HIGHER ED FACULTY

Personal Philosophy

February 25, 2015 / Phil Lesch

Inside Higher Ed
February 25th, 2015

It's not every day that respected academics reveal their personal struggles, especially to a big audience of colleagues and strangers. So a recent talk by Peter Railton, the Gregory S. Kavka Distinguished University Professor and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of philosophy at the University of Michigan, is making the rounds on social media -- along with accounts of multiple standing ovations and even open weeping from some of those present. Railton’s topic? His battle with depression, which he says he's hidden for too long.

“As academics, we live in its midst,” Railton said, according to a draft of the John Dewey Lecture he delivered last week at the annual meeting of the American Philosophical Association’s Central Division in St. Louis. “We know how it hurts our students, our colleagues, our teachers, our families. Of course, most of us are ‘educated’ about depression -- we like to think that we no longer consider it a stain on one’s character. We've gotten beyond that. Or have we?”

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