Cornel West and Robert George to discuss free speech at ASU

Robert George and Cornel West hugging

Sameer A. Kahn/Fotobuddy

Truth Seeking and Freedom of Expression: A Dialogue


Robert P. George and Cornel West will join Arizona State University’s School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, a JMC partner program, to discuss the importance of open dialogue in pursuit of civil discussion and the serious and respectful exchange of ideas, on university campuses and in American society. The event is co-sponsored by the Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. It is the first 2018 event in the series: “Free Speech and Intellectual Diversity in Higher Education and American Society.”

Friday, January 26, 2018 • 5:00PM-6:15PM
New Student Pavilion, Senita Ballroom • Arizona State University

Professors West and George issued a public statement, “Truth Seeking, Democracy, and Freedom of Thought and Expression” on March 14, 2017 explaining the indispensable role that open dialogue plays on college campuses and democracies. In the statements, Professors West and George explain that protecting the freedom of speech creates opportunities for people with wrong beliefs to be corrected and people with right beliefs to strengthen their understanding of the truth. Freedom of speech is a topic of importance to the Jack Miller Center as well. JMC selected freedom of speech as the theme of this year’s Constitution Day. As part of the effort to bring attention to this theme and its place in the Constitution, JMC has launched an online resource center that explores the history, law, and theory of free speech and includes an extensive entry on Freedom of Speech on Campus. All of the Constitution Day events sponsored by the JMC this year involved freedom speech, and several addressed issues of speech on campus.


Cornel West is a prominent and provocative democratic intellectual. He is Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University and holds the title of Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. He has also taught at Union Theological Seminary, Yale, Harvard, and the University of Paris. Cornel West graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy at Princeton.

He has written 20 books and has edited 13. He is best known for his classics, Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and for his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. His most recent book, Black Prophetic Fire, offers an unflinching look at nineteenth and twentieth-century African American leaders and their visionary legacies.

>>Click here to learn more about Cornel West.


Professor George holds Princeton’s celebrated McCormick Chair in Jurisprudence and is the founding director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions. He served as chairman of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), and before that on the President’s Council on Bioethics and as a presidential appointee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights. He also served as the U.S. member of UNESCO’s World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST). He is a former Judicial Fellow at the Supreme Court of the United States, where he received the Justice Tom C. Clark Award.

He is the author of In Defense of Natural Law; Making Men Moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality; The Clash of Orthodoxies: Law, Religion and Morality in Crisis; Conscience and Its Enemies: Confronting the Dogmas of Liberal Secularism; and co-author of Embryo: A Defense of Human Life; Body-Self Dualism in Contemporary Ethics and Politics; What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense; and Conjugal Union: What Marriage Is and Why It Matters. His scholarly articles and reviews have appeared in such journals as the Harvard Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, the Columbia Law Review, the American Journal of Jurisprudence, and the Review of Politics.

>>Click here to learn more about Robert George.


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