A Puff of Absurdity: If We Could Be as Smart as Frogs

I regularly tell students about our likely future. It’s often met with skepticism, so I provide lots of citations from the IPCC and NASA. Then I sometimes get a lecture on being so doom and gloom. Denial is our go-to defence against reality. But for whose benefit? It’s just for our own short term enjoyment ...

A Puff of Absurdity: Is This the Sixth Estate?

The “Fourth Estate” is an antiquated term for unofficial social and political forces, primarily the media. Use of the term recognized, over two centuries ago, that the media affect social change. But once that became clear, it became a tool of the establishment. The church, politicians, and corporations started using the media to sway the ...

A Puff of Absurdity: On Reading and Writing

I teach grade 12 university-level philosophy, and I teach it as a university prep-course. So we read primary sources, and we write essays longer and more complex than the standard five paragraphs. And then I brace myself for the complaints. Why do we have to read about other philosophers? Why can’t we just explore our ...

A Puff of Absurdity: On Teaching Philosophy to Children

There are several articles and discussions being reported about teaching philosophy to children. They largely focus on the question should we, why, and how? Britain has a program, Philosophy for Children (P4C), in which student get in groups to discuss philosophical issues after seeing a video or reading a story together that prompt a big ...

A Puff of Absurdity: On Sex Ed, Double Standards, and the Red Herring of Consent

We discussed Erin Anderson’s article from Friday’s Globe and Mail in my philosophy class on Friday, and it provoked a whole gamut of topics.  I’ll try to encapsulate some of them here.  The article starts with an important question: “The question left is whether we’ll waste this moment, leaving the teenagers today to have the same conversation ...

A Puff of Absurdity: On Alain de Botton

de Botton Alain de Botton wrote one of my favourite under-praised books, Status Anxiety.  I also quite like using his Consolations of Philosophy in my class as an additional resource because it simplifies and grounds some theories for the kids.  And I show his TEDTalk on atheism 2.0 every semester when I talk about secular ...

A Puff of Absurdity: It Doesn’t Matter

It doesn’t matter why they’re dressed as a tiger, have they got my leg? Just one more thing about educational reform.  Well, for the weekend at least.  It relates to the video above because we’ve spent years talking about why we need to make these changes, why these new ideas make up the best way ...