In this week’s Pope Center Clarion Call, Chapman University professor Richard Redding writes about a remarkable article that is forthcoming in the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences.
The article, to which a link is included, is by six social psychologists whose political philosophies are all over the map. What unites them is their conviction that their discipline suffers as a science because the range of opinion that is now deemed acceptable has shrunk to the point where it’s extremely hard for any point of view that’s different from conventional leftism to get a hearing. Redding shares that conviction and encourages scholars to consider the likelihood that no science can advance if unconventional ideas are ruled out of bounds.
Among the authors of the article is NYU’s Jonathan Haidt, who has been declared an outcast by such writers as Paul Krugman for having the audacity to say that conservative/libertarian ideas need to be considered, not ridiculed.
Redding and the article authors argue that if academic fields feel that they must have demographic diversity, they should be at least as adamant on philosophical and viewpoint diversity. Unfortunately, while academic departments bend over backwards to say they welcome women and minorities, they often act in ways that repel students of any background who don’t agree with “progressive” ideas about economic and social policy. Until those who dominate in social psychology see what they’re doing in that regard, the field will suffer.