest by a group of parents in Hawkins County, Tennessee, against certain stories and themes in the public school reading . . . . Continue Reading »

Education and the Mind Redeemed

I The early Church father Tertullian asked a famous question, one that has been asked again and again in the history of the Church, and that I would like to ask again: “What does Athens have to do with Jerusalem?” By Athens he means intellectual culture, the life of the mind, the study of . . . . Continue Reading »

Honor in the University

We live in a time when ethics has become big business: medical schools hire medical ethicists, business schools hire business ethicists. Congress has an ethics committee, and schools and universities are supposed to teach values. As a theologian trained in ethics, I suppose I should be happy about . . . . Continue Reading »

The Death of Religious Higher Education

From time to time, a set of concerns reaches something like a critical mass. Familiar discontents vaguely felt turn into more focused anxieties, and then, all of a sudden it seems, a passel of scholars arrives at a similar analysis of what has gone so thoroughly wrong—and some similar ideas of . . . . Continue Reading »

The Soul of the American University

Our subject is one of those peculiar phenomena taken for granted in the contemporary world but which from an historical perspective seem anomalous. The phenomenon is that the huge numbers of Protestants in the United States support almost no distinctively Christian program in higher education other . . . . Continue Reading »

Out of the Fire and Into the Frying Pan

Politics, Markets, & America’s Schools by john e. chubb and terry m. moe brookings institution, 336 pages, $28.95 Politics, Markets, & America’s Schools is an enlightening, albeit statistically overstuffed, study of achievement, organization, and the political context of schooling. The authors, . . . . Continue Reading »