- Session B: July 27 – August 6, 2020
- 1:30 p.m. - 4 p.m.
- English and Writing
- Philosophy and Society
- Raphael Krut-Landau
A battle is raging — for your brain.
Politicians want your brain to love their policies. Businesses want it to love their products. Propaganda, BS, and nonsense are everywhere. In this course, you’ll cultivate a skill that will help you find the good ideas amid the noise.
What’s the skill? Reasoning carefully, like a philosopher! In this course, to strengthen this skill, you’ll read some of the most intriguing arguments ever written.
But you won’t just read them.
You’ll develop your X-ray vision — your ability to see through a piece of writing, to uncover the structure of the author’s argument.
This skill will help you read more conscientiously and openly. And it’ll help you write and speak more movingly.
- To learn from diverse voices.
- To learn how to detect, and mend, an argument’s weak points.
- To develop critical thinking and writing abilities.
- To get better at listening in an encouraging way.
Six short essays and drawings of arguments.
- Day 1: X-Ray Vision. Why is it valuable to uncover the structure of an argument?
- Day 2: Nuts and Bolts. What is a premise? What is a conclusion?
- Day 3: The Argument Lab. We’ll practice detecting premises and conclusions in ethical arguments.
- Day 4: The Argument Hospital. We’ll practice mending an argument’s weak points by introducing additional supporting premises.
- Day 5: The Argument Museum. We’ll practice making pictures of arguments, so we can better understand how they work. We’ll use one of these pictures to guide our conversation.
- Day 6: Politics, Part One. We’ll use our new skills on arguments used in political debates and in op-eds. We’ll detect arguments’ weak points, and try to mend these. We’ll begin by studying conservative arguments.
- Day 7: Politics, Part Two. This time, we’ll study progressive arguments.
- Day 8: Advertising. Does it threaten your autonomy?
- Day 9: Using your argument-analysis skills beyond the classroom.