Monday, September 5, 2016

On the failure of our educational system

Our education system has failed on a massive scale because far too many people simply cannot tell truth from deception. This can be done through knowledge of argument. Because it is through argument that we critically assess and vet competing ideas. And that can be hard to do effectively without having basic knowledge of how arguments actually work: what is the structure of an argument, what makes an argument good or bad, and how to spot a logical fallacy (an error in logic). 

When you familiarize yourself wth the various categories of logical fallacies, it becomes easier and easier to recognize them in practice. Some politicians and other public figures spew logical fallacies by the truckload, and maybe many of these people wouldn't see the political light of day if the public were better at recognizing bad reasoning.

 Another important factor would also include include knowledge and appreciation of good quality evidence. And some knowledge of philosophy: who are philosophy's greatest thinkers, and what did they argue?

 To be clear, knowing these things does not necessarily make one a great thinker.
Because humanity is still fallible. And of course, many people get along just fine without knowing how logic works "under the hood." But from these considerations, it does not follow that some people, if not many, would not be better equipped to deal with the arguments and ideas that come at them daily.

 Students of debate and philosophy do pick up most, if not all of these tools in class, but most people in school aren't taking these classes. And I believe some things won't ever change unless these critically important educational gaps are filled for all students.