Monday, July 03, 2017

Does Philosophy Teach You To Reason Better?

   The great Neven Sesardic, via the mighty J. Carthensis.
   Our department wants us to emphasis this sort of thing to our intro students, but I always point out to them that it may very well all be one big post hoc fallacy for all we know. Philosophy certainly seems to have helped me be a better thinker...but, since I've never done graduate-level work in any other discipline, I have nothing to compare it to. Also, a lot of philosophers are pretty crappy reasoners. But, then, a lot of philosophers--like a lot of everybody--aren't all that bright.
   Sesardic also has a really interesting book, When Reason Goes On Holiday, detailing the totalitarian leftist leanings and activities of philosophers in the 20th Century. I'm only about 100 pages into it...and the tectonic action of the bookpile moved it under the top stratum a few months ago, but I recently excavated it and moved it back to active status:


Blogger Josh Stowers said...

CAN studying philosophy make you a better reasoner? Of course, but, this is trivial. WILL studying philosophy make you a better reasoner? Generally no, not all by itself. But it will make you better at passing as a better reasoner.

As in all things in life, individual results are heavily dependent on specific initial conditions, including taking the subject seriously and making a committed and persistent effort to reason clearly. Also, a real capacity for honest self-reflection. These things can be learned/developed over time, but not in an academic, lecture-based setting.

3:13 AM  
Blogger Josh Stowers said...

BTW as sales pitches go, "Learn how to think clearly" kinda sucks. What people actually hear is "You suck at thinking, but we can help" or "Learn how to convince people how right you are"

3:24 AM  

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