Jack Russell Weinstein
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Jack Russell Weinstein is an American philosopher specializing in the history of philosophy, political philosophy, Adam Smith, and contemporary liberal theory. He is currently a Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at the University of North Dakota. He is the director of The Institute for Philosophy in Public Life and the host of the public radio show Why? Philosophical discussions about everyday life. He was an influential student activist in the 1980s.
Life and education
Jack Russell Weinstein was born on October 1, 1969, in New York City. He attended college at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. It was there that his academic interest flourished, where he was able to pursue his long-held interests in reading, writing, and learning in the free university environment. He began his studies in English but quickly changed to Philosophy with a minor in Political Science. While in school, Weinstein participated actively in politics and became a political organizer for student issues around New York state. Receiving his undergraduate diploma in 1991, he went on to graduate school at Boston University, where he received his M.A. in 1996 and Ph.D. in 1998, both in Philosophy.
Weinstein was named plaintiff in a class action suit (Cianfrocco & Weinstein v. Clinton County Board of Elections, 1989—the name is not exact) intended to give college students in New York the right to vote in their college towns, and leading a contingent of over a hundred students who marched on the State House in Albany, New York. That same day, his image appeared in the front page of more than fifty newspapers across the state. He and others were protesting tuition hikes in the State University System by hosting a mock funeral to portray "the death of public education." The image showed Weinstein lying blindfolded by a baby's coffin.
Weinstein currently teaches at the University of North Dakota. In 2007, he received the Individual Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award at UND.
Weinstein is the author of two books in the Wadsworth Philosophers Series, On Adam Smith (2001) and On MacIntyre (2003), and Adam Smith's Pluralism: Rationality, Education, and the Moral Sentiments (Yale U.P.). He has edited several collections and journals, as well as numerous articles, essays and reviews on topics such as philosophy of education and moral theory, as well as a number of presentations on the philosophy of Adam Smith. He is committed to the project of advancing public philosophy, working with the Institute for Philosophy in Public Life to bring philosophy to the general public while simultaneously making a place for public philosophy work in the academy.
Weinstein's current academic project is a restructuring of contemporary liberal political theory, building off of the moral psychology and political economy of Adam Smith. In multiple volumes, Weinstein plans to offer an interpretation of Adam Smith that views his Theory of Moral Sentiments as primary and offer its connection to contemporary liberal theory. According to Weinstein, the book will ultimately elaborate on the idea that "Adam Smith's moral psychology offers us the framework by which we can rescue the notion of neutrality from its indefensible understanding as an Archimedean point of view."
Weinstein's blog PQED: Philosophical Questions About Everyday Life has inspired controversy. His post "How should people respond to open-carry gun-rights activists?" went viral, and was cited both positively and negatively throughout the blogosphere and traditional media, such as Fox News Radio, which interviewed him. It landed him on the Professor_Watchlist, a slight that led to an impassioned defense of his voice by his local newspaper The Grand Forks Herald.
- Adam Smith's Pluralism: Rationality, Education, and the Moral Sentiments. New Haven: Yale University Press.
- Guest Editor, On Second Thought ("The Philosophy Issue"), North Dakota Humanities Council, (June, 2010), forthcoming.
- "The Two Adams: Ferguson and Smith on Sympathy and Sentiment", in Adam Ferguson: A Reassessment, Philosophy, Politics and Society, edited by Eugene Heath and Vincenze Merolle (London: Rickering & Chatto Publishers, LTD, 2009.): 89-106.
- "Adam Smith", entry for the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy at http://www.iep.utm.edu/s/smith.htm
- Guest Editor, "Symposium on Adam Smith and Education" The Adam Smith Review, No. 3 (2007): 49-158.
- "On the Meaning of the Term 'Progressive': A Philosophical Investigation," The William Mitchell Law Review 33:1 (2006), 1-50.
- Is Money All There Is? Other Aspects of Life in Adam Smith's Free Market. North Dakota Humanities Council Larry Remele Fellowship Tabloid (4 pages with essay and interview), 2005.
- On MacIntyre (Wadsworth Philosophers Series). Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 2003.
- On Adam Smith (Wadsworth Philosophers Series). Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 2001.
- Guest Editor, Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines. Special Issue: Political Philosophy and Critical Thinking. Montclair: Institute for Critical Thinking, vol. 18, no. 1 (Autumn, 1998).
- Editor, Academic Inquiry: in Progress. Vienna: Institute for Human Sciences (Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen), 1995.
- University of North Dakota, Philosophy and Religion Faculty Bio Page: Jack Russell Weinstein
- Jack Weinstein: My Bio Page
- SUNY Plattsburgh Alumni Profile: Jack Weinstein
- "Adam Smith": entry in Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy by Jack Weinstein
- The Institute for Philosophy In Public Life
- Why? Philosophical Discussions About Everyday Life