R. J. Snell

Written by R. J. Snell

R. J. Snell directs the Center on the University and Intellectual Life at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, New Jersey, and is senior fellow of the Agora Institute for Civic Virtue and the Common Good. His books include The Perspective of Love: Natural Law in a New Mode (Wipf & Stock, 2014) and Acedia and Its Discontents (Angelico, 2015).

HomeArticles Posted by R. J. Snell

The foundational texts and practices of the liberal arts developed in a classicist culture valuing logic, universality, essentialism, and an unchanging human nature with its corresponding account of human flourishing and excellence. Our own culture, on the other hand, is thoroughly empirical and historicist, values method over logic, particularity over universality, and contingent conditioning over static human nature. As a…

One Another’s Equals: The Basis of Human Equality. Jeremy Waldron. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2017.
Perhaps it’s unfair to Professor Waldron that I’ve been reading Thomas Aquinas and Aleksandr Sozhenitsyn of late. Aquinas, in his way, would have delivered the content of One Another’s Equals in just a few precise pages. Solzhenitsyn’s version, on the other…
University College Education School

Wisdom’s Workshop: The Rise of the Modern University. James Axtell. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016.

Despite their humble origins, U.S. universities dominate the global rankings of elite research institutions, holding a majority of the top 50 spots—how did this come to be? In his new book, Wisdom’s Workshop: The Rise of the Modern University, James Axtell assigns himself this question, tracing…