Why Did a Billionaire Give $75 Million to a Philosophy Department?

Philosophy matters. The new challenges of the genomics revolution, the rise of AI, the growth in inequality, societal fragmentation, and our capacity for devastating war all invite philosophical perspective.Painting by Otto Scholderer / Wikicommons

ast week, for the in this troubling period had me, a bachelor of arts in philosophy, sitting up straight in stunned delight. Johns Hopkins University was gifted $75 million to expand its philosophy department to near-twice its size—more professors (13 to 22 over a decade) and postdoctoral fellows and graduate students, as well more undergraduate courses. It’s apparently the largest donation any philosophy department has ever received, and for Johns Hopkins, it’s the largest gift the university has ever received for one of its humanities departments.

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