Latest posts

Open for Debate

The Empathy Defense: Emmett Till, “Open Casket,” and ‘White Empathy’

Posted on 19 November 2018 by L. Ashley Atkins

“A painting of a dead black boy by a white artist.” This is British artist Hannah Black‘s description of Dana Schutz’s Open Casket, a painting included in the 2017 Whitney Biennial and one that Black has urged be destroyed. The ‘dead black boy’ is Emmett Till, a fourteen-year-old who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955,
Read more


Open for Debate

Bullshit You Can Believe In

Posted on 5 November 2018 by Jonathan Webber

One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. So begins Harry Frankfurt’s rightly celebrated essay On Bullshit, raising the important questions of precisely what bullshit is and why there is so much of it around. That sentence is particularly poignant now, three decades after it was first
Read more

Open for Debate

Changing minds through argumentation: Black Pete as a case study

Posted on 22 October 2018 by Catarina Dutilh Novaes

Views on the efficacy of argumentation to change minds in public discourse vary widely. On the one hand, there is a long-standing tradition that emphasizes the significance of argumentation and deliberation for public and civic life (Mill, Habermas etc.), in particular in resolving disagreements and leading to consensus. On the other hand, the well-documented phenomenon
Read more

Open for Debate

Why even bother with political debate?

Posted on 8 October 2018 by Karen Stohr

Debates about politics, whether in public forums or in private conversations, often seem to go nowhere. This is particularly true when the participants have diametrically opposed perspectives on how the world works and how it should work. Even when people manage to stay civil, which of course is not always the case, debating doesn’t usually
Read more