In this video, Geoff Pynn (Northern Illinois University) follows up on his introduction to critical thinking by exploring how abductive arguments give us reason to believe their conclusions. Good abductive arguments don't guarantee their conclusions, but give us very good reasons to believe their conclusions. This sort of inference is called "inference to the best explanation."
The Monty Hall problem is a strange result arising from a very simple situation. In this video, Bryce Gessell (Duke University) explains why it seems so counterintuitive and why the solution isn't counterintuitive at all.
In the second of two videos, Adela Deanova (Duke) introduces Margaret Cavendish, an early modern English philosopher, and discusses the background to her critique of experimental philosophy. This video is a part of a series of videos coming from Project Vox (Duke), a project recovering the lost voices of women philosophers.
In the first of two videos, Adela Deanova (Duke) introduces Margaret Cavendish, an early modern English philosopher, and discusses the background to her critique of experimental philosophy. This video is a part of a series of videos coming from Project Vox (Duke), a project recovering the lost voices of women philosophers.
In part 2, Andrew Janiak (Duke) further introduces Emilie Du Chatelet, a French philosopher, and her contribution to the debate about the principle of sufficient reason. This video is a part of a series of videos coming from Project Vox (Duke), a project recovering the lost voices of women philosophers.
Does our ordinary notion of a “true self” simply pick out a certain part of the mind? Or is this notion actually wrapped up in some inextricable way with our own values and ideals?
In this video, Molly Gardner (UNC) introduces the nonidentity problem. This problem arises in cases where an individual appears to be wronged by the very action upon which his or her own existence depends. We’ll see why this problem has implications for reproductive choices, genetic engineering, and whether we should take care of the environment for the sake of future generations.
In this video, Michael Campbell introduces the Sleeping Beauty problem. This is a problem in formal epistemology about how to correctly assign probabilities to an odd scenario in which we flip a coin and, depending on the outcome, wake Sleeping Beauty up according to two different patterns. We’ll discover some very strange consequences for our beliefs as a result.
In this video, Paul Henne (Duke University) explains the post-hoc-ergo-propter-hoc fallacy. This is an informal fallacy committed when a person reasons that because one event happened after another event, the first event caused the second. He also discusses why it is sometimes hasty to conclude that your cat scratch caused your fever.
Philosophy: Conditionals Pt. 4
February 13, 2015
In this video, Justin Khoo (MIT) picks up where part 3 (http://youtu.be/Oxt1DdfT8ME) left off. He introduces the Conditional Assertion Theory of conditionals, which aims to resolve the problems presented for the other theories of conditionals. In the end, Justin presents yet another problem for this radical new theory.
In this video, Jordan MacKenzie discusses a type of informal fallacy known as the argumentum ad populum fallacy, or the appeal to the people fallacy. This fallacy occurs when one attempts to establish the truth of a conclusion by appealing to the fact that the conclusion is widely believed to be true.
In this Wireless Philosophy video, a Yale University philosopher builds on the understanding of necessary and sufficient conditions laid out in her previous video on the topic (youtu.be/5LqNm9d2__I). In addition to providing further illustrative examples, Kelley addresses a new complexity: that our judgments of necessity and sufficiency very often rely on implicit background assumptions. Kelley also tackles the difficult question "What's so important about distinguishing necessary from sufficient conditions anyway?".
Julia Markovits (Cornell University) gives an introduction to the moral theory of utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is the view that the right moral action is the one that maximizes happiness for all.
Philosophy: Conditionals Pt. 3
January 16, 2015
In part 3 of the series on conditionals, Justin picks up where part 2 (http://youtu.be/Xs6E-FEls1c) leaves off, introducing an alternative theory of conditionals: the strict conditional theory. According to the strict theory, conditionals express necessary connections between their antecedent and consequent. Justin shows how this theory avoids the problems facing the material conditional theory. However, the strict theory turns out to face a similar problem of its own!
Philosophy: Conditionals Pt. 2
January 10, 2015
Justin Khoo (M.I.T.) invites us to think about conditional sentences ("if P then Q"). Perhaps surprisingly, the question of what these sentences mean has vexed philosophers for thousands of years. In part 2 of the series on conditionals, Justin discusses some of the challenges facing the material conditional theory, picking up where part 1 (http://youtu.be/4Zxp2-_pLCE) left off.
In this video, Geoff Pynn (Northern Illinois University) follows up on his introduction to critical thinking by exploring how deductive arguments give us reason to believe their conclusions. Good deductive arguments guarantee their conclusions, and so must be valid (i.e., it must be impossible for the premises to be true while the conclusion is false) and have true premises. Philosophers call arguments like these "sound". You can see whether an argument is sound by trying to think of a counterexample to it, but to see whether its premises are true, you need to do some research.
What is human nature? Is human nature good or bad? Can human nature be good even if the world contains some notably bad people? Matthew Walker (Yale-NUS College) looks at the views of the early Confucian thinker Mengzi (Mencius).

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A Toolkit for Building a Better Mind.