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Arizona State University: Is the Goal of the University to Pursue Knowledge or Social Justice?

April 13, 2022 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Arboretum - Arizona State University

On April 13, 2022, the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University, a JMC partner program, will host faculty partner John Tomasi, inaugural president of Heterodox Academy, to discuss trends in higher education:

For over a thousand years, the traditional purpose of a university has been the pursuit of truth, and universities have focused on the discovery and dissemination of knowledge. But in recent decades, as academic institutions became more inclusive, many universities seem to have adopted a different mission: the achievement of social justice. Which goal should universities pursue and how do these two different purposes relate to each other? 

Join us for a necessary and thought-provoking discussion about the role of higher ed institutions today, and how these different expectations cause conflicts on campus and beyond. 

In this lecture, John Tomasi, inaugural president of Heterodox Academy (HxA), will discuss how this shift affects the organizational structures of universities, including student orientation programs, codes of conduct, faculty hiring and promotion criteria, and more.

The event is part of the Civic Discourse Project, a series of lectures with some of the country’s most respected intellectuals and leaders. This year, the theme of the program is “Renewing America’s Civic Compact.” The program is co-sponsored by the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. Supported by the Jack Miller Center.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022 • 5:00 PM
Turquoise Room, Memorial Union 220 • Arizona State University

Also available online, free and open to the public.

Click here to learn more and attend >>



John Tomasi is the inaugural president of Heterodox Academy (HxA). Before joining HxA he held the position of Romeo Elton 1843 Professor of Natural Theology at Brown University, where he taught and wrote about political theory and public policy and was twice recognized for excellence in undergraduate teaching. At Brown, he founded and directed the Political Theory Project, an independent research center that supports scholarship and encourages political dialogue on campus.

Tomasi is the author of Liberalism Beyond Justice: Citizens, Society and the Boundaries of Political Theory (Princeton University Press, 2001) and Free Market Fairness (Princeton University Press, 2012), in addition to numerous scholarly articles. He did his graduate work in political philosophy at the University of Arizona (M.A.) and Oxford University (B.Phil., D.Phil.) and has held positions at the University Center for Human Values at Princeton, the Department of Philosophy at Stanford, and the Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard. He currently holds an appointment at the University of Arizona’s Center for the Philosophy of Freedom where he is a University Associate and Research Professor.

Learn more about John Tomasi >>



The School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University seeks to introduce a new level of debate over the large questions of life that always arise. These are questions of value: What is the best form of government? The most efficient and just economy? The good life for an individual? And also basic questions of fact and concept: Is science the only kind of knowledge? Does history have a direction and purpose? Is moral choice a fact or delusion? These questions do not have easy answers, and indeed the questions have always been clearer than the answers. As a learning community of faculty and students, the school approaches them in two ways. One way is to look beyond the time and borders of our present society to the great thinkers who have contended for the high status of teachers of humanity, such as Homer, Dante and Shakespeare. The other way of studying the fundamental questions is to look within to American leaders, both intellectual and political, who have inspired us.

Learn more about the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership >>



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