Philosophy Professor Placed on Temporary Leave

Crispin Sartwell, former associate professor of philosophy.

Crispin Sartwell, former associate professor of philosophy.

A professor in the Dickinson philosophy department was placed on temporary leave on Thursday, March 3 in response to a series of blog posts in which he accused two philosophers at other schools of plagiarism.

Professors in the philosophy department told students on Thursday that Crispin Sartwell “has not been fired” but that “he is on temporary leave,” according to Chauncey Maher, philosophy department chair. Maher said that students in Sartwell’s two classes, political philosophy and Asian philosophy, will be updated on arrangements for covering his classes during his absence.

“We’re currently trying to devise a plan for proceeding with the semester, and trying to assure the students in his classes that we’re trying to move thoughtfully but quickly so that everyone can have as normal a semester as possible,” Maher said.

On his personal blog,, Sartwell claimed that he was fired over a “free speech” issue, but department members say that is not accurate, and that he has not been fired.

Elsewhere on the blog, Sartwell accuses at philosophers at the University of Oklahoma and Princeton University of plagiarizing his work. Sartwell embedded in the post a video of Miranda Lambert singing her song “Time to Get a Gun.” Sartwell says in his blog that “the Oklahoma authorities contacted the Dickinson Department of Public Safety” after seeing the accusation and video.

This post will be updated with additional details as they become available.