News

Chad Kautzer on Gun Culture

In a recent interview that was featured on the Inside Lehigh home page, Associate Professor Chad Kautzer discusses North American gun culture, its connection with fundamental values such as security, freedom, and rights, and with racial and gender social identities, as well as guns on campus, the recent expansion of gun rights, the politicization of gun culture, and prospects for prodiuctive engagement with gun-related issues. Professor Kautzer's current book project, Good Guys with Guns: Whiteness, Masculinity, and the New Politics of Sovereignty, analyzes aspects of American gun culture related to race, gender and the law.

Senior majors awarded Honors

The Department of Philosophy awarded Honors in Philosophy in May to senior majors Juliana Clifton, '17, and Alec McConnell, '17. Departmental honors in philosophy are awarded to graduating seniors who satisfy the following two criteria: (a) at the start of their final semester, their overall GPA is 3.25 or higher and their GPA in philosophy is 3.5 or higher, and (b) their senior thesis receives an A from the thesis advisor and then is judged by the whole department faculty to be well-researched, well-argued, well-organized, well-written, and to exhibit original philosophical thinking.

Juliana, who was a double major in Philosophy and Earth and Environmental Science, wrote her senior thesis, which was supervised by  Professor Roslyn Weiss, on "Respect for Nature: Seeing Nature as Intrinsically Valuable."  Alec's thesis on "What is a Good Working Life?", which was supervised by Professor Robin Dillon, combined issues from his two majors, Philosophy and Economics.

Juliana was also the '16-'17 President of the Lehigh Alpha Beta chapter of Phi Sigma Tau, the international Philosophy Honor Society; Alec was the '16-'17 PST Vice President.

Mark Bickhard on scary political parallels

Professor Mark Bickhard, who had been reading biographies of Mussolini during the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, recently published as essay on "Scary Parallels Between Trump and Mussolini." The essay can be accessed here

While acknowledging differences in historical circumstances, Professor Bickhard focuses on comparing Trump and Mussolini in terms of character and style, and finds the similarities frighteningly strong, which, he maintains, gives some guidance concerning future concerns. This comparison is based primarily on quotations from Mussolini by R.J.B. Bosworth (Bloomsbury, 2010) and from Giuseppe Finaldi's Mussolini and Italian Fascism (Routledge, 2008). Bickhard notes that both books were published years before similarities between Trump and Mussolini became politically relevant, and, thus, were not written with Trump in mind. Bickard's comparison focuses in particular on similarities regarding arrogant ignorance and incoherence, nepotism, pervasive contempt, and the exploitation of ultra-nationalism/alt-right movements. The essay ends with attention to Trump's attacks on central institutions of American democracy--the judiciary, the press, and moves to undermine and take over the institutions of public safety--as “enemies of the people,” which Bickhard notes "has a horrible and horribly dangerous historical background." The scary paralles lead Bickhard to conclude that "We live in dangerous times."