CRITICAL THINKING - Fallacies: Straw Man Fallacy [HD]
April 17, 2016
In this Wireless Philosophy video, Joseph Wu (University of Cambridge) introduces you to the straw man fallacy. This fallacy is committed whenever someone misrepresents an opponent's claim in arguing against it.
In the second of a four part series, “Racial Ontology: A Guide for the Perplexed,” David Miguel Gray (Colgate University) introduces naturalist theory of race. Naturalist theories place questions of race in the domain of biology and appeal to physical properties to define what races are. Problems for developing naturalist theories are discussed as well as some solutions.
After many failed attempts to construct an analysis of knowledge, some philosophers began to wonder whether knowledge was resistant to analysis, and why that might be so. In this Wireless Philosophy video, Jennifer Nagel (University of Toronto) looks at the reasons why philosophers like Linda Zagzebski have thought that knowledge can’t be reductively analyzed, and explores the “Knowledge First” approach of Timothy Williamson.
Problems for the causal theory of knowledge led epistemologists to propose that knowledge is a matter of tracking the truth. Fred Dretske and Robert Nozick developed this idea using counterfactual conditions. In this Wireless Philosophy video, Geoff Pynn (Northern Illinois University) examines the tracking idea, consider how it improves on the causal theory, and then discuss some well known objections to the theories advanced by Dretske and Nozick.
Is knowledge a matter of being causally connected to the world in the right way? In this Wireless Philosophy video, Jennifer Nagel (University of Toronto) examines the causal theory of knowledge proposed by Alvin Goldman in 1967, and then discusses the problems with the causal theory that led Goldman to formulate his influential reliabilist theory of knowledge.
If we can’t analyze knowledge simply as justified true belief, can we add one more ingredient to produce a successful analysis? In this Wireless Philosophy video, Jennifer Nagel examines two ‘extra ingredient’ analyses of knowledge: Michael Clark’s ‘no false lemma’ analysis, and the fancier ‘no undefeated defeaters’ analysis of Keith Lehrer and Thomas Paxson.
Is knowledge the same as justified true belief? In this Wireless Philosophy video, Jennifer Nagel (University of Toronto) discusses a Gettier case, a scenario in which someone has justified true belief but not knowledge. We’ll look at a Gettier case from Edmund Gettier’s famous 1963 paper on this topic, and a structurally similar case from 8th century Classical Indian philosophy.
How do contemporary philosophers respond to the threat of skepticism? In this Wireless Philosophy video, Jennifer Nagel (University of Toronto) reviews the semantic (or meaning-based) theories of Hilary Putnam and David Chalmers, according to which skepticism either self-destructs, or isn’t as scary as you might think. She then examines the defensive approach of Timothy Williamson, an approach whose goal is not to convert you from being a skeptic back into believing in knowledge, but rather to protect you from becoming a skeptic in the first place.
In this Wireless Philosophy video, Jennifer Nagel (University of Toronto) looks at three historically influential responses to the challenge of skepticism. We start with René Descartes’s efforts to prove that God would not let us be chronically deceived. Next, we examine Bertrand Russell’s efforts to disprove the skeptic through a strategy called ‘inference to the best explanation’, and we finish with G. E. Moore’s common sense approach.
Is knowledge humanly possible? In this video, Jennifer Nagel (University of Toronto) looks at skeptical arguments, starting with Ancient Greek and Chinese philosophy, and moving forward into contemporary brain-in-a-vat scenarios. We’ll review a variety of reasons to worry that knowledge might be impossible, and we’ll examine the difference between global and local forms of skepticism.
In this video, Jennifer Nagel (University of Toronto) launches our Theory of Knowledge series. We look at the line between knowing and just believing something, focusing on factors like truth and confidence.
In this video, Elizabeth Brake (Arizona State University) discusses Care Ethics, a normative ethical view that has been ignored in much of moral philosophy. After introducing Care Ethics, she discusses its application to marriage and political rights. This is the 5th and final part of the series on Government and Marriage.
In this video, Elizabeth Brake (Arizona State University) discusses polyamory, the practice of having more than one sex and love partners, and its moral and legal considerations. This is part 4 of a series on Government and Marriage.
In the first of a four part series, “Racial Ontology: A Guide for the Perplexed,” David Miguel Gray (Colgate University) introduces general problems philosophers face when they ask the question “What kind of thing is Race?”. In particular, what fields of inquiry should study race, if there can be racial ‘experts’, and what an account of race should look like if it is to capture the issues we care about.
Chris Surprenant (University of New Orleans) discusses the account of human well-being and the good life presented by Friedrich Nietzsche in his moral, political, and religious writings. He explains why Neitzsche believes that living a full human life requires rational reflection and taking a cautious attitude toward conventional moral categories. JP Messina (UC San Diego) assisted in the production of content for this video.
Often it can seem like the existence of evil is incompatible with a good and omnipotent God. This video present an argument for that claim put forward by J.L. Mackie, and it examines the different ways that Classical Theism and Theistic Personalism respond to a version of it that concludes that there is no God.

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