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Being a Good Philosopher-Activist

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“Philosophers have an important role to play in bridging theoretical reflection with everyday life.”  Those are the words of Julinna Oxley, professor of philosophy at Coastal Carolina University, in “How to Be a (Good) Philosopher-Activist“, an article in the recent special issue of Essays in Philosophy on activism and philosophy, edited by Ramona Ilea (Pacific University). Julinna Oxley with bullhorn (photo by Renee Smith) Professor Oxley is the co-founder of Grand Strand Action Together, a South Carolina non-profit group “devoted to protecting and defending our democracy and the American democratic ideals of liberty, equality, and justice.” In her article, she draws on her experiences as a philosopher and activist to provide some advice for other philosophers interested in activism, which she takes to be collaborative action aimed at social change. With such collaborative efforts, people can do what they’re good at. For philosophers, that might mean “contributing philosophical reflection, writing skills or oral argumentation,” and doing so with “rational integrity.” Philosopher-activists with rational integrity, Oxley writes, are honest, rational, logical, deliberative, and respectful: Honest — (a) use true, reliable, and trustworthy information and sources, (b) know the relevant and important social or historical facts surrounding their views. Rational — use reason to communicate and to facilitate communication; are careful, calm, insightful, and composed; don’t base arguments primarily on emotional appeals. Logical — use logically sound arguments, do not make blatant or obvious logical fallacies, especially informal fallacies such as circular argument, slippery slope, red herring, straw man, etc. Deliberative — know the weaknesses in their arguments; know the opposing arguments and are able to explain rationally why they disagree; understand the social and political. . .

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News source: Daily Nous

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