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Our Mission

We believe that the pursuit of truth depends on the free exchange of ideas.

The University of Virginia has long been one of the world’s most vibrant scenes for research and exploration.  Think Again’s mission is to protect and promote what is best about UVA by asserting the foundational values of free speech, critical thinking, viewpoint diversity, and intellectual humility.  Think Again seeks to help UVA students thrive by encouraging them, as the great philosopher Ted Lasso once said, to be “curious, not judgmental.”


We believe that the pursuit of truth depends on the free exchange of ideas — both the good ones and the bad ones.  The best way to advance the truth is to identify mistakes and misperceptions by scrutinizing ideas from all sides.  Many times in human history, popular opinions have been proven wrong — from believing that the world is flat to denying the vote to women and Black Americans to arguing that UVA should not be a coed institution — and unpopular views at the time have turned out later to be true.  


In the words of the UVA Statement on Free Expression and Free Inquiry, we want to help students here become “empathetic speakers and generous listeners” who give others the benefit of the doubt.  At Think Again, we seek to promote civil, thoughtful conversations from all sides — both inside and outside the classroom — about the great issues of the day. 


Think Again operates as part of the Karsh Institute of Democracy, and has offices on the Corner.  It was created by UVA faculty from across the University who believe a world-class education can be advanced by: 

  • highlighting the benefits of free speech and the dangers of censorship;

  • pushing back against the intellectual over-confidence that drives intolerance, and making the case for intellectual humility — after all, each of us can be wrong in our opinions;

  • promoting the competition of ideas that drives critical thinking, in order to show students that the “conventional wisdom” may not always be right;

  • demonstrating the benefits of diverse viewpoints by showcasing policy areas in which dissenting views offer valuable insights into what is likely to create better lives for all Americans; 

  • And through it all, working across ideological lines and engaging in civil conversations to uncover shared goals despite disagreeing on means.


Think Again endorses the UVA Statement on Free Expression and Free Inquiry.


The director of Think Again is Prof. Mary Kate Cary.  You can read her bio here. You can also learn more about her and what motivates her in this candid interview from the Authentic: Conversations with Stock & Hicksy podcast.

Faculty Supporting Think Again

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