Controversial Speakers, Moral Disagreements, and the Middlebury Moment

Academic Article


  • Student protests have developed on campuses throughout the country in response to controversial speakers. Overwhelmingly, these protests have been framed as conflicts over the right to free speech and the importance of free inquiry on college campuses. This essay reframes conflicts like these as moral disagreements over the role of individuals and institutions in producing and disseminating knowledge that supports or undermines justice within a pluralistic, democratic society. Using the specific case of Charles Murray’s visit to Middlebury College in spring 2017 and drawing insight from social moral epistemology, the essay aims to clarify the moral concerns at stake in clashes over controversial speakers and to identify possibilities to advance the moral aims of institutions of higher education in response to such events.
  • Authors


  • controversial speakers, moral epistemology, cognitive bias, deliberative democracy, higher education
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Kuntz AF
  • Start Page

  • 1
  • End Page

  • 27
  • Volume

  • 1
  • Issue

  • 2