The Uncertain Foundations of Freedom (draft)

We frequently believe that the origin of our rights can be found in our nature – that we deserve liberty because we are, as humans, in some way special, that it is by the virtue of our unique composition and abilities that we ought to be treated in a particular way. But by nature, we… Continue reading The Uncertain Foundations of Freedom (draft)


On Patriotism…

Whenever England plays football, I feel the same tensions rising in me. My desire to cheer on my team is tempered by the obvious concerns about the dangers of jingoism. These feel especially acute given the surfeit of shrill far-right voices in media of all forms, and I am terrified that this incompetent government, or… Continue reading On Patriotism…

Does knowing the cause of a condition change how we view it?

@AlisonHoneybone was kind enough to respond to my last post The Dangers of Causal Theorising for Teachers with some excellent, and insightful questions. Here I would like to share some thoughts in response to this question: I like the Moliere example. However, I am a little bit concerned about the confusion between neurological conditions, like Tourette's… Continue reading Does knowing the cause of a condition change how we view it?

The Dangers of Causal Theorising for Teachers

In this post, I will argue that causal theorising about the behaviour of children only adds to the confusion. Instead, I propose a responsive scenario-planning approach. 1.      The fallacy of Molière’s doctor In his excellent, but relatively little-known book, the Danger of Words, M. O’C Drury[1] describes a number of fallacies that dog the world… Continue reading The Dangers of Causal Theorising for Teachers

Playing the hand well: on the possibility of evidence-based education

In Annie Duke’s new book, Thinking in Bets she describes how, when she and other hugely successful poker players get together, they frequently discuss the hands that they have played and the decisions that they have made during those hands. They don’t, however, discuss the outcomes of those hands. This is not because they are… Continue reading Playing the hand well: on the possibility of evidence-based education

Jordan Peterson: a misguided desire for certainty in a postmodern world

Jordan Peterson, the controversial Canadian psychologist, has recently been making a splash in the UK promoting his new book, '12 Rules for Life: an Antidote to Chaos'. Peterson’s brand is forthrightly anti-postmodern. For him, the postmodern deconstruction of the grand narratives of history has resulted in a kind of spiritual malaise for many, specifically young… Continue reading Jordan Peterson: a misguided desire for certainty in a postmodern world

Teaching students how to write logically: Sequitur logic

I have been experimenting recently with different ways to encourage the children to write logically. Normally, I give the students a scaffolded essay template to help them. Unfortunately, it becomes obvious that a) they have no idea why they need to complete the various parts of the template and b) that the template is actually… Continue reading Teaching students how to write logically: Sequitur logic

A summary of Educational Fideism so far…

A summary of my current thoughts for a formulation of Educational Fideism and an ethics of responding To respond to a situation correctly (to pay attention) is to recognise (and accept) its contingency, and thus ascribe absolute value to all aspects of it. Here, I’m using the phrase ‘pay attention’ as Weil does, i.e. something… Continue reading A summary of Educational Fideism so far…

Some brief (and very sketchy) thoughts on amendment 120

@JHC_Porter was kind enough to offer me his reasons why he would not be in favour of a second referendum on Brexit. He wrote the following: 1)      That it’s potentially unnecessary: I’m happy for representatives to debate what new relationship we want in the hope we can reach a compromise. 2)      That it potentially emboldens… Continue reading Some brief (and very sketchy) thoughts on amendment 120

The dishonesty of abstraction

Recently, given the political tensions here in Spain, I have been thinking a lot about the nature of impartiality. I began by describing why I felt the 'fact/opinion' dichotomy wasn't that useful. Then, using the ideas of James P. Carse I offered a suggestion for an expression of the ultimate ethical rule. i.e. that our obligation… Continue reading The dishonesty of abstraction