Ethical Realism

April 27, 2012

Introduction to Argument Mapping & Critical Thinking (Ebook/PDF, updated 12/5/2012)

You can download a free short introduction to critical thinking & argument mapping. Go here for more information.

I have made a comprehensive introduction to argument mapping and critical thinking in the form of an ebook. There is evidence that argument mapping is the most effective way to learn critical thinking. Argument maps are visual representations of arguments that help us understand how arguments work, and what it takes to make a good argument.

This ebook is no longer available for free on the website because I am considering publishing it. If you would like to use it for free to teach a class, you can send me a message with information about who you are, the school you work at, and how you plan on using it in the class. I would also require that you give me feedback. You can send me a message using the form below.

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February 2, 2012

Beliefs Are Innocent Until Proven Guilty Part 2

Filed under: epistemology,philosophy — JW Gray @ 9:10 am
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This is part 2. You should read part 1 first.

I have argued that beliefs are innocent until proven guilty and various objections have been raised to this position and my arguments. I will provide some clarification and respond to various objections here. (more…)

April 20, 2011

Three Types of Intuitive Arguments

Our arguments depend on assumptions. We prefer these assumptions to be intuitive and coherent with our other justified beliefs rather than counterintuitive and incompatible with our other justified beliefs. We might not be able to fully explain how we know “1+1=2” but we find it to be an intuitive belief, and we think it’s absurd (and perhaps incoherent) to deny that it’s true. Intuitive arguments are not only very common in philosophy, but it’s possible that all our justifications are grounded in intuition in one way or another. (more…)

June 24, 2010

Knowledge, Justification, and Theoretical Virtues

Filed under: epistemology,philosophy — JW Gray @ 3:56 am
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We don’t always think about what really makes our beliefs justified or rational but we tend to be pretty good at identifying which beliefs are justified or rational anyway. We can often take a uncontroversial example of a justified belief then assess why another belief is or isn’t justified by how similar (or analogous) it is to the uncontroversial one. For example, the belief in the law of gravity is a good example of a highly justified belief. It is rational to hold such a belief (in part) because of how well it helps us predict the future. However, the belief that energy can be created or destroyed seems to be unjustified insofar as it has never helped us predict the future. (more…)

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