The Benefits of Disagreement

Posted on 17 June 2019 by Katherine Dormandy

Our world contains a whirlwind of claims and opinions, including about important matters like politics, ethics, and religion. In forming our own view, it is natural to find our way by taking the opinions of our friends, social media circles, and political and religious compatriots more seriously than outsiders’. After all, they share our values
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Argument Repair

Posted on 3 June 2019 by Catherine Hundleby

It’s easy to blame current problems with public discourse on the brevity of on-line communication. People are moving away from blogs to image exchanges. TLDR. Limited word counts (such as on Twitter) and the combination of immediacy with anonymity lend to verbal fighting. Quick comebacks receive rewards of “likes” and “thumbs up”. We might mitigate
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What Polarization Does to Us

Posted on 30 May 2019 by Robert B. Talisse

Commentators from across the political spectrum warn us that extreme partisan polarization is dissolving all bases for political cooperation, thereby undermining our democracy.  The near total consensus on this point is suspicious.  A recent Pew study finds that although citizens want politicians to compromise more, they tend to blame only their political opponents for the
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EPISTEMIC INJUSTICE: WHOSE JOB IS IT TO END IT?

Posted on 6 May 2019 by Lubomira Radoilska

Epistemic injustice refers to a category of harms that affect people specifically in their capacity as knowers, inquirers or communicators as opposed to fellow citizens, members of the moral community or rational agents more broadly. Examples include but are not limited to unwarranted distrust and denial of intelligibility with respect to experiences voiced by underprivileged
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What makes arrogant people so angry?

Posted on 22 April 2019 by Alessandra Tanesini

Arrogant people are often intolerant of questioning or criticism. They respond to genuine and even polite challenges with anger. They are bullies that attempt to humiliate and intimidate those who do not agree with, or explicitly defer to, their opinions. The arrogant feel superior to other people and arrogate for themselves special privileges. This sense of entitlement
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Objectification, Knowledge, and Pornography

Posted on 8 April 2019 by Aidan McGlynn

Objectification is treating or depicting a person as a mere thing. What does this involve? By now we’re all familiar with the idea that it’s an aspect of women’s subordinate status in society that they are sexually objectified: they are treated and depicted as sex objects. Practices such as sex work, pornography, street harassment, and
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Epicurus on Losing Arguments

Posted on 11 March 2019 by Scott F. Aikin

Epicurus’s Vatican Saying #74 runs: “the one who loses in a philosophical dispute gains more the more he learns.”  I remember reading that line as an undergraduate, thinking it curious and perhaps a bit perverse.  How would Epicurus himself apply this to his own views, after critique from the likes of Stoic, Skeptic, or Christian
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Empathetic Understanding in Politics

Posted on 25 February 2019 by Michael Hannon

What is the goal of political conversation? Why should we deliberate with others about politics? Democratic deliberation is said to benefit people in many ways. For example, it has been touted as a way to produce civic engagement, increase faith in democratic institutions, encourage a willingness to compromise, and make people better citizens overall.
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Intellectual humility: from views of knowledge to views of people

Posted on 28 January 2019 by Elizabeth Krumrei-Mancuso

Researchers have taken a number of approaches to defining intellectual humility. I tend to view intellectual humility as rooted in a healthy independence between intellect and ego (Krumrei-Mancuso & Rouse, 2016). What I mean by this is that intellectual humility involves accepting one’s intellectual fallibility without experiencing it as a threat to one’s sense of
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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
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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
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