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Bill Cosby

Honoris Causa: Its History, Significance, and Meaning

A few days ago the New York Times ran a story on the question of revoking honorary degrees. The focus of the story was the Bill Cosby, and questions about revoking his degrees in light of recent sexual abuse allegations. But the piece raises all kinds of interesting issues—to me anyway—about the meaning and significance of honorary degrees. I wouldn’t normally invest too much time thinking about such an arcane and, all things considered, relatively harmless symbolic practice. Except that sometimes those awards confer significance on some rather objectionable folks. And Americans have long valued the moral character of public Read more