John Sexton argues that a secular dogmatism has come to dominate political discourse, and the enterprise of thought is in danger. He then argues that our universities, the stewards of thought, are the last best hope to stem this tide of dogmatism, and that they can effect reform in the society around them by inculcating the values of secular ecumenism in their citizens and by sending those citizens forth, one generation after another, to carry those values into society.
John Sexton served as fifteenth President of New York University from 2002 through 2015. He is NYU’s Benjamin F. Butler Professor of Law and Dean Emeritus of the Law School.
A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, President Emeritus Sexton also serves on the board of the Institute of International Education and is past Chair of the American Council on Education. In 2015, he received the TIAA-CREF Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence, recognizing outstanding university presidents, and the Institute of International Education’s Duggan Award for Mutual Understanding. In Spring 2016 he held the Kluge Chair in American Law and Governance at the Library of Congress. He is the recipient of twenty-one honorary degrees.
Before coming to NYU, President Emeritus Sexton clerked at the United States Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals. From 1966-1975, he was a Professor of Religion at Saint Francis College in Brooklyn.
President Sexton received a Bachelor’s degree in history, a Master’s degree in comparative religion, and a PhD in the history of American religion, all from Fordham University. He received a law degree magna cum laude from Harvard Law School.
His latest book is Standing for Reason: The University in a Dogmatic Age, the introduction for which was written by former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
To pre-order a copy of Standing for Reason: The University in a Dogmatic Age, which can be collected from independent bookshop Pages of Hackney at the event, please go to Standing for Reason: The University in a Dogmatic Age.
Gordon Brown (@OfficeGSBrown) is the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education and former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2007 to 2010. Previously, he served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1997 to 2007, making him the longest-serving Chancellor in modern history. Gordon served as the Labour Member of Parliament for Dunfermline East (1983- 2005), and for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath (2005-2015) in his home area of Fife in Scotland. He was elected as Leader of the Labour Party serving from 2007-2010.
Minouche Shafik is Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science. Prior to this she was Deputy Governor of the Bank of England.
The twitter hashtag for this event is #LSEReason