Nicholas Tampio

Professor of Political Science, Fordham University

Nicholas Tampio is professor of political science at Fordham University in New York. He is the author of Kantian Courage (2012), Deleuze’s Political Vision (2015), and Common Core: National Education Standards and the Threat to Democracy (2018). His latest book is Learning versus the Common Core (2019).

Written by Nicholas Tampio

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Courage and free speech

Nicholas Tampio

Spinoza is key for thinking about the history of free speech in the West and maybe the world.

For much of the history of philosophy, philosophers had to give their true messages between the lines, as it were. So Plato, after considering Socrates’s fate, decided to write dialogues to deflect responsibility for the ideas. Much of the history of political philosophy expounds noble lies for the masses, dangerous truths for the elite.

Spinoza’s Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (1670) announces that philosophers could have greater possibility of success (ie living) if society values free speech. Spinoza–as Jonathan Israel, Matthew Stewart, Steven Nadler and other commentators have s...

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Philosophy’s systemic racism

Nicholas Tampio

I bring my kids to forests; I bring my kids to Manhattan. I want them to appreciate both nature and cities. I don’t know if I can attribute this approach to European philosophers, but I have certainly read many of them who advocate a sublation of reason and instinct.

This piece argues that Rousseau, Schiller, and Hegel all based their dialectical thinking on a simplified picture of Caribs. Probably true. But does that mean that reconciling animality and rationality is racist?

The essay ends with Caribbean thinkers who appropriated Hegel. Good. But does that mean that dialectical thinking is not dangerous? Won’t it still mean that certain ways of life will be found wanting? C...

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Universal unions

Nicholas Tampio

What happens when union leadership becomes corrupt or captured?

Please don’t ask me to read your book or waive away the problem as something to be addressed through “post-institutional regulation.”

Just answer the question clearly. Unless you can’t.

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I was homeschooled for eight years: here’s what I recommend

Nicholas Tampio

I am very glad that Aeon published this piece.

Public school systems are crushing children’s individuality. That is the real cost of an emphasis on standardized tests, including the PISA, the gaokao, the SAT, and other tests mandated (in the US at least) by federal education law.

The author is absolutely right that the environment is what teaches a child. A good homeschool can provide a wonderful environment for a child to read books, write essays, exercise outside, visit museums, do projects, and so forth.

I know that author will get attacked because not everybody can homeschool well. I just want to say that I am grateful that they said praised homeschooling done rig...

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Ideas were not enough

Nicholas Tampio

A learned piece, and worth thinking about.

My question concerns the causal agent that moved states to protect religious freedom.

“there was a shift away from ad hoc, feudal and decentralised tax systems, and a move towards standardisation and centralisation.” –> What caused the shift and move?

“To pay for larger armies, new taxes had to be raised.” –> Who decided that taxes had to be raised?

“Religious legitimation became less important as a source of political legitimacy.” –> Who is the actor in this clause?

In general, the authors use passive voice at precisely the moments that the reader wants to know who is enacting the changes. The argument...

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