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Lecture

Intro Lecture

2 pages29 viewsWinter 2011

Department
Philosophy
Course Code
PHLB05H3
Professor
Bader

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Whether or not we ought to have police but the kind of powers the police should have is a social
issue.
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There is no consensus (substantial disagreement)
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People use arguments
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They give reasons not just a statement of "I don't like that"
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People develop more on more their reasons
Remain intractable -there are people on both sides with very articulate reasons
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People on both (or more) sides that have arguments
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Must be affected somehow by human action
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Is something where the debate is about the ACTIONS we ought to take
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Just because something is contentious, if you can't do anything about it, it's not a social issue (e.g.
Did Shakespeare write his plays or not?)
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Can be influenced by public policy
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What is a social Issue?
Different compared to other issues such as scientific ones, etc.
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Issues on which many people have opinions
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Entitlement of the experts are diminished or completely gone
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Some people have more information than others, yet more people believe they are entitled to an opinion
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Information doesn't seem to change qualification
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Even those with informed opinions disagree
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Difficulties
Yes
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People have arguments to back up their positions
Specializes in understanding and analyzing arguments
Look at arguments that are made and determine if they are strong arguments
Logic
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The premises are sometimes not all true-their beliefs then are inconsistent
Most problems in arguments are often between arguments not just in the argument itself
Consistency
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More than heuristic devices that other people use
Not only addresses particular issues but can provide general theories that shift the debate
Consequentialism for example, can be useful in addressing issues
Or one may have a political theory like Rawls' theory of justice
Theory
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We have several important tools:
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Can Philosophy help?
Debates are often among people who hold the same theory.
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Intra-theory Debates
Non-specialists DON'T defer to specialists on social issues. That includes us.
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Non-Specialization
Previous opinion of an issue -This can create what is called a bias
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Confirmation bias and Dismissal bias
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Confirmation bias: tendency to only pay attention to beliefs, arguments and even data that confirms
what we already believe
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Dismissal bias: ignore opinions, arguments, or data that doesn't confirm what we already believe
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They are in 2 broad categories
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Problem of Bias
We have 2 ways of thinking: heuristically and analytically
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Why Bias is Rational
Lecture 1 -Social Issue
10 January 2011
15:22
Lectures Page 1
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