Below are the syllabus and materials for my Introduction to Philosophy course. You are welcome to use any of the material as a student or as an instructor. The usual creative commons license applies to my portion of this—i.e., only the stuff to which I would have a copyright. (If you are my student, remember that you can be quizzed on the contents of the syllabus.)
I. Introduction to Philosophy
Did you know that people who study philosophy make significantly fewer reasoning errors than others? (See Livengood et al 2010 and Byrd 2014). And did you know that philosophy majors outperform basically everyone else on the GRE? And did you know that the median mid-career salary for people who major in philosophy is $81,000? And did you know that philosophy majors were projected to be the top-paid humanities major in 2016? Find out more about philosophy majors here. And if you’ve never taken a philosophy class, you might want to read this 3-4 page intro. Continue reading Introduction to Philosophy: A Free Course
I took a few courses in biblical studies and Christian apologetics as an undergraduate. The courses definitely influenced my thinking, but not in the way that I expected.
For years, I intended to study engineering. In my senior year of high school, I was admitted to a public school with a decent engineering program. But late in the summer, I changed my mind. I had recently become a Christian and I was dating someone who was going to a Christian college. And apparently that was enough to convince 18-year-old-me that I should also go to a Christian college and study the Bible. (Aside: Can you believe that 18-year-old-me was allowed to vote and serve on a jury?)
I signed up for Christian apologetics courses — as well as biblical studies courses — hoping to find compelling arguments to rationalize my relatively new faith. At first, the arguments seemed compelling. I remember being excited to take the arguments to unbelieving friends back home and see what they had to say.
But the more I thought about the arguments, the less Continue reading My Experience with Christian Apologetics
On Saturday, I was on the Veracity Hill Podcast talking about the evidence that atheists and agnostics reason more reflectively (i.e., make fewer errors) than theists.
- What do we mean by ‘reflective’? And how do we measure reflection? Who counts as a theist? And how do we measure religiosity?
- What do these findings about atheists and theists tell us about atheism and theism (if anything)? And how might further research answer hitherto unanswered questions about how atheists and theists reason?
- What are some related findings? For instance, what does this have to do with other philosophical beliefs?
Continue reading Are Atheists More Reflective Than Theists?
When you step back and question your beliefs and assumptions, do you expect to change your mind? Should you? I think that reflective reasoning is supposed to change our minds. But it might not change our beliefs. Sometimes reflection reinforces our beliefs. And sometimes reflection makes our beliefs more extreme or partisan. I’ll explain below. Continue reading Is Reflective Reasoning Supposed To Change Your Mind?
Cognitive Science investigates the mind with methods and tools from various fields like computer science, neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy. Here are some popular cognitive science podcasts. I listen to almost all of them, so feel free to contact me if you have questions that are not answered in each podcast’s description below.
Continue reading 15+ Cognitive Science Podcasts
The 2016 US election has many people thinking about third party candidates. Good news: philosophers and others have been sorting out the ethics and rationality of voting for awhile now. I talk about the philosophy of third party voting with Kurt Jaros below:
Continue reading Considering Third Party Candidates? A Podcast Discussion