Public Writings | Outreach | Public Talks | Consulting & Volunteering | Advocacy | Academic Service
Philosophy can be of great help in resolving real-life problems. Following this maxim, I have begun a number of public engagement efforts. Among these, I promote events occurring on campus at the University of Mississippi and participate in various advocacy efforts. I am also writing for public outlets, such as newspapers and magazines. I have given talks with various groups related to areas of my research and teaching interests. Finally, I am working as a consultant or volunteer scholar in connection with a number of non-profit organizations, grant projects, and advocacy groups. You can jump to a particular element directly with the help of the "anchor" links here above.
If you are interested in having me come talk with your organization, school, or community group, you can contact me at the address listed at the bottom of each of these Web pages or on my Curriculum Vitae. You can also visit the Mississippi Humanities Council's Speakers Bureau, in which I am now listed. You will find a link to that site in the section called "Public Talks."
Newspaper and Online Editorials
In May of 2013, I published an op-ed with The Clarion Ledger of Jackson, MS, titled "Violence Taught when Corporal Punishment Used." The piece was published on May 14, 2013, on page 9, and is available in an online version as an Adobe PDF file here.
In April of 2012, I published two op-eds with ProBizMS.com, a new outlet for good news about business in Mississippi. My piece is titled "Greening Industry and Green Industries in Mississippi," and was on their Web site here on April 8th. You can open it by clicking on the title here above or on the thumbnail photo on the right hand side.
Next, the site republished my piece that originally came out in Science Progress. This second article is titled "Mississippians Ready for Comprehensive Sex Education," and was published on ProBizMS's Web site on Apirl 20th. You can click on the thumbnail photo on right to read it also, in Adobe PDF format.
On April 8th of 2012, my op-ed, "Teachers Offer Hope," was published in The Clarion Ledger, Jackson, MS's and the state's major newspaper. The thumbnail on the right is a link to the scanned version and I also have a link here to a PDF of the Web version. The topic of this piece is the recent success of a large number of Mississippi students who have sought and been accepted into Teach For America and Mississippi Teacher Corps in 2012. These programs are highly competitive and are great training for many kinds of future careers.
In February of 2012, I published a piece in Science Progress called "Mississippians Are Ready for Comprehensive Sex Education." It came out on Valentine's Day, February 14th, 2012, a nice touch on the part of the editors. You can read the piece Science Progress's Web site here, or you can open a printable PDF version of the article here (or by clicking on the thumbnail photo on the right).
In October of 2011, my guest column appeared in The Commercial Appeal, the major Memphis (TN) newspaper. I was writing about recent attacks on the University of Mississippi's administration. Memphis is a major metropolitan city right on the border of Mississippi and has a large population of Mississippians working there, commuting from Southaven, MS, which is why I decided to publish the piece there. The piece is called "Forward Rebels, or a big step back?" and was published on October 22nd, 2011, p. A11. You can read a scanned PDF file of the piece by clicking here or by clicking on the thumbnail photo on right.
On July 24, 2011, The Clarion Ledger published my op-ed, "Rand's Appeal Curious: Politics of Individualism," on C1-2 of the Perspectives Section. You can read a scan of the piece by clicking on the title here or on the thumbnail photo on the right hand side of his page.
On January 30th of 2011, I published a piece in The Clarion Ledger on the recent criticisms of the government's justifications for the mandate to purchase health insurance or to pay a tax penalty. The piece is called "Liberty, Health Care Reform Fit." It can be found on page 13B, by clicking here, or by clicking on the thumbnail photo on right.
I put together a piece on the current challenges to the healthcare law has come out in The Clarion Ledger. The piece is called "Health Law Repeal Would Toss Out Baby with Bathwater" and was published on October 23rd, 2010, on page 9A. You can read an Adobe PDF scan of the article by clicking on the name of the article or on the small photo of the scanned article included here on right. You can visit the main page of The Clarion Ledger here.
On September 19th of 2010, The Clarion Ledger published a piece of mine on the subject of civility. The piece is called "Choosing Civility: The Lemonade Lesson." This piece is a short version of a larger project I am developing as a possible book project. The editors at The Clarion Ledger wrote a follow-up piece building on the same subject. You can click here or on the photo on right to open up an Adobe PDF file that is a scan of the article and the editors' piece. Or you can click here to visit my blogpost that has the photo of the graphic from the story, art which Marshall Ramsey created for this piece, an html text verison of the article, as well as another link to the PDF file.
"Disability's Financial Crisis," The Oxford Eagle July 6, 2010, p. 4A. I wrote this article on the local effects of cuts to Medicaid on persons with disabilities. The subject was addressed masterfully at the national level in The Wall Street Journal by Clare Ansberry here. To read an Adobe PDF scan of my article about the Oxford and Lafayette county community, "Disability's Financial Crisis," click here or on the photo on the right hand side.
"Barriers Remain to Educational Attainment," The Clarion Ledger, Guest Column, June 6, 2010. For a scan of the printed version, click here or on the photo on right. This article details a large project that I am developing regarding a research program I started when I arrived at the University of Mississippi. You can learn more about the subject of this article and about my research in a number of articles included above in the "newspaper" section of the "Outreach Interviews" topic list.
"Try Charter Schools Experiment Where Others Failing," The Clarion Ledger, Guest Column, March 6, 2010. For a scan of the printed version, click here or on the photo on right. This article was taken up and posted online on a Web site called Parent Power, which can be found here.
Letters to the Editor
In late October of 2011, I published a letter to the editor that I wrote about the proposed amendment to the Mississippi state Constitution to define personhood at conception. My piece is titled "Religious reasons against Initiative 26." You can read the piece in a scanned PDF file by clicking here or by clicking on the photo on right. The piece came out in The Oxford Eagle on October 24th, 2011, on p. 4A.
“Head’s Constitutional Challenge to Healthcare Reform: Bunk,” The Daily Mississippian, November 17, 2009, http://tinyurl.com/yev6lkf.
“The DM Should Not Promote Cheating,” The Daily Mississippian, October 30, 2009, http://tinyurl.com/yce4enx.
“Social Spending Better than War,” The Daily Mississippian, February 13, 2009, http://smc.olemiss.edu/?p=786.
“Fallacies Wrong for DM,” The Daily Mississippian, April 28, 2008, http://www.thedmonline.com/2.2840/1.107411.
“Think First, Then Write,” The Daily Mississippian, October 18th, 2007, http://www.thedmonline.com/2.2840/1.109657.
“Kick open the doors of opportunity, but don't you dare knock!” The Southern Illinoisan, April 28, 2007, http://www.thesouthern.com/articles/2007/04/28/opinions/voice_of_the_reader/20103504.txt.
Blog and Twitter
I have entered the twenty first century of writing with a blog. It is basically a scratch pad for some ideas and a place to post some links to important and interesting articles. You can visit my blog by clicking here. You can also see new blog posts from my blog show up on my Amazon.com Author Profile page here. If you have comments for me, you can post them there. If you have topics that you think would be interesting for me to consider addressing there or in other outlets, send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I have also opened a Twitter account and have come to appreciate it. For those unfamiliar, I've written a blogpost, available here, about Twitter's value and my reasons for trying it out. Follow me on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/erictweber.
In September of 2010, The University of Mississippi was the subject of several advertisements for ESPN. ESPN was working on showing its connection to fans. They came to Oxford to learn about our process of picking a new mascot, especially the strange development of student advocacy for the Star Wars character, Admiral Ackbar. I was in town when they were shooting and was asked whether I would participate in an interview. One of my ideas was a candidate for the new mascot, so I had thought about the subject. I agreed, therefore, to the interview and I am very glad I did. I think ESPN did a lovely job of making Ole Miss look like a fun, diverse place, showcasing our beautiful campus and the somewhat eccentric student ideas we get here from time to time. Click here or on the photo on right to watch the video.
The video below is a clip of the Memphis Channel 3's (WREG) Live at Nine show. I was a guest on Monday, February 22nd, 2010. I was on the show to promote the University of Mississippi's Day of Dialogue, which took place that week.
More recently, I participated in a video interview to support the university's outreach efforts. The university's tag line is "Experience Amazing." They asked students and faculty to talk about some things that are amazing and inspiring here on campus. Click here to go to the YouTube page where you can watch the video. This video was completed in May of 2010.
In February of 2011, I went on Mississippi Public Broadcasting's Mississippi Edition to promote the symposium I organized for SOPHIA, titled "Disability, Civic Responsibility, and Community Friendship." I had a chance to plug the fact that through the symposium SOPHIA was prepared to offer continuing education credits.
In 2009, my wife, Annie Davis Weber, organized a conference on Seizures and Epilepsy Education in Oxford, MS. At that event, she and I were interviewed for a radio broadcast program: “Seizures and Epilepsy Education Program,” Mississippi Public Broadcasting’s Morning Edition, National Public Radio, March 12, 2009. Story Transcript: Available here. Audio file: Available here.
In 2008, when the University of Mississippi hosted the first Presidential debate, I gave a radio interview in French with the BBC’s World Service International Program for francophone Africa on the first 2008 Presidential Debate held at the University of Mississippi, September 26,2008.
In February of 2013, The Tehran Times published an interview in which reporter Javad Heiran-Nia asked me to comment on the subject of the Enlightenment and the West. The piece is titled "Feeling of Certainty Is Dangerous for Religion and Science: Weber," Tehran Times, February 11, 2013, 7.
On February 21st of 2012, an interview I gave for the Tehran Times of Iran was published. The piece was called "Modern universities are devaluing acquisition of knowledge: Weber," and was first published on the paper's Web site, before it was then released in print on the 22nd. To read the piece, you can visit it on the Tehran Times's Web page here, or you can click here or on the thumbnail photo on the right to open a printable PDF version of the article.
In November of 2011, the Tehran Times published an interview with me about Iranian/Persian philosophers. It was titled "Some great Persian philosophers were closely connected to Western philosophy: Weber," and was published on November 10, 2011, page 7. You can read the interview in a printable Adobe PDF file by clicking here, on the title hereabove, or on the thumbnail photo on the right hand side of this page.
In July of 2011, an interview/op-ed I gave for the Tehran Times of Iran was published. It is titled "Mysteries Arise in All Areas of Inquiry: Professor," and was printed on July 3rd on page 5. You can read the article by clicking on the title here or on the photo thumbnail of the article here on right.
In April of 2011, an interview I gave for the Tehran Times was published, titled "Philosophy Inspires a Life of Careful Thinking," April 21st, on page 15 of the paper. You can read the article by clicking on the title here or on the thumbnail photo included here on right. I am honored to have the chance to talk about philosophy and about freedom in the major English language newspaper in Iran. You can also read the article on the Tehran Times Web site.
On February 22nd of 2011, The Tehran Times published an interview with me about my field of study, philosophy. The piece was titled "Freedom and Choice are Central to People's Happiness: Weber." To read the interview, you can click on the title, on the thumbnail image on right, or here. Also, the piece was published on the newspaper's Web site here.
The next piece here is not an interview, but instead is an editorial article that came out in the McComb, MS, Enterprise Journal. It is a piece about the health insurance mandate, titled "Insurance Issue Has Ripple Effects." This piece refers to my arguments in the Clarion Ledger, which you can read below in my "Public Writings" section. The Enterprise Journal published its piece on Friday, February 4th, 2011. You can click on the image on right to go to the E.J.'s Web page for the article. If that's down for any reason, you can read a printable Adobe PDF version of the article by clicking here.
In December of 2010, the Tehran Times published an interview with me. The article was titled "Weber Says Philosophy Creates Stable, Adaptable Societies." It was published on December 6 on page 15 of the paper. Click here or on the thumbnail image on right to open an Adobe PDF scanned version of the article.
In November, Molly Parker of The Clarion Ledger interviewed me about recent cuts in Medicaid funding in Mississippi. She then published an article on the subject of Mississippi's cuts, titled "Health Care Squeeze Forcing Some Kids Out." The article was published on November 30th, 2010 on page 1A and 4A. Click on the title or on the photo thumbnail to see a scanned version of the article.
Also in November, I gave an interview for the Mehr News agency. It was published on their Web site and then in the Tehran Times. The printed interview article is titled "Difference is an important tool ‘for arriving at truth’: professor." Click on the link to visit see the printed version. The Mehr News Agency Web page, where you can read the whole interview, is here. The printed piece was published on November 2nd, 2010.
In October of 2010, I was quoted in The Wall Street Journal, in an article that went in print on Saturday, October 9th, 2010.The article can be found online for now here (I think the older articles get archived and are available only to subscribers). I have a PDF file of the online article available for viewing or download here, which you can also see by clicking on the photo on right. Or, you can click on the next image, which links to a scan of the printed version of the article, to which this link also sends you.
August of 2010, the Mehr News agency of Iran interviewed me for their online publication and for Tehran Times, the city's English language newspaper. The article is about Rawls, Dewey, and Constructivism and is available here in Persian. An English translation done by computer (through Translate.Google.com - very imperfect) is here.
The reporter, Javad Heiran-Nia, also interviewed me to ask about my book and the importance of the subject matter today. The Mehr News agency has its own Web site, as seen above, and also publishes The Tehran Times. In that newspaper, the interview was published under the title: "Rawls revived
idea of social
professor." Click here to read the article, which is found on the first page (left, below the fold) and on the 15th page (top left). I have included in the linked file only those two pages for the sake of space and ease of use.
In September of 2010, the Mehr News Agency interviewed me again, this time on the subject of online education and its relation to traditional higher education. The article that came from it, which was published online and in the Tehran Times is called "Fundamental tool in education is communication: professor." You can read an Adobe PDF version of the file by click here or on the photo on right. You can read the text based HTML version of the page here. The question was whether online education might really present a threat that would render traditional education obsolete. My answer is no, but I do not oppose online education as an important development, a new tool for growing the options for education and the avenues for interaction generally.
Addington, Melanie, "Poor Doesn't Equal Failure," The Oxford Eagle, June 7, 2010, 1A and 3A. This article covers a lot of the material you can read about also in my guest column in the Clarion Ledger, which is linked to here on this page under the Public Writings section below. My article is called "Barriers Remain to Educational Attainment."
Addington's article was taken up by the Associated Press and was published (in altered forms) in several other newspapers and periodicals, which I included here as best as I could gather them. Thanks to everyone who let me know about these.
The first is the Enterprise-Journal of McComb, Mississippi. You can see that article, titled "A Way Out of Poverty," by clicking here or on the little photo on right.
You can also see an adaptation of the article in the Mississippi Business Journal.There, the article is called "The only way out is up" - click here to see a Web formatted Adobe PDF file of the article, or click on the logo photo on right.
It was also published here in the Hattiesburg American (if that link is broken, see a Web formatted Adobe PDF file here) after that same newspaper published it here (see an Adobe PDF file of the first article in the HA here), in the Tupelo, MS Northeast Mississippi's Daily Journal, Web site here or you can open it as a Web formatted Adobe PDF file here, and in Teacher Magazine, under the title "UM prof: Examples help lift students from poverty" - click here to view a Web site formatted Adobe PDF file.
Finally, the subject of Addington's article was picked up also in a piece by Carl Chancellor, a Pulitzer-Prize winning reporter. His article is called "For Poor Students, Role Models Are Key to College Success" and was published on the Poverty in America page of Change.org on June 29, 2010.
"Meeting Set to Tackle Tough End of Life Issues," The Daily Mississippian, "Inside Ole Miss," January 26, 2009. Click here or on the photo to read the article. This article is about the symposium I organized for the Society of Philosophers in America(SOPHIA). You can read more about the symposium and see photos and evaluations of the event by visiting the SOPHIA Web site here.
Newspaper interview with Helsingin Sanomat on the first 2008 Presidential Debate, September 26th,2008. Then, on November 5th, 2008, my “A More Perfect Union,” was published on the paper’s Web site.The piece was quoted in a related article that day.
Newspaper interview with Emily LeCoz of the N.E. Mississippi Daily Journal (Tupleo, MS), cited in “Like officials, experts split on value of Tupelo ethics study,” October, 5, 2008, http://tinyurl.com/lgzk3s.
Following my interest in making philosophical ideas useful for helping people to alleviate or overcome problems in education and leadership, I have begun giving public talks in a variety of contexts. I have not yet had much time to post details about these talks, but I will do so in the next few months (summer and fall 2010).
Talk on Democracy and Leadership
On March 22 of 2013, I will give an invited presentation at the University of New Orleans for the Alexis de Tocqueville Project on Democratic Ideals and Institutions. My talk is titled "Adapting Plato's Cardinal Virtues for Democratic Leadership," and is a presentation about my forthcoming book, Democracy and Leadership.
Talks on Leadership for College Students and Local Communities
I am now a member of the Mississippi Humanities Council's Speakers Bureau. So far I have sent them information on two talks I am ready to give in public settings, though there are many more I have prepared. The talks that are ready and described on their Web site are the following:
"Leadership and Liberal Arts Education" - I first gave this talk as the keynote speaker for the induction ceremony at the University of Mississippi for the National Society for Leadership and Success.
"Can Leadership be Taught?" I first gave this talk as the keynote address for LaFayette County (MS) Chamber of Commerce's Leadership LaFayette program, June 3rd, 2010. This talk address the subject of leadership as an activity for which we can be better or worse prepared. In covering this topic, I address what I take to be the nature and virtues of intellectual and moral leadership.
"Ethics and Leadership"
"Leadership in Education: A Talk for Teachers and Administrators"
I will post more of my public talks here as I have descriptions ready for them.
Talks for Teachers
DeSoto County Schools, "Leadership in Education" (same as above)
Talks for K-12 students
Knowledge Is Power Programs (KIPP) school in Helena-West Helena, AR, "Origins of the Academy in Philosophy" and "The Values of Liberal Arts Education"
For a list of talks I could give to students who are in lower school through high school (adapted for the relevant audience), you will soon be able to click on a link here, where I will have a list of subject that I would love to talk with your students about.
I am working with a number of organizations and grant projects, officially and unofficially/occasionally, aiming to serve local communities near the university.
Mississippi First: This organization is doing some very exciting work on Mississippi policy matters, especially on education. Visit their Web site here. Their organization has started an internship program for our students (UM's PPL) to get involved working with them. My relationship with them has been unofficial, but we have interacted together a number of times professionally and I hope in the near future to get time and more opportunities to work with them further.
The MS Humanities Council: Beyond my work as an applicant for the Mississippi Humanities Council's funding, I was also trained in 2012 to serve as a reviewer for their programming. I have consulted with MHC team members on the review process for particular programs, and have sought their advice and support for applications I plan to submit to the National Endowment for the Humanities, of which they are a state affiliate organization.
More details soon.
a teacher, there are many things I do not talk about as an advocate, whether I hold a position about them or not. At the same time, however, I believe in being an example to my students as an engaged citizen. In this spirit, there are certain matters for which I am an active advocate, particularly when they involve issues to which my research directs me. I also care deeply about my family and my country, and feel compelled to advocate for certain initiatives that are crucial for living well and happily. Some of the issues for which I am an advocate are the following:
The National Humanities Alliance (with the NEH and the MHC)
Public Philosophy (including the APA's CPP)
The Mississippi Epilepsy Foundation - see Promotions information above for a radio interview on the Seizures and Epilepsy Education program that my wife, Annie Davis Weber, organized.
Innovations in Schooling and Opportunities for Poor and Disabled Persons
I will list more information about my efforts in advancing the values of each of these movements and organizations as soon as I can.
Some of my efforts at public engagement take primarily academic forms. For instance, I am Trustee, Treasurer, and have recently been elected Executive Director of the Society of Philosophers in America (SOPHIA). SOPHIA as an organization has as its main focus the engagement in conversation of philosophers with persons outside of the academy who are directly members of groups interested in relevant subjects of philosophical study. For example, we held a SOPHIA meeting in Oxford, MS, on the subject of Ethics at the End of Life. We had participants from the local retired community, from doctors, nurses, pastors, hospice workers, lawyers, and more, all in conversation with philosophers about pressing moral considerations that arise at or near the end of life. Visit SOPHIA's Web site for more information on this event.
I have also served as Vice President and then President of the Mississippi Philosophical Association, for which I organized a Medical Ethics Conference in 2008. Visit the MPA Web site here. In our leadership meeting, it was our goal for the 2008 year to "revitalize" participation in the MPA. I am happy to report that our meeting in Jackson, MS, was a great success and garnered participation from a number of great philosophers from within and from outside of Mississippi. The next Vice President, who is now President of the MPA, Dr. Trisha Phillips, did an excellent job putting on an even larger and more robust MPA conference at Mississippi State University in February of 2010.
Beyond my work with SOPHIA and the Mississippi Philosophical Association, I have been nominated to be Associate Chair of the American Philosophical Association's Committee on Public Philosophy, which I will be for one year before then becoming Chair of the committee. You can read about the committee's charge here on the APA's Web site or click on the photo on right to see the page I have designed for the committee. The charge is listed there also, as are the committee's activities and a list of its members. You can also visit the main page of the American Philosophical Association here. We are in the process of developing a Web site for the committee, to which I will link in due course.
My academic service work also takes place on campus at the University of Mississippi, where I've been involved in a number of service projects. If you want to learn more about those, check out the Service section of my curriculum vitae, which you'll find on my Bio page. Among these efforts, for instance, I designed and maintain the Web site for the Department of Public Policy Leadership, which you can visit by clicking here.