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Will Cambridge Support Free Speech?

The university is investigating Nathan Cofnas, a research fellow who published a blog post advocating “race realism.” Were Cofnas to be dismissed, it would sound a warning to students and academics everywhere: even the world’s most renowned universities may no longer stand by their commitment to freedom of thought and discussion.

MELBOURNE – Nathan Cofnas is a research fellow in the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge. His research is supported by a grant from the Leverhulme Trust. He is also a college research associate at Emmanuel College. Working at the intersection of science and philosophy, he has published several papers in leading peer-reviewed journals. He also writes popular articles and posts on Substack.

In January, Cofnas published a post called “Why We Need to Talk about the Right’s Stupidity Problem.” No one at Cambridge seems to have been bothered by his argument that people on the political right have, on average, lower intelligence than those on the left.

Some people at Cambridge were, however, very much bothered by Cofnas’s February post, “A Guide for the Hereditarian Revolution.” To follow Cofnas’s “guide,” one must accept “race realism”: the view that heredity plays a role in the existing social and economic differences between different demographic groups. Only by challenging the taboo against race realism, Cofnas believes, can conservatives overcome “wokism,” which he sees as a barrier to understanding the causes of inequality and to allowing people to succeed on the basis of merit.