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November 11 & 12, Intellectual Humility and Public Deliberation Workshop

Although not stated using the particular phrase, something like intellectual humility in public discourse appears to be one of the foundational aspects of deliberative theory. For example, Rawls’s concept of the fact of reasonable pluralism, Habermas’s theory of testing validity claims, and even Fishkin’s call for a more reflective public opinion all rely upon the basic assumption that citizens accept that they and those like them might not be correct in their beliefs or preferences. Citizens must, at least eventually, be open to the possible influence of others with whom they disagree; without this possibility, it would be hard to call the democracy deliberative. This workshop will bring together leading scholars and promising new researchers from philosophy, political theory, and political science to discuss topics at the intersection of intellectual humility, public reason, and deliberation. Topics include the place and nature of intellectual humility in public discourse, the possible determinants that mitigate against or encourage its presence (e.g. open‑mindedness, tolerance, and empathy); and the ways in which intellectual humility arises in actual public discourses and practices of deliberation.

Information about speakers and talk abstracts can be found here.

The full schedule of activities can be found here.

Register for the event here.

November 10, 2016: Alexander Heffner, PBS. “Picking Up the Pieces”

Alexander Heffner DebatePlease Join us for a Livestream today 11.10.2016 at 7:00 PM ET.

What will politics look like in the United States after the tumultuous 2016 election? On November 10, 2016, Humility and Conviction in Public Life will host Alexander Heffner, Host of PBS’s The Open Mind and a discussion on “Picking up the Pieces” of U.S. political discourse. “Humility and conviction are indeed the path forward if we are going to break through the cycle of incivility in American politics that has defined our 2016 presidential campaign, I am delighted to join the UConn community just days after we vote…to reflect on this unprecedented election, and to consider a vision for more civil American democracy.”

Heffner will be joined by UConn professor of political science Evelyn Simien and UConn professor of history, Micki McElya. Professor Simien’s most recent book, Historic Firsts: How Symbolic Empowerment Changes U.S. Politics, was published by Oxford University Press in 2015 and considers the historic firsts in American politics, including President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Published earlier this year by Harvard University Press, Professor McElya’s most recent book, The Politics of Mourning: Death and Honor in Arlington National Cemetery, examines the larger political and cultural implications of the history of Arlington National Cemetery. The discussion will be hosted by Michael Lynch, a professor of philosophy, the director of the UConn Humanities Institute, and the Principal Investigator of ‘Humility and Conviction in Public Life’ project which was the recent recipient of $6 million in grant funding from the John Templeton Foundation. He is the author of the recent book, The Internet of Us: Knowing More and Understanding Less in the Age of Big Data.

Director of UConn Humanities Institute Michael Lynch, explores the dangerous insecurity of American Exceptionalism.

The Danger of ‘American Exceptionalism’

The siren call of American exceptionalism ends up encouraging only demagoguery.

By Michael P. Lynch | Contributor

Aug. 14, 2016, at 7:00 a.m.

Over the last month, there has been a steady drumbeat of talk about America’s “greatness” – whether it was making it great again (Donald Trump) or already being the greatest country on Earth (the Obamas and Hillary Clinton). Yet what does it really mean to say America is “great” – now or in the future? Not surprisingly, it depends whom you ask: their politics, their views on the health of the economy and so on. But differences on the meaning of “greatness” go deeper as well and often concern a single idea that is of increasing national importance: American Exceptionalism. read more