Students revived the philosophy journal “Light and Truth” last semester to “promote alternative viewpoints on Yale’s campus” through “thoughtful and rigorous essays, articles, and other works in philosophy, politics, and culture,” according to its website.

Co-Editor-in-Chief of “Light and Truth” Varun Sikand ’22 said that although past iterations of the magazine focused on conservative political philosophy, the current editors are trying to create a publication of interest to readers across the political spectrum.

“Depoliticizing questions of morality and humanity is one of our broader goals,” Sikand said. “We’re hoping that people don’t view this as a mouthpiece for some political end.”

Sikand recognized the difficulty of stripping politics from personal viewpoints. To prevent people from “slipping into ideological idleness,” the editors hope to find contributors with diverse political opinions and to place radically different articles next to each other.

Co-Editor-in-Chief Ethan Dodd ’22 was introduced to the magazine by political science professor Ian Shapiro. According to Dodd, his desire to revive the magazine stemmed from a significant hole in campus discourse. Dodd wants “Light and Truth” to ask why people are at Yale, why students pursue certain career paths and what brings people happiness.

According to Sikand, the editors seek for “Light and Truth” to promote intellectual discourse and inspire liberal arts students to think about education as an end in itself. Sikand said he hopes readers will find the content intellectually fulfilling.

Sikand said that while “Light and Truth” explores the “fundamental” and “timeless” questions posed in the western canon, the magazine’s distance from the classroom also allows it engage with the canon’s limitations. Sikand said that, since the magazine’s mission is to achieve “universal conversations,” it is important to recognize influential ideas that are not part of an established tradition.

According to Dodd, articles in the journal are written in a less-academic form, intended for fellow students rather than professors. Articles imitate the spirit of the Socratic dialogue: initiating a dialogue with the reader to evoke original thought.

“We want our readers to take nothing for granted,” Sikand said.

Currently, the website features articles such as “Liberty’s Erosion of Our Institutions” by Tommy Schacht ’21 and “Reform the Electoral College? I Agree” by Sikand. The magazine also includes original artwork by Dodd and Ethan Shim ’23. Dodd added that he hopes to include poetry and art which inspire philosophical contemplation.

Shim said that he has already noticed a clear focus on giving a platform to a diverse range of viewpoints. 

“I feel that the magazine favors productive dialogue and the search for truth over political biases,” Shim said. “I was excited to be able to create some artwork for the magazine, especially because it is more collaborative than the projects I have worked on.”

“Light and Truth” was last published in print in spring 2018.

Carrie Zhou |