The Decline of Intergenerational Communication

by Mark English Prompted by some recent discussions on this site and elsewhere about generational divisions, I thought I would put together a few observations, personal thoughts and speculations on the general topic of intergenerational communication. It’s well known that someone who grows up in a non-literate society is ‘wired’ very differently from someone who grows up with the written […]

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Critical Thinking After the Second World War

by Michael Boyle In my first essay on critical thinking, I focused on the period prior to and during the Second World War. In this essay, I wish to follow the narrative into the post-war years, focusing on two somewhat forgotten scholars (at least in philosophy and, more specifically, critical thinking, as taught in philosophy departments in the US): Stephen Toulmin […]

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The Scrooge Charade

By David Ottlinger “Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias.” [1] Ladies and gentleman, I have lately been informed of a “grand deception” and “lie”, enthralling millions across the country. This epidemic is the cause of widespread un-critical thinking and is a major […]

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Let’s Cease the Santa Charade

By: David Kyle Johnson The notion that we should lie to our children about Santa Claus enjoys a kind of sacred protection that modern religious beliefs can only dream of in the Western world. Don’t believe me? This very year, a mother in California was threatened with a lawsuit because her son spilled the beans about Santa at school. [1] […]

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That’s Not Funny

By David Ottlinger One good thing to come in the wake of these frequently misguided and often intolerant student protests has been a real and surprisingly hopeful national conversation about public discourse. I can’t remember a time when so much energy (and printer’s ink) has gone into debating free speech and censorship. I want to focus on one small area […]

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The God Non-Hypothesis

by David Ottlinger “The problem of evil, in the sense in which I am using this phrase, is essentially a logical problem: it sets the theist the task of clarifying and if possible reconciling the several beliefs which he holds. It is not a scientific problem that might be solved by further discoveries…” [1]                                                                                          -JL Mackie, The Miracle of […]

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Repugnant Thoughts

By: Daniel Tippens When I was a teenager, I regularly attended church, I was actively engaged in the youth group, and even played the drums in the church band. One thing that I was taught and took as unquestionable moral dogma was that having certain thoughts was morally bad, simply by virtue of having them. It wasn’t just that acting […]

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A Course for Critical Thinking

By Michael Boyle In light of Dan Kaufman’s recent essay on the humanities, I’d like to sketch out an example of one kind of response, in one small humanities course, to some of the problems that he has identified. Not coincidentally, we are friends and colleagues, teaching in the same department, and so his concerns regarding the challenges facing humanities […]

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