Monthly Archives: August, 2012

What is reality? Can we know what is real? Can we know that we exist?

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Socratic Method

File:UWASocrates gobeirne cropped.jpg

This method was invented by Socrates (469-399 BC) who was a classical Greek philosopher.

          The Socratic Method is defined as a process which aims to augment knowledge, to resolve doubt, or  to solve a problem. It is commonly used in schools and universities because it  helps students to improve their critical thinking skills and  to simplify the understanding of a new material. The essential element of the Socratic method is  questioning; it  reveals hidden assumptions which are analysed  in order to check their real value.

Elements of the Socratic Questioning

Ad hominem

  •  Although it is considered as a logical fallacy, it is used in the Socratic method to provoke critical thinking. The questions are aimed not on the logic of thoughts but on the personal beliefs.

Tension

  • People should  be interested in the conversation so that the discussion brings up as much as possible of  the ideas.

Remember why you are doing it

  • It happens, sometimes, that people forget the purpose of the Socratic questioning, which is to acquire knowledge, and they start getting emotionally attached to their beliefs which diminishes their view of the situation; consequently, it makes the Socratic method inefficient.

Types of questions

  • Ideally, the Socratic questions shouldn’t guide someone’s reasoning towards pr-established goal (Teachers in school essentially use  leading questions to guide thinking of their students towards a goal). It should be spontaneous.

More information:

http://www.socraticmethod.net/opening/page1.htm

http://www.garlikov.com/Soc_Meth.html

Changing educational perspective

Sir Ken Robinson talks about educational reform.

Realism

Realism is a paradigm used by political scientists to understand international politics. This paradigm is based on the assumption that international politics is struggle for power among sovereign states.

Important points that summarize realist perspective

1. Anarchy exists in the world of international politics.

  • This sentence means that there is no organization in the world which is able to enforce rules and norms of behavior for sovereign states

2. States are sovereign

  • The government of a state has a supreme authority over its state answerable to no higher authority.

3. States are unitary rational actors

  • States behave accordingly to their interests

4. Security of state requires self-help

  • States are responsible for their own security. They protect themselves through the accumulation of military  assets and        alliances.

5. War is inevitable

  • War is considered by the state as a tool in achieving their interests when other options fail or can’t be applied.

6. One nation’s security means another’s  nation insecurity

  • Rise of military power of one state for its protection is considered as rise of threat for the state neighbor.

7. Power trumps justice

  • The strongest is right.

Those points are often used by political scientist who uses realist paradigm. However, you should not be deceived by the word realist because it doesn’t necessarily mean true in the context of political sciences. (The final article)

What is mass?

Mass is a measure of resistance of an object to a change in its state of motion.

This definition originates from the scientific idea called Higgs field. I’ll explain it by comparing Higgs field to water and  atoms to fish. When fish dives through the water, water resists to the motion of fish; this resistance is called friction. Almost, the same happens when atoms travel trough space; Higgs field interacts with atoms by making them harder to displace.  The resulting resistance of an atom to a change in its state of motion is called mass.

What is Higgs boson?

It’s a constituent of a Higgs field.

Types of people who go to a library

Each time you go to a library, you see different individuals sitting there and reading books. Those people can be classified according to their motivations: students, book lovers, and pass timers.

Students, the first type, spend their whole day learning in the library. They come to the library to do assignments, to complete research papers, or to review their notes. They can be easily identified by their MacBook Pro laptops and tired faces. Also, they usually have different scientific books on their tables. For example, if you see a person who has a laptop and book with a title Algebra and Trigonometry by Robert F. Blitzer, the person that you are looking at will certainly be a student.

The second type is book lovers. They enjoy reading various book genres: novel, crime, fiction, mystery etc. Also, they are passionate thinkers. If you see a person who reads a book for an hour then puts it away, and stares at floor, this person will probably be a book lover. You may see them in the library, especially during weekends.

On the other hand, there are people who don’t care about reading and books; they are called pass timers.  They come to the library because they have nothing else to do, their favorite activities in the library are sleeping in a chairs, observing people through book shelf, and showing off by taking a large book with a sophisticated title.

Next time, if you see a guy with a big philosophy book who reads it by quickly turning pages, you will know what he is really doing. Hopefully, this classification may help you to find out who is sitting next to you in the library.

Quote Rational choice the…

 Rational choice theory describes individuals as rational actors whose primary commitment is to the advancement of their own interests. (How the world works by Russell Bova)