10 Philosophical Principles

From John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, Aristotle’s ‘mean’ philosophy to the principle of charity, here are the greatest principles of philosophy By JULIAN BAGGINI, Editor of The Philosopher’s Magazine

1. THE HARM PRINCIPLE

by JOHN STUART MILL, 1806-1873 Whenever legislation is proposed that limits our freedoms, someone will reach for Mill’s On Liberty and point to the passage that says, ‘The sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant.’ What could be clearer? Except it isn’t clear: it depends on what you mean by harm. Does hate speech harm minorities? Does sexist language harm women, by making them less credible in the eyes of society? Philosophical principles are like credit agreements: the headlines are convincing, but the small print catches you out.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-1279320/Ten-greatest-Philosophical-principles.html#ixzz29Dt0oHSw

Here’s a pdf…  Ten of the greatest: Philosophical principles

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The Fallacy of Deepest Offence

Are all ideas equal? Not in the classroom

By Peter Ellerton, University of Queensland

There is a widespread belief amongst teachers that it is part of their duty of care, even a defining aspect of their professionalism, that all views expressed in the classroom are to be treated equally.

I take it as one of my first duties to challenge this. The right to have a view is indeed equally shared, but this is does not imply the same for the idea itself. If all ideas are equal, then all ideas are worthless.

Continue reading

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Philosophy Graduate Abilities

Data on the performance of Philosophy graduates. Click to enlarge.

   

More info here.  Note that the philosophy students perform outstandingly well in verbal and writing skills and are the best of the non-quatitative areas in quantitative reasoning.

 

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Fallacies Poster

A lovely job from http://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/  please visit the site for interactive presentation.

Click to enlarge

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What Truth Doesn’t Mean

The truth, the whole truth and … wait, how many truths are there?

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Calling something a “scientific truth” is a double-edged sword. On the one hand it carries a kind of epistemic (how we know) credibility, a quality assurance that a truth has been arrived at in an understandable and verifiable way.

On the other, it seems to suggest science provides one of many possible categories of truth, all of which must be equal or, at least, non-comparable. Simply put, if there’s a “scientific truth” there must be other truths out there. Right?

Let me answer this by reference to the fingernail-on-the-chalkboard phrase I’ve heard a little too often:

“But whose truth?” Continue reading

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Can science answer questions about morality?

Sam Harris on TED

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The Language of Science

Listen and learn: the language of science and scepticism

Peter Ellerton
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Making sure what’s intended is what’s heard can be more difficult than it seems.
Melvin Gaal (mindsharing.eu)

As scientists, one of our responsibilities should be to promote clarity. A lot of problems are caused by an incorrect or incomplete understanding of terms we regularly, and even lovingly, use.

When I use the word “evidence”, what I think I mean is a function of many things, not least my education in science and philosophy.

It’s also the product of many discussions with people about science, superstition, psychology, pseudoscience and subjectivity.

These discussions have added nuance to my understanding of the nature of evidence. They’ve also alerted me to the fact this nature changes in certain circumstances and through certain worldviews. In other words, what I intend to say is sometimes heard as something else entirely.

This type of miscommunication can be bad enough when dealing with someone who isn’t using the terms in a scientific way, but it’s particularly frustrating when it happens when talking to teachers and communicators of science.

I’d like to take a shot, then, at defining some key terms in the name of clarity. Continue reading

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Analysis of Critical Thinking in Climate Science

No one likes to change their mind, not even on climate

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People put up all kinds of psychological barriers to changing their minds.
Thomas Galvez

Last night’s ABC documentary I Can Change Your Mind About Climate was about two people — conservative former politician Nick Minchin and youth activist Anna Rose — exposing themselves to information that ran counter to their deeply held beliefs. We know from both research and experience that people cling to information that is in line with their beliefs and worldviews, even when they suspect or even know the information to be false. In other words, people will defend their beliefs. To do so they engage in “motivated reasoning”. Continue reading

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Post hoc ergo propter hoc or False Cause – Correlation does not imply causation

Another legend from Dilbert.

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Philosophy — What’s the Use?

Are you looking to see why teaching philosophy is important?  Another great article from NYTimes The Stone

Almost every article that appears in The Stone provokes some comments from readers challenging the very idea that philosophy has anything relevant to say to non-philosophers.  There are, in particular, complaints that philosophy is an irrelevant “ivory-tower” exercise, useless to any except those interested in logic-chopping for its own sake.

pdf here

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What Democracy is not…

Discuss.

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The Fallacy of ‘Deepest Offence’

The Fallacy of ‘Deepest Offence’

By Peter Ellerton

 image via here

Nothing is so central to a liberal society as the right to discuss ideas. Not being able to do this at all is totalitarianism – the banning of discussing, and even thinking about, unsanctioned ideas.  So where on the continuum of control can we comfortably sit?  Some would say only on the absolute edge of the former.  Others may find that too extreme a view.  Certainly the further we move away from unfettered public speech the murkier become the waters, with calls of and for censorship beginning after the first paddle stroke.

But this essay is not about that.  This essay is about where this boundary lies for and within individuals.  It is about exploring that most cherished of hurts, the pain of being offended. Continue reading

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Another Double Blind Test surprise

Stradivarius Fails Sound Test Versus Newbie Violins

Download pdf (from sciam)

Can you tell the difference between modern violins and antiques crafted by Italian masters? Don’t feel too bad – expert players can’t do it either. In a double-blind test, 21 experienced violinists were unable to tell the difference between rare, old instruments and new ones. The study is in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. [Claudia Fritz et al, Player preferences among new and old violins] Continue reading

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When Should Science be Censored?

Calls to censor details of potential killer flu via ABC News

The suppression of breakthrough research into deadly bird flu strains has been labelled scientific censorship by some, but others say it is a necessary step to prevent a possible biological attack.

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Truth

Discuss…

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Correlation Does Not Imply Causation

Another classic from Dilbert

See also  Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc

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Philosophical Zombies

From the concept by Chalmers.  Could humans exist that are not conscious?  The extract below is from his site.

Philosophical zombies

It is philosophical zombies that I’m most interested in here, since I’m a philosopher and they raise very interesting issues. The sort I’m most concerned with are zombies that are physically and behaviorally identical to a conscious human, but lack any conscious experience. As in this case-study of my own zombie twin, for example.

Most people doubt that zombies could exist in the actual world. (In philosophical terms, they are naturally impossible.) But many people think that they are at least logically possible – i.e. that the idea of zombie is internally consistent, and that there is at least a “possible world” where zombies exist. This logical possibility is sometimes used to draw strong conclusions about consciousness (e.g. in my book The Conscious Mind, and elsewhere). Continue reading

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The Coherentist’s Nightmare

The coherency theory of truth

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Harvard Justice Series: The Moral Side of Murder

Part One:

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Benefits of Collaborative Philosophical Inquiry in Schools

Stephan Millett & Alan Tapper
Centre for Applied Ethics and Philosophy, Curtin University 

If you need to show why doing collaborative philosophical inquiry, or just philosophy, in schools is important, this is a good place to start.

        via EPAT – Abstract below

In the past decade well-designed research studies have shown that the practice of collaborative philosophical inquir y in schools can have marked cognitive and social benefits. Student academic performance improves, and so too does the social dimension of schooling. These findings are timely, as many countries in Asia and the Pacific are now contemplating introducing Philosophy into their curricula.This paper gives a brief history of collaborative philosophical inquiry before surveying the evidence as to its effectiveness.The evidence is canvassed under two categories: schooling and thinking skills; and schooling, socialisation and values. In both categories there is clear evidence that even short-term teaching of collaborative philosophical inquiry has marked positive effects on students.The paper concludes with suggestions for further research and a final claim that the presently-available research evidence is strong enough to warrant implementing collaborative philosophical inquiry as part of a long-term policy.

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