Alan Wilson

Alessandra Tanesini


Latest posts


How Closed-Mindedness Obstructs Effective Inquiry

Posted on 18 December 2017 by Quassim Cassam

In his recent book Debriefing the President: The Interrogation of Saddam Hussein, John Nixon describes his encounters with the two main protagonists of the 2003 Iraq war. Nixon, a senior leadership analyst for the CIA, was the first American to interrogate Saddam Hussein at length after his capture by U.S. forces. Nixon’s fascinating insights into
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What is Google Doing to Us?

Posted on 4 December 2017 by Emma C. Gordon

By J. Adam Carter and Emma C. Gordon Suppose you wanted to know who the first pope was after St. Peter (answer: Pope Linus, born 10 AD), or what the oldest continuously habited city in the world is (answer: Damascus, Syria, continuously inhabited since the 3rd millennium BC) or what the terrifying entity ‘Krampus’ is
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What is Closed-Mindedness?

Posted on 20 November 2017 by Heather Battaly

On March 7 2017, Jason Chaffetz who was then a member of the US House of Representatives (R-Utah) told a CNN anchor: “Americans have choices….rather than getting that new iPhone…they should invest…in their own health care. They’ve got to make those decisions for themselves.”[1] Later the same day, in a discussion of the Affordable Care Act
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How Empathy Inhibits Trust

Posted on 6 November 2017 by Olivia Bailey

In my previous blog post, “How empathy promotes trust,” I argued that empathy can furnish an important source of trust in other people’s testimony (testifying simply being the act of inviting people to take your word for it that something or other is true). I also mentioned that this positive relation of support is not
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How Empathy Promotes Trust

Posted on 23 October 2017 by Olivia Bailey

In the aftermath of the Dallas shootings on July 7, 2016, Hillary Clinton said: “We need to try as best we can to walk in one another’s shoes, to imagine what it would feel like if people followed us around stores or locked their car doors when we walked past.” Clinton was calling for a familiar
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Bad Questions Lead to Bad Democracy

Posted on 9 October 2017 by Lani Watson

In a previous post, I discussed the essential role that questions play in the political landscape of contemporary democracy. The ability to ask questions, and to ask good ones at that, facilitates participation in political discussion and debate, allows us to gather information that speaks to our concerns, and those of our communities, and enables
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Good Democracy Needs Good Questions

Posted on 25 September 2017 by Lani Watson

“If you were president, what would you do about Syria and the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo?” This question was asked to both candidates at the second U.S. presidential debate, during the run-up to the 2016 presidential election. As per the ‘town-hall’ format of the debate, the question was asked by a member of the public,
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The Ethics of Linguistic Plurality

Posted on 11 September 2017 by Matteo Bonotti

A guest post from co-authors Matteo Bonotti (Cardiff University) and Yael Peled (McGill University) How we think about language tends to significantly influence, if not shape, how we think about the political ethics of language, namely how we theorize language when considering the empirical and normative dimensions of political life.
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Collaboration versus point scoring

Posted on 5 June 2017 by Alessandra Tanesini

Last Monday we held the first workshop associated with the project Changing Attitudes in Public Debate. The workshop was by invitation and designed to bring together some philosophers, social psychologists and linguists that analyse the verbal and non-verbal aspects of conversations.
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Reducing arrogance in debate

Posted on 19 May 2017 by Alessandra Tanesini

In many Western democracies, public opinion seems to have become bitterly divided over increasingly divisive topics like immigration, Brexit, and the qualities of Donald J. Trump. People whose convictions are strongly opposed to each other treat discussions as duels or shouting matches.
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