Tuesday, July 3, 2012

An Introduction

Though I have made a number of posts defining and discussing various fallacies, I haven't actually provided anything like a mission statement or goal for the blog. I think it is about time. This blog grew out of my increasing interest in the topic of Critical Thinking; an interest that has increased over the years as I have been asked by various schools to teach more and more logic and critical thinking classes. Ethics used to be the class I taught the most, but nowadays it is critical thinking by a wide margin, and I think this is a good thing. In fact, I would go so far as to say that critical thinking is the most important class we teach in philosophy because this is the class that gives students the tools and resources to succeed in other classes and in life. We live in a world that is awash in information and, unfortunately, misinformation. Critical thinking is the best tool we have to distinguish these two, but, as with any tool, it is one that people need to learn how to use and practice using in order to become proficient at wielding it.

I started this blog because I was having trouble keeping track of all the examples of fallacies and errors in reasoning that I was coming across in my daily surfing of the web. Many of these were examples that I wanted to use in my classes, but when it would come time to teach I would lose track of them or forget where I saw them. In addition, when presenting examples in class, I would just show the example and move on, but my students didn't really have a good way to review and study them. I used to keep a list of links, but that amounted to a long list of urls that didn't have very good information about where those links led. Also, these links would often become outdated. It was really the last time I taught this class, when I realized that the bulk of my fallacy examples were campaign ads from 2008 that I realized something must be done. Finally, it dawned on me that a blog was the perfect solution to my problem. In addition to keeping track of all my old examples, I can easily update it when I come across new examples. The blog would always be available to students with access to the web who can study and review it at their leisure. This seemed to capture exactly what I was looking for.

Having decided to start a blog, the name seemed pretty obvious as it was Aristotle who was the first philosopher to attempt to articulate standards of reasonable discourse. Since I see myself as engaged in the same project he was, I see no problem borrowing the name that has been given to Aristotle's logical and critical thinking works: Organon.

With that being said, let me try and articulate something like a mission statement:
  1. This blog will provide up-to-date and well-researched examples of fallacies and other errors in reasoning drawn from current events and pop culture.
  2. This blog will be freely available to anyone who wishes to learn about critical thinking.
  3. This blog will be ad-free. I make enough money and I don't feel the need to exploit my students to increase my income.
  4. The comments of this blog will serve as an open forum for discussion of the issues raised in the posts. I welcome and encourage all comments, but demand a respectful tone and a commitment to increasing knowledge from all participants.
This website is, and will always be, a work in progress, so please leave me any suggestions or recommendations in the comments below. You can also always email me.

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