a blog about philosophy in public affairs

Tag: academia

What’s really at stake with Open Access research? The Case of Sci-Hub and the “Robin Hood of Science”

A mural dedicated to Sci-Hub at UNAM. Txtdgtl, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This is a guest post by Georgiana Turculet (Universitat Pompeu Fabra).

In his recently published “More Open Access, More Inequality in the Academia”, Alex Volacu aptly criticizes present Open Access (OA) policies for giving rise to structural inequalities among researchers, and increasing revenues only for publishers. His analysis is aimed at contextualizing some recent academic events, that is, the board of the well-known Journal of Political Philosophy resigning due to pressures from publishers to increase the intake of open access publications. However, it would benefit from considering the wider context of recent alternative form of resistance to corporate publishers’ pressures.

Modern education systems erode trust – this may be a big problem.

Photo by lauren lulu taylor on Unsplash

As teachers, our work is inescapably affected by a range of structural features such as the marketisation and commodification of higher education, the erosion of benefits and of pay, and more. Many of these have been amply studied and debated, including on this blog. Today, however, I want to discuss a relatively underexplored dimension of all this – the slow erosion of trust between staff and students.

In a (higher) education setting, trust is an important value, for several reasons. For one, students are typically young adults and being given responsibility – and being trusted with that responsibility – is an important part of the process of growing up. I’m specifically inspired here by an approach to assessment known as ‘ungrading’. Regardless of the merits of the method, Jesse Stommel’s summary of the core philosophy of ungrading is something that needs to be taken extremely seriously: ‘start by trusting students’.

But it’s also a principled point. From a broadly Kantian perspective, one important aspect of ethical behaviour is respect for others as ‘ends in themselves’. While we all may occasionally jokingly remind each other that students’ brains haven’t fully developed yet, it is important to remember that this does not mean that they lack the capacity for autonomy. Indeed, because of their age, it is perhaps more important than ever to allow them to practice, or exercise autonomy.

Language, justice, and linguistic prejudice in academia

Guest Post by Sergi Morales-Gálvez and Josep Soler

This post provides a tentative view about the justice issues that arise from linguistic prejudice in academia. It introduces the plights that affect non-native English speakers, and how these may count as forms of epistemic injustice.

Image by Melk Hagelslag from Pixabay (Free to use under Content License)

Have you ever had something to say at the tip of your tongue, but you momentarily forget the correct word to express it? We are sure that’s an experience many of us are familiar with. For people who speak two, three or even more languages on a regular basis, this can be a frequent occurrence. This is, at least, our experience as speakers of Catalan, Spanish, English, and other languages. Although a momentary lapse like this does not mean that someone is not a capable speaker of a particular language, it might be interpreted negatively.

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