The Limits of Expertise

As a professor devoted to his college’s “pre-disciplinary” core curriculum, I was hooked by David Epstein’s title, Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World. The book is chock-full of anecdotes and evidence that people with breadth or range—indeed, amateurs in the true sense of the word—can contribute immensely to enterprises in environments that seem, … Continue reading “The Limits of Expertise”


Who’s Afraid of a Little Data?

We’ve heard a lot, in recent years, about a free speech crisis on our college campuses. There are stories of speakers being shouted down and of students being afraid to voice their opinions, for fear of ostracism by their peers or retaliation from faculty and staff. Some have dismissed this talk as politically inspired rhetoric, … Continue reading “Who’s Afraid of a Little Data?”


A Frenemy on the Left: Robert Boyers on The Tyranny of Virtue

I have long been fond of saying that there are colleagues for whom I would be delighted to vote if they sought my support for service on a university committee, but not if they were running for political office. I’d like to think that Robert Boyers, a genuine literary intellectual who teaches at Skidmore College … Continue reading “A Frenemy on the Left: Robert Boyers on The Tyranny of Virtue