Critical Thinking Note 25: Knowledge and Understanding

Knowledge and understanding both require some critical thinking skill. But they aren’t the same thing and cultivating some understanding of how they differ is a worthy critical thinking exercise in itself. Here I’ll be concerned with propositional knowledge, knowledge of truths, as opposed to knowledge by acquaintance (knowing your friend) or know how (knowing how … Continue reading Critical Thinking Note 25: Knowledge and Understanding

Critical Thinking Note 24: Critical Thinking Basics

Twenty four notes into this series, it has been a while since we’ve laid out the basics. So, time for another pass. Critical Thinking is basically about getting at truths and avoiding falsehoods as best we can. So how do we tell if a proposition is true? The simple answer is to examine the evidence … Continue reading Critical Thinking Note 24: Critical Thinking Basics

Critical Thinking Note 23: An Exercise for Your Moral Imagination

Imagine your love is forbidden. Imagine that the kinds of relationships that animate your affection, bring meaning to your life and inspire your devotion are deemed taboo, intolerable, unacceptable to polite company in your society. If you happen to be LGBT or Q, this may be less an exercise of your imagination than mere contemplation … Continue reading Critical Thinking Note 23: An Exercise for Your Moral Imagination

Critical Thinking Note 21: Are we Incurably Unreasonable, Lazy, or Maybe just Poorly Trained?

We live in unreasonable times. This much seems clear. It’s not just that people are easily wounded, indignant on a dime, or chronically resentful, though we see plenty of that. But people also seem to be unreasonable in the more literal sense of just plain being unresponsive to reasoning. The ideas that people are hopelessly … Continue reading Critical Thinking Note 21: Are we Incurably Unreasonable, Lazy, or Maybe just Poorly Trained?

Race and Political Correctness

A few brilliant recent essays in the NY times on these topics. I’ve become a admirer of Charles Blow’s work lately. He illuminates some important points in moral psychology in this editorial. The key insight here is that moral injury and moral outrage are not the same thing and should probably be kept separate. Blow … Continue reading Race and Political Correctness

Research

  Towards a Property Theoretic Account of Counterfactuals Some Good and Some Not so Good Arguments for Necessary Laws Indignation and Hatred Climate Change vs Nihilism

Why you might not want to say “What’s True for You isn’t Necessarily What’s True for Me”

Here is a common sense view about truth. There is an external world that is the shared object of our experience and it is some ways but not others. To say the world is a certain way is just to say that it has some properties and lacks others. This is the standard issue common … Continue reading Why you might not want to say “What’s True for You isn’t Necessarily What’s True for Me”

Climate Change vs Nihilism: Leading Meaningful Lives in the Anthropocene

Many people already recognize moral reasons for driving less, eating less meat, supporting public policies aimed at mitigating climate change and so forth. And most will see acting on those moral reasons as calling for personal sacrifices for the sake of distant and future people and life. But the degree of sacrifice called for is … Continue reading Climate Change vs Nihilism: Leading Meaningful Lives in the Anthropocene

Critical Thinking Note 20: Climate Change

  Written in response to some discussion board activity in my online Intro to Philosophy: Some of you have referred to climate change a few times in our discussions, most recently in connection with trying to get clear on the difference between something being true and something being believed (or something “being true for someone” as … Continue reading Critical Thinking Note 20: Climate Change

Critical Thinking Note 13 Free Speech

  It’s been a little while since we put out a Critical Thinking note and this has partly been due to uncertainty about how to proceed given the loss of ALL BC-FYI. The note below was submitted to ALL BC-FYI Digest on Monday, but with no reply or explanation, it hasn’t run. I have worried … Continue reading Critical Thinking Note 13 Free Speech