Students demand Plato, Descartes and other white philosophers be dropped from curriculum

Discussion in 'Religion and Philosophy' started by fuz al-nufi, Jan 9, 2017.

  1. fuz al-nufi Bar Regular

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    Students demand Plato, Descartes and other white philosophers be dropped from curriculum


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    Camilla Turner, The Telegraph 01.09.2017

    They are said to be the founding fathers of Western philosophy, whose ideas underpin civilized society.

    But students at a prestigious London university are demanding that such figures as Plato, Descartes and Immanuel Kant be largely dropped from the curriculum because they are white.

    The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)’s student union is insisting that when studying philosophy, “the majority of philosophers on our courses” should be from Africa and Asia.

    They say it is part of wider campaign to “decolonize” the university, as they seek to “address the structural and epistemological legacy of colonialism.”

    It comes after education leaders warned that all universities will be forced to pander to the demands of “snowflake” students, however unreasonable they might be.

    Under proposed reforms to higher education, the government wants to place student satisfaction at the heart of a new ranking system, but its critics fear could undermine academic integrity.

    Sir Roger Scruton, the philosopher, said the demands suggest “ignorance.” “You can’t rule out a whole area of intellectual endeavour without having investigated it, and clearly they haven’t investigated what they mean by white philosophy,” he told The Mail on Sunday.

    “If they think there is a colonial context from which Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason arose, I would like to hear it.’

    If they think there is a colonial context from which Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason arose, I would like to hear it

    The vice-chancellor of Buckingham University, Sir Anthony Seldon, added: “There is a real danger political correctness is getting out of control. We need to understand the world as it was and not to rewrite history as some might like it to have been.”

    The student union at SOAS, a leading centre for the study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East, states that “decolonizing” the university and “confronting the white institution” is one if its priorities for the academic year.

    It says that “white philosophers” should be studied only “if required,” adding that their work should be taught solely from a “critical standpoint.” “For example, acknowledging the colonial context in which so-called ‘Enlightenment’ philosophers wrote within,” it says.

    The head of SOAS’s Religions and Philosophies department, Erica Hunter, said the union’s viewpoint was “rather ridiculous,” adding: “I would firmly resist dropping philosophers or historians just because it was fashionable.”

    However, Dr. Deborah Johnston, an administrator at the university, said: “One of the great strengths of SOAS is that we have always looked at world issues from the perspective of the regions we study — Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

    “Informed and critical debate and discussion about the curriculum we teach is a healthy and proper part of the academic enterprise.”
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  2. Bluto Drunken lout

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