Current Happenings and Future Plans for the Blog

Life has been quite hectic lately. It’s increasingly difficult to find time to write on the blog. I should have more time to write a few weeks from now, and once that time comes I should be able to make progress on a lot of the ideas I’ve been wanting to develop here. For theContinue reading “Current Happenings and Future Plans for the Blog”

Evaluating a Premise: Get the Categories Right

This is another brief, but important, note within our discussion of evaluating claims that people make while trying to prove a point. The shortest way to say this is that there is more than one type of claim. You should evaluate claims based upon the category into which they fit. I could see this summaryContinue reading “Evaluating a Premise: Get the Categories Right”

Evaluating a Premise: More on Basic Beliefs

In a previous post in this series, I discussed what are called properly basic beliefs. Because this is a frequently misunderstood idea in my experience thus far, I thought I’d add a dedicated but brief exposition of the idea and when it is and is not appropriate. A really great example of this goes backContinue reading “Evaluating a Premise: More on Basic Beliefs”

Evaluating a Premise: Weighing Evidence with Bayes’ Theorem

When we are involved in important discussions, it is important to not take pivotal claims of others – or ourselves – merely at face value. Instead, we debate the various available ideas. That is, we bring forth evidence that we have thought about and that we believe supports our position, and we listen to theContinue reading “Evaluating a Premise: Weighing Evidence with Bayes’ Theorem”

Evaluating a Premise: What Does it Mean to “Know”?

One of the most common and comical aspects of the lives of very young children that I find quite joyful can be summarized in one word… “Why?” Well, it is more like a sequence of these “Why” questions over and over again until your head is about to explode. Even though there is a sillinessContinue reading “Evaluating a Premise: What Does it Mean to “Know”?”

Evaluating a Premise: The Burden of Proof

One important aspect of philosophical arguments is whether or not there exist any “default positions.” That is, if I am trying to convince someone about X and that person is trying to convince me of the opposite of X, is either of us in some kind of default position? When is an idea innocent untilContinue reading “Evaluating a Premise: The Burden of Proof”

Valid and Sound Arguments

This is the first post I am making in what will hopefully become a long and detailed series of posts about how to think more clearly about difficult questions. Since we ought to try to think clearly in every domain of life, we must begin the discussion at the broadest level, with the most importantContinue reading “Valid and Sound Arguments”

Intro to Series: Thinking Clearly and Critically

We hear so often how important critical thinking is for succeeding in the job market, in the world, however you want to say it. Critical thinking is put forward as a difference-maker that separates success from failure. And for good reason – by definition, critical thinking is the practice of not taking statements at faceContinue reading “Intro to Series: Thinking Clearly and Critically”

Do “Monkey-Typewriter” Arguments Work?

There is a famous analogy that is used in discussion of highly improbable events – that of monkeys sitting at a typewriter, banging away at the keys. It is said in this parable that, given enough time, the monkey will type out Hamlet, or a Shakespeaean sonnet, or the complete works of Shakespeare, or someContinue reading “Do “Monkey-Typewriter” Arguments Work?”

An Ethical Exploration of Looting and Rioting

After the horrible death of George Floyd recently, there have been a lot of riots. This is something we expect, but less expected are the many instances of looting that have been done in the name of protest against this injustice. This is a much less common and much less discussed phenomena. How do weContinue reading “An Ethical Exploration of Looting and Rioting”