Karen explores the relationship between language and communication, looking at the question of how it is that people regularly use words to communicate more than their literal meanings. This video introduces us to the most philosophically influential theory on this matter, H.P. Grice’s theory of pragmatics.
In this video, Monte explores an approach to the question “What is the purpose of life?” developed by the Greek Philosopher Aristotle (384-322 BC). Aristotle reasoned that just as artificial things (such as tools and workers) have characteristic capabilities with respect to which they are judged to be good or do well, so each kind of natural thing (including plants and humans) has characteristic capabilities with respect to which can be judged, objectively, to be good or do well. For plants and animals these mostly have to do with nutrition and reproduction, and in the case of animals, pleasure and pain. For humans, these vegetative and animal capabilities are necessary but not sufficient for our flourishing. Since reason and the use of language are the unique and highest capabilities of humans, the cultivation and exercise of intellectual friendships and partnerships, moral and political virtue, scientific knowledge and (above all) theoretical philosophy, was argued by Aristotle to be the ultimate purpose of human life.
Justin 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 one, Justin motivates the question and introduces one of the oldest answers to it, the material conditional theory.
In this video Matthew C. Harris of Duke University explains the informal logical fallacy called begging the question and the associated concept of circular reasoning.
In this video, Tyler asks why it is morally permissible to kill animals for food. He offers a few explanations that seem unsatisfactory. So, he asks you for help answering this question about animals ethics.
It is common to think that Faith and Reason must be in conflict. Often this view emerges because how we use the term "believe" is ambiguous. In this video we clarify how this term is used and how Faith and Reason can be properly related.
In this video, Matthew C. Harris explains the fallacy of denying the antecedent, the formal fallacy that arises from inferring the inverse of a conditional statement. He also explains why graduate students might also be humans.
In this video, Matthew C. Harris explains the fallacy of affirming the consequent, the formal fallacy that arises from inferring the converse of an argument. He also explains why you sometimes cannot conclude that you should bathe in a tub of peanut butter.
We humans are a chatty bunch--we talk A LOT. But each claim we make can be sorted neatly sorted into one of two categories: it either describes something or it evaluates something (philosophers call these descriptive and normative claims respectively). In this Wireless Philosophy video, a Yale University philosopher illustrates the descriptive/normative distinction, and it's importance, with the use of ample examples.
Geoff gets you started on the critical thinking journey. He tells you what critical thinking is, what an argument is, and what the difference between a deductive and an ampliative argument is.
The concept of justification is fundamental to good, careful thinking. But what does it mean for a belief or action to be justified? In this Wireless Philosophy video, a Yale University philosopher sheds some light on how to assess whether a belief and action is justified. She also clarifies the notion of justification by distinguishing it from explanation and explaining its relationship to the practice of giving reasons.
Kelley Schiffman: Implicit Premise
June 17, 2014
This video will rock your world! You should watch it. This pithy little argument contains an implicit premise: "If a video will rock your world, you should watch it". In this Wireless Philosophy video, a Yale University philosopher will go over how to identify implicit premises in all sorts of arguments and discuss when it is and is not acceptable to leave a premise implicit.
What sort of things do we value and why? In this Wireless Philosophy video, a Yale University philosopher distinguishes two different kinds of value: (1) Intrinsic value--the value that something has in itself--and (2) instrumental value--the value that something has because it helps us to get or achieve some other thing. This philosophically and practically useful distinction is illuminated through the use of plenty of examples and ordinary language glosses.
In this video, Paul describes the distinction between formal and informal fallacies. This distinction is useful for understanding the fallacies in Wi-Phi's Critical Thinking section.
Jeff Sebo: Moral Status
May 19, 2014
Jeff discusses the nature of moral status. What does it take for someone to be a subject of moral concern? Do they have to be human? Rational? Sentient? Alive? And how does our answer to this question affect how we should act in everyday life?
In this video, Josh Knobe describes a new philosophical tool called experimental philosophy. To explain the project, he introduces some new research from Felipe De Brigard, and he shows how it applies to a traditional problem in philosophy. He ends with a question for the viewers: does philosophy's new tool help us make progress on philosophical questions?
In this video, Paul Henne describes the fallacy of division, the informal fallacy that arises when we assume that the parts of some whole must have the same properties as the whole they make up. He also discusses why water molecules aren't wet.
In this video, Paul Henne describes the fallacy of composition, an informal fallacy that arises when we assume that some whole has the same properties as its parts. He also discusses why there aren't colorless cats.
In this Wireless Philosophy video, a Yale University philosopher discusses one of the most basic tools in the philosophers's tool kit: the distinction between necessary and sufficient conditions. Through the use of ordinary language glosses and plenty of examples this mighty distinction is brought down to earth and presented in a ready-to-use fashion.
Jenn introduces us to a puzzle that has bedeviled philosophy since the ancient Greeks: the Ship of Theseus. She tells the Ship of Theseus story, and draws out the more general question behind it: what does it take for an object to persist over time? She then breaks this ancient problem down with modern clarity and rigor.


A Toolkit for Building a Better Mind.