About Us

The Center's mission is to promote the understanding and appreciation of the ideals of freedom and responsibility along four dimensions: published research, undergraduate education, graduate education, and community outreach.

Core Intellectual Values
These are core values that we will not compromise.   

1. Growth
We aim to stand up from our desks at the end of every day knowing something that we did not know when we sat down that morning.  We do not teach from old lecture notes.  With our students we will share what we know, along with our uncertainties & struggles.  Our students will know the joy & trepidation of exploring the intellectual frontier.

2. Seriousness
We are in the business of theorizing, but when we theorize, we draw maps whose worth stands or falls with their accuracy in representing reality.  We draw distinctions not to obscure differences but to sort them out. When we make empirical claims, we back them up not by turning them into empty tautologies but by offering the kind of data that are relevant to the testing of scientific hypotheses. In short, if your definition makes it unnecessary to check the facts, then you need to check your definition.

3. Independence
We realize that if you want to maintain your passion for work, & want people to be better off for having read your work, or for having been your student, you have to stand for something. But whatever you stand for, you have to stand for honest scholarship first. Truth comes first. If and when the truth turns out incompatible with our beliefs, we change our beliefs.

4. Diplomacy
We will not demonize those who disagree with us.  Our engagements will be constructive.

Life at the Arizona School
Our goal is to be a place where scholars have time for research and collaboration. We will brainstorm in solitude in the morning, and brainstorm in concert in the afternoon. We envision an ongoing faculty workshop where members of the Center meet for a “brown bag” lunch and one of the members presents a philosophical puzzle related to his or her current writing or teaching.

Graduate Study
Graduate students are the lifeblood of the Center. They serve as teaching assistants and teachers for courses offered by the Center; they play key administrative and planning roles. With a reduced teaching load, graduate students have time for research and collaboration: they present their work at “brown bags” and brainstorm alongside their professors. Our Current Research Workshops showcase the work of our alumni.