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Posts Tagged ‘teaching logic’

Puzzle Piece, by Wikimedia Commons user Crazy-phunk

Puzzle piece, via Wikimedia Commons

Don Lazere’s short but punchy piece in the Chronicle on the beleaguered state of critical thinking education in the American academy is well worth a read.

While I find myself agreeing with much of what he says, I think he misses one of the principal actors in the play: the increasing role of corporate influence in and on the structure and culture of American higher education.  Increasingly, administrators and board members are not professional academics but professional bureaucrats and managers who see their primary task as generating revenue.  This leads to a mentality that sees terms like ‘critical thinking’ as buzzwords, bogus assessment exercises, fodder for mission statements or worse, “branding” campaigns.  The perils therein are familiar enough and rants plentiful enough that I’ll leave it there.

What interests me the most about Lazere’s short piece is how it fits with what has really been an explosion of formal methods in the last thirty or so years.  Indeed, formal logic has changed so much that it is now virtually unrecognizable to those of us who remember the time when advances in modal logic were considered “cutting edge” to most in philosophy. From today’s perspective, the basic course in predicate calculus looks a lot like “baby logic”. ‘Critical thinking’, as Lazere points out, doesn’t seem to have much real purchase at all anymore:

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Happened across this lovely conversation on Philosophy TV this morning. (Oh the things one finds in one’s Twitter feed of a Sunday morning…) Nice to hear a logician of Priest’s caliber and notoriety (some would say infamy) in the mainstream philosophical world saying some of the same thing many argumentation theorists have said about formal logic and it’s presentation in the classroom.  Of course Priest winds up in a different place than informal logic, rhetoric, or pragma-dialectics but that doesn’t diminish the interest here.  Fair warning: this discussion is about an hour long.  It is, however, really interesting and surprisingly wide ranging.  Enjoy!

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Third International Congress on Tools for Teaching Logic

From June 1 to June 4 2011 we will organize the Third International Congress on Tools for Teaching Logic (TICTTL), in Salamanca, Spain. Previously, these events have also been organized in Salamanca, in 2000 and in 2006, and the webpages of these past events are http://aracne.usal.es/congress/congress.html and http://logicae.usal.es/SICTTL/. The webpage of TICTTL is http://logicae.usal.es/TICTTL/.

The congress will focus on a variety of topics including: logic teaching software, teaching formal methods, logic in the humanities, dissemination of logic courseware and logic textbooks, methods for teaching logic at different levels of instruction (secondary educuation, university level, and postgraduate), presentation of postgraduate programs in logic, e-learning, logic games, teaching argumentation theory and informal logic, pedagogy of logic.

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