Professor Jonathan Jacobs, Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Director of the Institute of Criminal Justice Ethics, has written an op-ed titled “As Education Declines, So Does Civic Culture” published in The Wall Street Journal. Of the decline in education, Professor Jacobs writes, “The primary concern shouldn't be how American students rank in international science and math scores (though that is certainly relevant). It is whether the United States can be a prosperous, pluralistic democracy if higher education fails to require students to think, inquire and explain.”
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Prior to joining John Jay in 2011, he taught for over twenty years at Colgate University. He is the author of nine books, editor of two others, and has published over sixty articles in several areas of philosophy, including Ethics, Philosophy of Law, Medieval Philosophy, and Moral Psychology. He has been a Visiting Professor or held fellowships at Oxford, Cambridge, the University of St. Andrews, the University of Edinburgh, and the Social Philosophy & Policy Center at Bowling Green State University. He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Earhart Foundation, and the Littauer Foundation, and he has directed an NEH Summer Seminar for faculty. He is currently working on issues concerning the aims and justification of punishment in a liberal political order, and the relation between criminal justice and broader conceptions of justice. He is directing a multi-disciplinary, collaborative project to explore ways in which the understanding of agency, character, and identity has implications for constructively reintegrating ex-offenders in civil society. The role of an agent’s states of character in ethical comprehension, reasoning, and motivation is one of his longstanding interests. He is Presidential Scholar in Philosophy at John Jay.