Skip to content

Ethical Limits of Academic Inquiry (ELAI)

Ethical Limits of Academic Inquiry




  • Create visibility for the ethical limits of academic inquiry as a topic worthy of scholarly attention,
  • Build a community of scholars interested in the topic,
  • Promote and provide a platform for sharing research on the ethical limits of academic inquiry, and
  • Create and maintain a working bibliography on the topic.


  • Academics from various disciplines with an active interest in the ethical limits of academic inquiry.

See: About | Events | Past Events | Bibliography


Over the past few years, the humanities and social sciences have been marked by repeated and polarizing controversies over what kinds of views should and shouldn’t be debated by scholars. Recent examples include Peter Singer’s views on disability and Kathleen Stock’s views on gender. Many scholars hold that some positions should not be defended or engaged with in print or at conferences. Others believe that, in academic inquiry, anything should be up for debate, such that we need to leave room for the offensive and the outrageous.

The Ethical Limits of Academic Inquiry (ELAI) Working Group provides a space for the systematic, scholarly investigation of this meta-debate. While much recent scholarship has concerned itself with related topics, such as “cancel culture,” “free speech on campus,” and “no-platforming,” the difficult question of which views scholars should debate amongst themselves has received comparatively little attention in professional venues.

Pertinent questions are:

  • Can we distinguish, on principled grounds, which kinds of views fall inside the ethical limits of academic inquiry and which fall outside?
  • How is academic inquiry similar to or different form other kinds of speech?
  • What can this tell us about the justifiability of content restrictions?
  • How does the aim of excluding certain views from scholarly debate relate to the pursuit of truth?

Upcoming Events:

Bibliography: (Forthcoming)