Education in a Cultural War Era Thinking Philosophically about the Practice of Cancelling
In the past couple of years, much has been said and written in the media about the notion of "cancel culture" and the way in which various celebrities, journalists, politicians, ideas, and monuments have been cancelled. Yet, the conversations taking place on this issue have been largely uninformed, lacking intellectual rigor, and devoid of the historical and cultural context that could help make the contested debates more enlightening. Mordechai Gordon investigates the phenomenon of cancelling historically as well as how it became an issue recently. The book presents some compelling philosophical arguments against the practice of cancelling and highlights various educational dangers and risks that emerge from this practice and deserve our attention.
Introduction; 1 The Contested Debate over the Meaning and Value of Cancel Culture; 2I Socrates, Spinoza, and other Cancelled Thinkers; 3 Cancelling during the McCarthy era; 4 Philosophical Arguments against Cancelling and Restricting Speech; 5 When is Cancelling Warranted?; 6 The Educational Dangers and Risks of Cancelling; 7 Education for Open-Mindedness
"This meticulously researched and thoughtfully analyzed work shows how cancel culture—mobilized at times to advance notions of social justice—can too easily become a mortal threat to democracy itself. With this smart and engaging book, Gordon joins the ranks of leading scholars willing to wade into the complexities of education in liberal democracies. I recommend cancelling your plans and settling in to read this book."
—Joel Westheimer, University Research Chair in Democracy and Education, University
"While much has been written about the political and social dimensions of ‘cancel culture’, we have few treatments of its problematic educational consequences. Mordechai Gordon has admirably filled this gap in his systematic, clearly written study. His book will spark further research and will inform current attempts to foster greater tolerance in society and education."
—David T. Hansen, Weinberg Professor in the Historical and Philosophical Foundations
of Education, Teachers College, Columbia University
"Many articles and books have documented the moral problems with cancel culture as well as its impact on individuals. In this book Dr. Gordon highlights the threat it poses to education. A liberal
education is simply not possible in an environment where one mistake can cost a career and truth seeking is not the main goal."
—Dorian Abbot, Associate Professor of Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago