Portland State University professor Peter Boghossian resigned on Wednesday, stating that the school has made “intellectual exploration” an “impossible” feat, and that students at the university “are not being taught to think,” but rather, “are being trained to mimic the moral certainty of ideologues.”
“I’m writing to you today to resign as assistant professor of philosophy at Portland State University,” Boghossian — who has taught philosophy at Portland State for the past decade — said in his resignation letter to Provost Susan Jeffords.
Boghossian added that he had invited “invited a wide range of guest lecturers” to address his classes, ranging “from Flat-Earthers to Christian apologists to global climate skeptics to Occupy Wall Street advocates.”
The professor said that he did this, “not because I agreed with their worldviews, but primarily because I didn’t,” adding that he wanted to “create the conditions for rigorous thought” for his students, and “help them gain the tools to hunt and furrow for their own conclusions.”
“From those messy and difficult conversations, I’ve seen the best of what our students can achieve: questioning beliefs while respecting believers; staying even-tempered in challenging circumstances; and even changing their minds,” Boghossian explained.
“I never once believed — nor do I now — that the purpose of instruction was to lead my students to a particular conclusion,” he added. “But brick by brick, the university has made this kind of intellectual exploration impossible.”