Berkeley Students Criticize Classical Theory Course

Philosophers such as John Locke

Philosophers such as John Locke are the targets of the editorial.

Berkeley students are angry that a classical theory course only covers white, male philosophers. In an editorial that makes The Daily Dartmouth look like The Wall Street Journal, Berkeley students Rodrigo Kazuo and Meg Perret criticize the homogeneous mix of philosophers covered in a classical social theory class taught at Berkeley in the fall. “We have major concerns about social theory courses in which white men are the only authors assigned” write the two students. “These courses pretend that a minuscule [sic] fraction of humanity, economically privileged white men from five imperial countries…are the only people to produce valid knowledge about the world.” Indeed, these students have asserted that because this course emphasizes a particular cannon of thought, it effectively labels all other strains of thought in the history of mankind to be inferior.

By this logic, the next Women’s and Gender Studies class I take, which will inevitably focus largely if not entirely on female authors, will consider all theory ever produced by male authors to be invalid. But unlike these Berkeley students, I won’t be outraged when I take this course, because it will have been exactly what I signed up for. Nearly all works of classical thought were authored by men; this is the reality of a world that used to be far more patriarchal than it is today. Does that mean we should not read any classical philosophy?