Scott Samuelson contributed a nice essay to CHE today, but I think it’s behind a paywall. Like lots of CHE personal essays, this one has a little more personal stuff than is perhaps interesting, but Samuelson seems to be a young writer, and much about the essay is good-hearted and rings utterly true:
I never fully understood Kant until a student of mine, a mother who had to authorize a risky surgery for her son that led to his death, asked me in tears if Kant was right that the consequences of an action play no role in its moral worth. I never fully understood Stoicism until a student of mine who’d been sexually abused as a child explained to me how she’d deduced the same principles as Epictetus to transcend her suffering and find happiness. John Locke always seemed a little boring to me until a Sudanese refugee asked me tremblingly if we could study his arguments for religious freedom.
Ideas have consequence, ideas fuel the soul, and all of us need them. I am looking forward to Samuelson’s book, which is out from UChicago this year, called the Deepest Human Life: An Introduction for Philosophy for Everyone.
Oh, and BTW, a subscription to the Chron is a nice gift for your local pointy-head academic. Not affiliated, just an idea.