How Philosophers Think
Should some topics be out of bounds for rational discussion?
Yesterday I posted something about poor Richard Dawkins and how he has been attacked on social-media lately about some thought experiments he tweeted which got some people going. Well if you want some insight into philosophical thought, and of course it’s profound and practical value in spite of what Neil deGrasse Tyson might say, check out Dawkin’s response to the outrage over some of those thought experiments. I think he handled it well, and made perfectly sound and rational arguments about the problem with mixing emotions and logic. And as you read this, and you read the topics he choose for those thought experiments, consider your own reactions and thoughts.
“There are those whose love of reason allows them to enter such disagreeable hypothetical worlds and see where the discussion might lead. And there are those whose emotions prevent them from going anywhere near the conversation. Some of these will vilify and hurl vicious insults at anybody who is prepared to discuss such matters. Some will pursue active witch-hunts against moral philosophers for daring to consider obnoxious hypothetical thought experiments.”
Dawkins also shows a bit of why there are aspects of his thinking, his commitment to rational thought, that I do admire. Now if only he could point that sharp, rational & philosophical acumen on his own blind dismissal and judgement of metaphysical or spiritual aspects of humanity!
#philosophy #moralphilosophy #richarddawkins
How to Argue Effectively
Although I have always disagreed with Dennett’s views on consciousness (wrote a graduate paper once critiquing his view and titled it “Consciousness UN-Explained”), he is still an exceptional philosopher and is bang-on with these simple suggestions for critical commentary – especially for online commenting.
How to compose a successful critical commentary:
1: You should attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly, and fairly that your target says, “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.
2: You should list any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).
3: You should mention anything you have learned from your target.
4: Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.
#criticalthinking #danieldennett #philosophy
Developing Moral Wisdom
Exceptional article on the psychological concepts of categorization and framing, and how these relate to the development of practical moral reasoning skills and wisdom. Basically an overview of Practical Wisdom by Barry Schwartz
“Practical wisdom demands more than the skill to be perceptive about others. It also demands the capacity to perceive oneself—to assess what our own motives are, to admit our failures, to figure out what has worked or not and why… Such self-reflection is not always so easy when … we feel we’ve been wronged. And it’s also difficult when we’ve been wrong — thoughtless, careless, too self-interested. Being able to criticize our own certainties is often a painful struggle, demanding some courage as we try to stand back and impartially judge ourselves and our own responsibility.”
#moralreasoning #wisdom #psychology