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Exploring Gender

While gender is discussed in the media often in relation to sexism, restroom accessibility, workplace rights, and the like, it is very seldom discussed with students in the context of a learning environment before the university level of study (if

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Ethical Relativism

Moral Relativism Many students come to the classroom assuming values are variant.  Have you heard any of the following? After all, we are all different, right? Wouldn’t it be boring if we all believed the same thing? To each his

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Snooping Around Snopes: Assessing Fake News

This lesson revolves around reading and discussing Carl Sagan’s “The Fine Art of Baloney Detection” and then sending students to Snopes.com to explore the large archive of hoaxes, crazes and fake news stories. Website Resource for Fact-Checking Snopes.com has become

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On the Beautiful and the Sublime

On the Beautiful and the Sublime…Aesthetics as Subjective Experience One of the longstanding questions that’s been debated in the field of aesthetics involves the nature of Beauty; one question in this area asks us where Beauty lies, in the object

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Truth, Lies and Bullshit

Part 1: What is the difference between Truth, a Lie and Bullshit? Students should begin by writing brief definitions of these words –> WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?  TRUTH, LIE, SATIRE/ JOKE, FICTION, MISTAKE, BULLSHIT (or, politely, BS) After 10 minutes, discuss how these concepts overlap

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Nagel’s What is it like to be a bat?

In his article, “What is it like to be a bat?” Thomas Nagel argues that there are facts about the conscious experience that are subjective and can only be known from that subjective perspective. Even if we know all the

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Searle’s Chinese Room: Do computers think?

Can a computer think? John Searle’s Chinese Room argument can be used to argue that computers do not “think,” that computers do not understand the symbols that they process. For example, if you’re typing an email to your friend on

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God: All-Good or All-Evil…is there any Difference?

A Topic Concerning the Question of Evil A long-simmering debate in theology involves the status of the classical definition of God.  Traditionally, one area of agreement between Theists and Atheists has been in the definition of God; without this agreement,

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Animal Minds: puzzling over Puppies and Parrots

For much of modern science, since the Enlightenment, animals were generally thought to be automatons:  materialist robots programmed to behave in certain ways.  Rene Descartes drew a sharp distinction between thinking beings, humans, and everything else, matter.  20th Century behaviorism

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The Problem of Evil

In the Judeo-Christian-Islamic traditions, one of the major problems for theists [those who believe that there is a God] is the “Problem of Evil.”  It runs like this: If God is all-good, all-knowing, and all-powerful, how can there be evil

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