Thursday, February 16, 2006

Links and Notes

* I only read him occasionally, but philosophical maverick Crispin Sartwell is always an interesting read. He wrote a column on academic freedom a few weeks ago that's well worth reading.

* John Gregg has an interesting discussion of Daniel Dennett's philosophy of mind.

* Aspazia, guest-blogging at "Majikthise", has a post On Ambivalence Towards Critical Thinking. Unfortunately, I think she's right about the problem with teaching critical thinking, in part because critical thinking cannot be taught. If you have a class on critical thinking, it only meets its objective if the students take what they learn in the class in the spirit of critical thought; otherwise, they merely learn to outmaneuver people. It's the perpetual paradox: instead of producing critical thinkers, you produce sophists. The study of fallacies is a good example: you want students to learn how to avoid certainly fallacies, and inadvertently end up teaching them how to brand other people as fallacious, without any serious improvement in their ability to understand the other person's argument. We teach techniques and conclusions; we do not characters, intellectual any more than moral. I share some of the same concerns about much of what goes by the name of 'analytic philosophy', as well. (One thing that particularly bothers me is that the terms analytic philosophers usually use in their analyses -- intuition, proposition, property, sortal, etc. -- are in fact far more vague and ambiguous than the things they are usually analyzing. They raise a dust, and then come the complaints that they can't see.

* Oxford philosopher Peter Strawson has died. (The Times obituary, the Guardian obituary). One of his very famous articles is Freedom and Resentment.

* Chris has a good post on what framing analysis really is. In effect, it just does what used to go under the name of 'rhetoric'; the key difference being that it's a framework for doing it as cognitive science, with experimental support, etc.

* Ed Cook at "Ralph the Sacred River" reviews the graphic novel, Marked.

* The most recent God or Not carnival was on the subject of Faith.

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