Philosopher Will Be First “Atheism, Humanism, and Secular Ethics” Chair

Anjan Chakravartty, currently professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame and director of the school’s John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values, will be moving to the University of Miami to be the first holder of its “Atheism, Humanism, and Secular Ethics” chair.

The endowed position, which is funded by a 2016 $2.2 million gift from retired businessman Louis J. Appignani, is described by the University of Miami as an

interdisciplinary appointment held by a distinguished scholar whose research and interests include the study of atheism—understood, for purposes of this gift, as a philosophical approach that emphasizes the methods and techniques of science, logic, and reason in dealing with questions of knowledge, ethics, politics, and social policy. The new chair also will offer annually a minimum of one course on the history, philosophy, or influence of atheism.

In an article about the appointment, the Miami Hurricane quotes Professor Chakravartty emphasizing both the interdisciplinary and nondogmatic aspects of his new position:

The issues that are suggested by the title of the chair are really deep and important…. They’re existential issues for a lot of people. And I find that when it comes to thinking about questions like that, it’s a mistake to believe that you can adopt a very narrow perspective, say from the confines of any very specific discipline, and succeed in thinking about those questions in an appropriately thorough way… 

In our role as professors, we’re really educators and not lobbyists… If I were to announce what my view is, some people might mistakenly think that I’m going to be advocating or lobbying for that view, when in fact I want all arguments on all sides to be put on the table and for us to discuss them critically.

Professor Chakravartty’s new position at Miami begins July 1st.

Anjan Chakravartty

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