Where science meets art. The only necessary and sufficient book store in Melbourne.
Hope our friends enjoy the new look and feel – now optimised for mobile devices for access on the go.
Coordinator: Peter Ellerton
Web guy: Jason Etheridge
- A nice Philosophy of Mind summary
- The power of categorical logic
- What exactly is the scientific method and why do so many people get it wrong?
- Paralympic athletes faster than olympic athletes — what does this tell us about difference?
- Logic: if + then = why? How can we understand the power of logic?
- How do we ensure we are exposed to new ideas? A parody with bite.
- A Life of Meaning (Reason Not Required) – What is the nature of our relationship with reason?
- Can you name this cognitive bias?
- By what measures can we value human life?
- Teaching philosophy improves standardised scores
- Are we in control of our own decisions?
- Neuroscience and education: myths and messages
- Free will is not as free as we think – and that’s ok.
- Where’s the Proof in Pseudoscience?
- Science in the lead?
USEFUL RSS FEEDS
- The Lesson History Teaches Is Tragic
- How We Went From ‘Soup Nazis’ to Real Nazis
- What Kind of Problem Is Climate Change?
- Do We Really Understand ‘Fake News’?
- The Beauty of the Ordinary
- Why Are Poor Women Poor?
- Should Work Be Passion, or Duty?
- Don’t Dismiss ‘Safe Spaces’
- Why Philosophers Shouldn’t Sign Petitions
- Dear God, Are You There?
- Dangerous Minds: Nietzsche, Heidegger, & the Return of the Far Right by Ronald Beiner
- News: October/November 2019
- Schopenhauer’s Flight of the Valkyries
- Shelley Matheis’ Cartoon
- Goading Gladiators
- Michel Serres (1930-2019)
- The Mind of Leonardo da Vinci
- Conceptual Origami
- Philosophical Outlook & Mental Well-Being
- Why Do Some People Need Less Sleep? It's in Their DNA
- Happier Babies Have an Edge
- Is Moral Relativism Really a Problem?
- Latitude Adjustment: Distance from the Equator Shapes Our Thinking
- Ancient Teeth Reveal Social Stratification Dates Back to Bronze Age Societies
- How Mere Humans Manage to Comprehend the Vastness of the Universe
- Artificial Intelligence Learns to Talk Back to Bigots
- Sleep Deprivation Shuts Down Production of Essential Brain Proteins
- The Fearful Mind
- It's Time for a World without Gender
- A circular economy for salt that keeps rivers clean | Tina Arrowood
- How family separation at the US-Mexico border affects children's mental health | Luis H. Zayas
- An app that helps incarcerated people stay connected to their families | Marcus Bullock
- How we can eliminate child sexual abuse material from the internet | Julie Cordua
- After billions of years of monotony, the universe is waking up | David Deutsch
- Revelations from a lifetime of dance | Judith Jamison and members of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
- What Bruce Lee can teach us about living fully | Shannon Lee
- How we're using DNA tech to help farmers fight crop diseases | Laura Boykin
- A personal plea for humanity at the US-Mexico border | Juan Enriquez
- A radical plan to end plastic waste | Andrew Forrest
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Exploring the relationship between cognitive skills and the values of inquiry. Grey boxes describe student work. This can be used to generate rubrics.
A model for understanding effective thinking through categorising key educational ideas and examining the relationships between them.
Belief in a flat Earth seems a bit like the attempt to eradicate polio – just when you think it’s gone, a pocket of resistance appears. But the “flat Earthers” have always been with us; it’s just that they usually operate under the radar of public awareness.
Now the rapper B.o.B has given the idea prominence through his tweets and the release of his single Flatline, in which he not only says the Earth is flat, but mixes in a slew of other weird and wonderful ideas.
These include the notions that the world is controlled by lizard people, that certain celebrities are cloned, that Freemasons manipulate our lives, that the sun revolves around the Earth and that the Illuminati control the new world order. Not bad for one song.
Even ignoring that these ideas are inconsistent (are we run by lizards, the Freemansons or the Illuminati?), what would inspire such a plethora of delusions? The answer is both straightforward, in that it is reasonably clear in psychological terms, and problematic, in that it can be hard to fix. Continue reading
Peter Ellerton, The University of Queensland
When a group of Australians was asked why they believed climate change was not happening, about one in three (36.5%) said it was “common sense”, according to a report published last year by the CSIRO. This was the most popular reason for their opinion, with only 11.3% saying their belief that climate change was not happening was based on scientific research.
Interestingly, the same study found one in four (25.5%) cited “common sense” for their belief that climate change was happening, but was natural. And nearly one in five (18.9%) said it was “common sense” that climate change was happening and it was human-induced.
It seems the greater the rejection of climate science, the greater the reliance on common sense as a guiding principle.
Former prime minister Tony Abbott also appealed to “common sense” when arguing against gay marriage recently.
But what do we mean by an appeal to common sense? Presumably it’s an appeal to rationality of some sort, perhaps a rationality that forms the basis of more complex reasoning. Whatever it is, we might understand it better by considering a few things about our psychology. Continue reading
Peter Ellerton, The University of Queensland
The idea of a thinking machine is an amazing one. It would be like humans creating artificial life, only more impressive because we would be creating consciousness. Or would we?
It’s tempting to think that a machine that could think would think like us. But a bit of reflection shows that’s not an inevitable conclusion.
To begin with, we’d better be clear about what we mean by “think”. A comparison with human thinking might be intuitive, but what about animal thinking? Does a chimpanzee think? Does a crow? Does an octopus?
A new paper on teaching critical thinking skills in science has pointed out, yet again, the value of giving students experiences that go beyond simple recall or learned procedures.
It is a common lamentation that students are not taught to think, but there is usually an accompanying lack of clarity about exactly what that might mean.
There is a way of understanding this idea that is conceptually easy and delivers a sharp educational focus – a way that focuses on the explicit teaching of thinking skills through an inquiry process, and allows students to effectively evaluate their thinking.
What are thinking skills?
Let’s first understand what we might mean by thinking skills. Thinking skills, or cognitive skills, are, in large part, things you do with knowledge. Things like analysing, evaluating, synthesising, inferring, conjecturing, justifying, categorising and many other terms describe your cognitive events at a particular functional level. Continue reading
The old adage that children should be seen and not heard is nothing but wishful thinking. Children are naturally inquisitive and they usually can’t help verbalising their curiosity.
Asking “why?” is the most natural thing that children can do as they attempt to make sense of the world. This simple – and tough – question allows them to construct a wide range of knowledge and to build a depth of understanding. Continue reading
Working together for critical thinking in schools
One of the most desirable characteristics of school graduates is that they can think critically. This helps them individually and also helps the societies in which they will play a role. It’s a game in which no one loses. So why is it so difficult to achieve?
Teaching critical thinking is not something that teachers are explicitly trained to do – in fact very few people are. Nor does the curriculum generally demand it. Too often an instructing syllabus focuses on the recall of content, and this in turn forms the basis for assessment.
How to teach all students to think critically
All first year students at the University of Technology Sydney could soon be required to take a compulsory maths course in an attempt to give them some numerical thinking skills.
The new course would be an elective next year and mandatory in 2016 with the university’s deputy vice-chancellor for education and students Shirley Alexander saying the aim is to give students some maths “critical thinking” skills.
This is a worthwhile goal, but what about critical thinking in general?
Most tertiary institutions have listed among their graduate attributes the ability to think critically. This seems a desirable outcome, but what exactly does it mean to think critically and how do you get students to do it?
The problem is that critical thinking is the Cheshire Cat of educational curricula – it is hinted at in all disciplines but appears fully formed in none. As soon as you push to see it in focus, it slips away.
Is this a good analogy?
Discuss (1) this analogy and the (2) image below.
(1) Here is the source article for the analogy.
“That’s the thing. The reason why we would be hesitant to endorse it is that – what normal person would be paid to do something so compromising as raping a human being? But yet we have this idea that we can kill someone in a way that doesn’t implicate us. If it’s not right to torture someone for torture, abuse someone for abuse, rape someone for rape, then how can we think we can kill someone for killing?”