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Finding the Law of One’s Own Freedom: Negative and Positive Freedom in the Fairhaven College Community

Finding the Law of One’s Own Freedom: Negative and Positive Freedom in the Fairhaven College Community

FairhavenCollege-mainbuilding_webThis “manifesto” was written in 1970 (?) when I was just home from service in Germany with NATO and had enrolled in Fairhaven College which at the time was just a couple of years old.  Its curriculum, policies and procedures were still under construction.  For those of us who were students this was a chaotic circumstance under which to experience our first real freedom: we had to conduct independent research and design our own majors without any real models yet in place.  During the year, in meeting after meeting, the students, faculty and staff tried to hammer out rules for this emerging learning community. But we seemed to be spinning our wheels.


I typed this “manifesto” on mimeograph paper and wrote it under the pseudonym, Henry Burlingame (because I was currently reading John Barth’s The Sot Weed Factor and intended to become a philosopher and poet just like the protagonist of the novel, Henry Burlingame).  Late at night I slipped copies of the essay into everyone’s mailboxes up on the third floor of “the big house.” … Continue Reading

Come Together, Right Now, Over This

Education, Philosophy Comments Off on Come Together, Right Now, Over This
  • seminar_class_outside_web

Here’s something to celebrate, even in these hard times.  Fairhaven College (of Western Washington University) is graduating its 40th class of students this spring, in June.  The college family and all its friends are marking this anniversary May 14th and 15th (2010) on campus.  Alums will gather from all over the continent, even from overseas, to honor this vital and intimate institution that nurtures their values and careers.   Even those who are not graduates of Fairhaven relish its accomplishments and honor its contributions to our community.

Fairhaven graduates, now scattered around the globe, have not only distinguished themselves as doctors and lawyers, scientists and scholars, artists, writers, and musicians, as social workers and activists, teachers, midwives, and farmers; they have also become exemplary neighbors and citizens, life partners and parents.  They have learned not just how to earn a good living, but how to lead a good life. … Continue Reading

What is a Liberal Education?

Education, Philosophy Comments Off on What is a Liberal Education?

In The College Curriculum: a reader, ed. by Joseph DeVitis, 2013, Peter Lang: New York, Berlin, Oxford, pp. 7-13

ISBN 978-1-4331-1789-3

Roger William Gilman, Dean of Fairhaven College                                                    

Western Washington University

In my role as academic dean of a college offering students a ‘liberal education,’ I am often asked by new students what this means.  What is a liberal education?

Our students are not alone; most people asking this question are genuinely puzzled by its meaning; and I find that the few who do have some ideas about the nature and purpose of a liberal education often hold misconceptions.  It’s not just our students who want to know: potential employers of our students, donors to the university, state legislators, trustees, and even colleagues in our colleges sometimes wonder about the nature, purpose, and value of liberal education. … Continue Reading

A Sociobiological Explanation of Strategies Of Reading and Writing Philosophy

Essays, Philosophy Comments Off on A Sociobiological Explanation of Strategies Of Reading and Writing Philosophy

semiahmoo-resortThe Philosophical Forum, Vol. 21, No. 3 (Spring) 1990, pp. 295-323

A disciple is just a gene’s way of making another philosopher in its own image.

                                                                                                                       A Variation on an Old Theme by Herbert Simon

By writing and reading – just as by speaking and listening – we seek encouragement, appreciation, respect, and assistance; we test and refine our self-image, reveal desire, anxiety, and disappointment; we negotiate our daily lives.  Performing the linguistic acts of writing and reading (or speaking and listening) is the distinctive mode of survival invented by homo sapiens.  Yet “analytic philosophers” working in the “plain style” have actively avoided the social and psychological concerns these actions suggest – relegating them to the realm of “expressive discourse” and “emotional appeal” or placing them outside the study of philosophical reading and writing entirely. … Continue Reading

Experiments in Ethics, by Kwame Anthony Appiah

Essays, Philosophy Comments Off on Experiments in Ethics, by Kwame Anthony Appiah

Kwame2Book Note: by Roger Gilman
Experiments in Ethics, by Kwame Anthony Appiah;
Harvard University Press, 2008; $22.95
ISBN 10: 0-674-02609-8 Journal of the American Academy of Religion

In Experiments in Ethics, Anthony Appiah, a Princeton University Professor of Philosophy and currently the President of the American Philosophical Association, explores how the new empirical moral psychology relates to the age-old project of philosophical ethics. In recent years, new work by scientists of human nature, what used to be called “the moral sciences” – including experimental and cognitive psychologists, neuroscientists, evolutionary theorists, and behavioral economics – have explored the way we arrive at moral judgments. They have called into question commonplaces about character and they offer, what some regard as “troubling” explanations for various moral intuitions. Can such research tell us what we should do?


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