The book consists of sixteen essays (and an introduction) from prominent philosophers who are at odds with the predominant political trend(s) of academic philosophy, political trend(s) primarily associated with leftism. Some of these philosophers identify explicitly with the political right – an admittedly broad term which ranges from American conservative to British Tory, from religious right to non-religious right, from libertarian to authoritarian. Yet other dissident philosophers eschew the left/right dichotomy altogether while maintaining a firm political distance from the majority of their (left-leaning) colleagues. The primary goal of the volume is to represent a broad constituency of political philosophies and perspectives at variance with the prevailing political sentiments of the academy. Each essay is partly autobiographical in nature, detailing personal experiences that have influenced these philosophers throughout their lives, and partly philosophical, putting forth reflections on the intellectual viability of a right-leaning (or decidedly non-left leaning) political philosophy or some segment of it. The contemporary university is supposed to be the locus of viewpoint diversity, and yet as is evident to professors, students, and virtually anyone else who sets foot within its halls, it most certainly is not – particularly in matters political. Nevertheless, these essays are not instances of special-pleading or grievance incitement. Instead, each article provides a glimpse into the life of an academic philosopher whose views have largely been at odds with peers and colleagues. Furthermore, all of the essays were consciously constructed with the aim of being philosophically rigorous while eschewing technical language and verbose prose. In short, the essays will be enjoyable to a wide audience.
T. Allan Hillman is associate professor of philosophy at the University of South Alabama. His publications have appeared in Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy, Review of Metaphysics, and American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, among other venues.
Tully Borland is former associate professor of philosophy at Ouachita Baptist University. His recent published work has appeared in American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly and Philosophy & Theology.
1Introduction: Thoughtcrime Revealed
T. Allan Hillman and Tully Borland
2Up from Political Liberalism (But Not Entirely)
Francis J. Beckwith
3Don’t Throw Out Those Tin-Foil Hats Just Yet: A Libertarian Defense of Promulgating ‘Unwarranted’ Conspiracy Theories
John Bickle and Marica Bernstein
4Under the Copybook Headings: Rudyard Kipling’s Ethics of Civilization
5Academia: Hooligans at Play
6The Importance of Cultural Preservation
Rafael De Clercq
7Learning All the Wrong Lessons
8The Metaphysical Foundations of Conservatism
9Reflections of an Apostate
10Individualism and Rights: Libertarianism in Academia
11Correcting the Strawmen: Why Most Evangelical Christians Are Political Conservatives
12Left and Right: A Pox on Both their Houses
13Away from Omelas
14The Curious Case of the Double Dissident
15The Humbling of an Impatient Cosmopolitan
16From Democrat to Dissident
William F. Vallicella
17Better Somewhere than Anywhere
An interesting and at times fascinating glimpse into the thought of a group of heterodox intellectuals. In addition to the clear presentation of well-developed philosophical views that challenge left-wing orthodoxies, their personal experiences and reflections on what is involved in being a professional philosopher who dissents from those orthodoxies makes for compelling reading.
Together, the essays collected in Dissident Philosophers offer a fascinating and valuable glimpse into the lives and minds of marginalized thinkers. The contributors explore some of the social pressures that enforce official and unofficial orthodoxies, and give some indication of the interesting research proposals that aren’t being pursued as a result. This timely volume should give thoughtful readers of all political persuasions a lot to chew on, even if they can’t swallow everything.