Free Speech and Open Inquiry Grant Spotlight: Hrishikesh Joshi

Microphone in the dark ready for free expression or free speech

Dr. Joshi’s primary research interests focus on the intersection of politics, philosophy, and economics. 

Freedom of expression is a catalyst for intellectual growth, especially in a university setting. Through our Free Speech and Open Inquiry Grant, the Institute for Humane Studies supports faculty who are interested in studying the role that free speech and civil discourse play in the academy and in society more broadly. Dr. Hrishikesh Joshi, assistant professor of philosophy at Bowling Green State University, was awarded a Free Speech and Open Inquiry Grant to assist in the development of his book “Why It’s OK to Speak Your Mind.”

IHS continues to seek proposals that explore how the core liberal values of free speech and open inquiry.

Hrishikesh Joshi

Academics from all fields are invited to apply; we especially encourage applications from the fields of political science, economics, history, philosophy, business, and law.  Grants of $5,000 to $25,000 are offered to successful recipients.

Dr. Joshi’s primary research interests focus on the intersection of politics, philosophy, and economics. Since 2018, Dr. Joshi has participated in a number of IHS academic programs and was also a recipient of one of our Hayek Fund for Scholars grants. He particularly enjoyed a Discussion Colloquium that IHS hosted on ideological bias in the classroom.

“It allowed me to connect with other academics from across the political spectrum who share an interest in issues of open inquiry in higher education,” Dr. Joshi says.

The socially-interconnected nature of knowledge and the current climate of political polarization influenced Dr. Joshi’s interest in free speech and open inquiry and ultimately led to the creation of this project. He explains that this book is a defense of self-expression and the value of dissenting opinions, especially in an era in which openness has become more difficult in some areas of inquiry.

The total stock of ideas and knowledge we have can be thought of as an ‘epistemic commons’ – so that its proper maintenance is beneficial to society as a whole. But if we choose to silence ourselves due to social and other pressures, we risk impoverishing that stock of opinions, facts, and arguments.

–Dr. Hrishikesh Joshi

Self-development and actualization are closely dependent on the ability to express oneself freely. Dr. Joshi argues that if we cannot articulate an opinion, we may lose our capacity to critically think about it.

He hopes people resist the temptation to believe that they as individuals can’t make a difference. This book aims to explain the enduring social value of unfettered, individual self-expression. As we have seen so often in history, even one dissenting voice can have a profound impact on others.

To the extent that independent exercise of our rational capacities is essential for human flourishing . . . a society that fosters independence is all the more important to strive for.

–Dr. Hrishikesh Joshi

IHS looks forward to the publication of “Why It’s OK to Speak Your Mind” through Routledge Press, supported by the Free Speech and Open Inquiry Grant. Interested in IHS programs? Learn more about our faculty and graduate opportunities.

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