Intellectual Diversity and the Problem of Speaking Up
There have been a lot of debates here at the blog, and elsewhere, about the value of intellectual diversity in academia. The case for intellectual diversity is usually expressed in terms of the value of having different ideas. No one ideological perspective has a monopoly on the truth, the argument runs. You can get to better ideas, in general, by drawing insights from a range of different inputs. To borrow a metaphor, the marketplace of ideas produces better products when there’s competition.
There’s a lot to that, I think. But I’ve come to think that an under-appreciated benefit of intellectual diversity in academia is not so much the range of ideas felt as it is the range of ideas actually voiced. In my experience, at least, intellectual diversity makes it more likely that people will speak up. This is perhaps an under-appreciated corollary to the general case for having a broad range of inputs. To get those benefits, people need to be willing to say what they think. And my sense is that people are more willing to say what they think when they aren’t necessarily sharing the priors of the speaker, or at least believe some others
Article from Latest – Reason.com