Motivating critical reasoning classes

Two things:

1. From the HBR:

If You Were a Poor Performer, You Wouldn’t Be Aware of It
The Daily Stat | January 03, 2014
In a logic test administered to people who had volunteered over the internet, a team of researchers found that the lowest scorers vastly overestimated their performance, believing, on average, that they had gotten 7 out of 10 items right, when the actual figure was 0, according to Thomas Schlösser of the University of Cologne in Germany. People who lack the skill to perform well also tend to lack the ability to judge performance (their own or others’); because of this “dual curse,” they fail to recognize how incompetent they truly are. But skills aren’t set in stone: Teaching poor performers to solve logic problems causes them to see their own errors and reduce their previous estimates of their performance.

2. According to Carol Dweck (Stanford), women are more inclined than men to believe in innate abilities. I.e., you either have it or not, and if you don’t have it, you can’t get it. The belief is incorrect, and women can be severely disadvantaged by the innateness view. It is incredibly important to know that one can get really good at something through hard work.

There are a couple of ways one could use the class to support the idea that practice brings improvement, supposing that the HBR is right. One way would just be to give a test at the beginning and a very similar one at the end.

Jennifer Saul, this blog and “What it’s like to be a Woman in Philosophy” in the French press

Le Monde published an article – in its blogs section – on women in American academic philosophy last week.

The gist of it is that the profession is changing, which is true. But the author, Marc Olivier Bherer is perhaps a little over enthusiastic, and at times rather imprecise about the extant of the changes that have already taken place. He writes that it is now an advantage to be a woman at the APA. ‘Blind review’ is described as an innovation – the author means, I think, triple blind.

There is no mention of the state of academic philosophy in either France, francophone Europe, or the rest of the world – in particular no awareness that women in American academic philosophy are probably much better off than they are in many places, including France.

The comments are about as dire as one would expect, perhaps a little worse at times.