Open for Debate

Improving moral education through neuroscience

Posted on 13 August 2018 by Hyemin Han

Thanks to the rapid development of science and technology, scholars interested in morality now have more sophisticated ways to do their research. To date, relatively simple methods, such as the interview and self-report questionnaire, have been available to study morality among human subjects. However, achievements in the field of neuroscience may provide researchers with more
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Speak Up!: Inquiry and Expressing Disagreement

Posted on 16 July 2018 by Casey Rebecca Johnson

In 1994, Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray published The Bell Curve.  In it, the authors notoriously argued that the difference in performance on IQ tests between members of different races is due to genetics rather than socialization.  They argued that the difference between African American average IQ scores and white American scores is caused, at
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Am I in an echo chamber?

Posted on 2 July 2018 by C. Thi Nguyen

Spend enough time tracking the liberal and conservative media worlds, and you’ll notice a certain symmetry in their accusations. Each side thinks that the other is living in an echo chamber. Each side thinks the other is blind to the truth because their informational community has been corrupted. The usual thought goes something like this:
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The Heart of Justice

Posted on 4 June 2018 by Paul Bloomfield

The ancient Greeks all thought of morality in terms of the virtues: justice, courage, temperance, and wisdom. And they all thought of the virtues as if they are like skills that can be learned. As Aristotle said, “…we become builders by building and lyre players by playing the lyre. So too we become just by
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Group membership, moral criticism and self-affirmation

Posted on 21 May 2018 by Matt Stichter

Public debates often involve issues that people find distressing, especially if they involve accusations of moral wrongdoing (even in the past) by groups with whom one identifies.  People want to avoid guilt ‘by association’ and maintain a general belief that they are good, rational, and moral creatures. Avoiding such feelings and maintaining such beliefs may,
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‘Implicit Bias’ in public discourse

Posted on 7 May 2018 by Jules Holroyd

The news has been awash with discussion of implicit bias, and the role it seems to have played in the discriminatory treatment of two black men in a Philadelphia branch of Starbucks in the US. Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson were waiting to meet a friend when they were asked to leave; when they declined
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Reflections on Transcribing Multimodal Texts

Posted on 26 March 2018 by Tom Martin

Since the election of Donald Trump in 2017 the media has often seemed to be in a continual state of shock at the brusque manner of the forty-fifth president’s speech. During the summer of 2017 I conducted a research project into transcription methods for multimodal discourse, contributing to the Changing Attitudes in Public Discourse study.
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Intellectual Humility and Conviction

Posted on 12 March 2018 by Duncan Pritchard

Here is a puzzle. On the one hand, we laud people in public life for their conviction, for sticking to their principles come what may. Indeed, we take to be crucial to someone’s authenticity. On the other hand, however, don’t we also think that it is important that those in public life are intellectually humble
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Explaining the puzzle of national shame

Posted on 26 February 2018 by Helen De Cruz

In the aftermath of the EU Referendum, I encountered many people who said to me, “I am ashamed to be British”, or, when confronted with the fallout of the referendum such as the lack of diplomacy exhibited by David Davis, May’s use of EU citizen rights as bargaining chips, or the failure to keep human
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The Multiple Ways to Criticise Stereotyping

Posted on 12 February 2018 by Kathy Puddifoot

Do you assume that the person wearing the uniform in the shop is a shop assistant, that the teacher enjoys the company of children, or that the vegan has a good level of self-control? It is widely accepted that thoughts like these that associate individuals with features due to their membership of social groups—i.e. stereotypes—are
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Arrogance and the Space of Reasons

Posted on 29 January 2018 by Michael P. Lynch

  A democracy is more than a form of government; it is primarily a mode of associated living, of conjoining communicated experience. —John Dewey[1]   One of the truly baffling things about the Trump era in the United States is that just when you think our political life could not become any more fractured, it
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How to Find Wisdom in a Divided Society

Posted on 1 January 2018 by Alex Huynh

It is not a debate that political division in the U.S., UK and many other European countries is at an all-time high. In the U.S., disagreement on the topics of race, national security, and environmental regulations—just to name a few—have increased during the Obama administration, and have continued to grow to record levels during President Trump’s
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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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