The Stanford Business School is having an academic freedom conference on Friday, November 4, and Saturday, November 5 at the business school’s Knight Management Center at Stanford. The good news is there are a lot of people whom I want to meet, many of them of the “heterodox” stripe. Some of these people I find sympatico, others I don’t care for at all, but I like the idea of the meeting and want to hear some of these folks. Be aware that some speakers have been extensively canceled or demonized, but I refused to be tarred by going to the same meeting with them, so please refrain from that.
The bad news is that the meeting is by invitation only, and I don’t think those who aren’t speaking, or haven’t been invited, can attend. (I think this is the policy of the Classical Liberalism Initiative, which is sponsoring the conference.) I’ll be speaking as part of one panel.
Click on the screenshot to see the details:
The conference description:
Academic freedom, open inquiry, and freedom of speech are under threat as they have not been for decades. Visibly, academics are “canceled,” fired, or subject to lengthy disciplinary proceedings in response to academic writing or public engagement. Less visibly, funding agencies, university bureaucracies, hiring procedures, promotion committees, professional organizations, and journals censor some kinds of research or demand adherence to political causes. Many parts of universities have become politicized or have turned into ideological monocultures, excluding people, ideas, or kinds of work that challenge their orthodoxy. Younger researchers are afraid to speak and write and don’t investigate promising ideas that they fear will endanger their careers.
The two-day Academic Freedom Conference, arranged by the organizing committee, aims to identify ways to restore academic freedom, open inquiry, and freedom of speech and expression on campus and in the larger culture and restore the open debate required for new knowledge to flourish. The conference will focus on the organizational structures leading to censorship and stifling debate and how to repair them.
A summary of the events, which are sequential rather than concurrent
Talk by Jon Haidt, “Why it has gotten harder to find the truth.”
Panel: “Academic freedom in STEM” with Anna Krylov, Luana Maroja, Mimi St. Johns, and me
Keynote speech: Peter Thiel
Panel: “Academic freedom: practical solutions” with Richard Lowery, Dorian Abbot, John Hasnas, and Peter Arcidiacano
Lunch talk by Lee Jussim: “The radicalization of the academy”
Panel: “Are the humanities liberal?/How to liberate them” with Solveig Gold, Joseph Manson, John Rose
Panel: “The economics of academic freedom” with Niall Ferguson, John Cochrane, and Tyler Cowan
Panel: “The state of higher ed: USA, UK, Canada” with John Ellis, Gad Saad and Eric Kaurmann
Panel: “Academic freedom applications: climate science and biomedical sciences” with Steve Koonin, Bjorn Lomborg, and Jay Bhattacharya
Talk: “The war on the West”, Douglas Murray
Panel: “Academic freedom: What is it and what is it for?” with Greg Lukianoff, Nadine Strossman and Richard Shweder. I’m especially looking forward to this one, as Greg is President of FIRE, Nadine Strossen is past President of the ACLU (now a professor at NYU Law School), and Richard Shweder is my colleague at the Law School here.
Lunch talk by Scott Atlas
Talk by Steve Pinker: “An (unnecessary) defense of reason and a (necessary) defense of universities’ role in advancing it.
Panel: “Academic freedom in law and legal education” with Ilya Shapiro, Michael McConnell, an Eugene Volokh
Panel: “The cost of academic dissent” with Joshua Katz, Frances Widowson, Amy Wax, and Elizabeth Weiss
I’ll take notes and report back on stuff of interest when I return. (I’ll be out of town for about nine days, as I’m visiting friends in Davis beforehand; posting will be light during that time.)