John Schwenkler

John Schwenkler is an assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy at Florida State University.

By this author

Why Philosophy Matters

The philosopher Hilary Putnam, who taught for decades at Harvard University and wrote brilliantly across nearly all areas of philosophy, died on Sunday evening. I am indebted personally to Putnam—he was the doctoral supervisor of my own doctoral supervisor, and also of another of my most influential teachers—but would not know where even to begin in summarizing the importance of his life and work.

The Mount at a Crossroads

The world of Catholic higher education—and indeed, the worlds of Catholicism, of higher education, and simply the world in general—got welcome news Monday evening when it was announced that Simon Newman, lately the controversial ex-financier President of Mount St. Mary's University (see my earlier posts here, here, and here), "resigned" in the wake of several weeks of intense public scrutiny over his actions.

Announcing his departure in a statement released by the University, Newman wrote:

I am proud of what I have been able to achieve in a relatively short time particularly in helping the University chart a clear course toward a bright future. I care deeply about the school and the recent publicity relating to my leadership has become too great of a distraction to our mission of educating students. It was a difficult decision but I believe it is the right course of action for the Mount at this time.

Newman's pride in his tenure was echoed by the Board of Trustees, whose Chairman, John E. Coyne, wrote in that same statement of his gratitude to Newman "for his many accomplishments over the past year, including strengthening the University’s finances, developing a comprehensive strategic plan for our future, and bringing many new ideas to campus that have benefitted the entire Mount community." Few details on these alleged accomplishments—especially the claimed improvement in the University's finances—seem to have been provided so far. 

Statement of the Executive Committee of the American Catholic Philosophical Association Regarding Recent Events at Mount St. Mary's University

Today the Excecutive Committee of the American Catholic Philosophical Association released a statement regarding the recent events at Mount St. Mary's University in Maryland. (For an update on those events, see this article.) The statement is addressed to Mount St.

Statement from the Cardinal Newman Society Regarding the Situation at Mount St. Mary's University

Following on my earlier post, this afternoon the Cardinal Newman Society issued a statement expressing concerns about the current situation at Mount St. Mary's University, especially the direction it has taken under the direction of President Simon Newman. The full statement is here.

What Do We Care About When We Care About Catholic Identity?

From 2010-2013 I taught at Mount St. Mary's University, now the center of a massive controversy prompted by the actions of its new president, Simon Newman, an MBA-possessing former businessman who, since taking over his current position, has:

A Tale of Two Churches

Understanding last night's massacre in Charleston, South Carolina, where a young white man entered one of the city's oldest historically black churches and shot to death nine people who were participating in a prayer meeting, requires understanding the intersection of race and religion in the American South, and that is no small matter.

I know this difficulty firsthand: about two years ago I moved with my family to Tallahassee, Florida, and in the past few months we stopped attending the large, predominantly white parish on the north side of town where we enrolled as parishioners when we first moved in, and are now going instead to a small parish on the city's south side where the congregation at the English-language Mass is so predominantly black that ours is often the only white family in attendance.

On "lynch mobs"

In a remarkably intemperate column published earlier this week at First Things, Robert P. George describes the "lynch mob" that he believes to be targeting opponents of same-sex marriage in the United States:

The restorative power of forgiveness

A powerful story in this morning's New York Times Magazine illustrates the value of restorative justice, where the focus of the criminal justice system is put on the victims of crime and the community harmed by it. A young man killed his girlfriend of several years after an extensive dispute, and her parents chose to forgive him:

The democratic beauty of Central Park

In a brief interview, the philosopher Joshua Cohen reflects on the beauty of Central Park, noting how "the park provides an experience of