Public Reason: Building Community By Thinking Critically

Dr. Lisa Shapiro, Philosophy

Human beings reason, We are not like billiard balls on a pool table, simply caused to move by the forces that impact us. Reasoning, or thinking for oneself, is harder than it looks. We each have to learn how to think, and so we are taught to think by others. How then can we think for ourselves?

Moreover, human beings reason publicly, that is, along with other humans. How is it that we are able to each think for ourselves and live together in a community?

This talk explores these questions and argues that we build a healthy community by each being able to both criticize the actions and beliefs of other, and defend our own actions and beliefs in the the light of criticism. Through this process of reasoning publicly, we articulate our shared commitments, acknowledge differences, and respect one another.

Part of the FASS Canada 150 Speaker Series.

Date : 2017-10-0437 views
Department : FASS Deans Office
Keyword : Philosophy, Community Engagement