ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Harvard’s Trolley Problem

The most troublesome of questions, the relationship between intellectuals, truth and truthfulness is discussed. The site for the investigation is Harvard University, whose motto is Veritas (truth), and the case discussed is Harvard’s long association with the disgraced billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, convicted for paedophilia but whose relationship with Harvard continued long after the conviction. Using the details described in the report of the internal committee, it is argued that a huge gulf exists between the intellectual’s ideal of “speaking truth to power,” the illusion, and the practice of complicity, falsehood and co-option by power, the reality. The analytical method advocated is the “trolley problem,” which is used to highlight the difficulty of moral choices.
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