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Teaching Ethics


published on November 5, 2014

Susan T. Gardner

Selling "The Reason Game"

There is a clear distinction between genuine and fraudulent reasoning. Being seduced by the latter can result in horrific consequences. This paper explores how we can arm ourselves, and others (particularly our youngsters) (1) with the ability to recognize the difference between genuine and pseudo-reasoning, (2) with the motivation to maintain an unbending commitment to follow the “impersonal” “norm-driven” rules of reason even in situations in which “non-reasonable” strategies appear to support short-term bests interests, and (3) with the confidence that genuine reasoning is the best defense against the pseudo-reasoning. It also provides a simple table of “markers” whereby genuine reasoning can be distinguished from the “fake stuff.”

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