Teaching Critical Thinking
Perth: 25 July | Sydney: 31 July | Melbourne: 2 August
A rare opportunity to work with English philosopher, Stephen Law.
In these practical workshops, Stephen will be sharing his ideas on teaching Critical Thinking in the secondary curriculum.
A valuable workshop for Religious Studies, Philosophy and Theory of Knowledge teachers – and anyone looking for opportunities to teach Critical Thinking in their subject area.
- WHY DO I BELIEVE WHAT I DO? What mechanisms shape what we believe, and what mechanisms can we use to influence the beliefs of others? We look at using reason versus other causally effective – often much morecausally effective – methods, including peer pressure, repetition, emotional manipulation, censorship, and even brainwashing. How does using reason to persuade differ from these other methods? And why, if at all, is reason to be preferred? How can we immunise the next generation against brainwashing/indoctrination?
- FALLACIES AND COGNITIVE BIASES. How do people become trapped inside false and sometimes highly toxic political, pseudo-scientific, religious, and other ideologies? Drawing on Stephen Law’s book Believing Bullshit: How Not to Fall Into an Intellectual Black Hole, we explore various pitfalls and dangers lurking on the internet and elsewhere. We cover some of the most seductive fallacies, including slippery slope, ad hominem, and affirming the consequent. We also look at anchoring effect, power of suggestion, and other cognitive biases that can, without our realising, skew what we believe and lead us away from the truth.
- SCIENTISM. Can every legitimate question be answered by science? Is the supernatural off limits to science and if so, why? Are Richard Dawkins and other critics of religious belief guilty of scientism, as critics like scientist and theologian Alister McGrath suggest? Are there other ways of finding out about what’s true other than by relying on science and empirical observation? If not, doesn’t that make philosophy a Grand Waste of Time? What, if anything, can we find out just by sitting in our armchairs and having a good think?
Dr Stephen Law began his career as a postman before discovering philosophy and entering University as a mature student. He was a postgraduate and researcher at the University of Oxford, before becoming a Lecturer, then Reader and Head of the Department of Philosophy at Heythrop College in the University of London. Stephen has written many popular introductions to philosophy including The Complete Philosophy Files and The Philosophy Gym. He is editor of editor of the Royal Institute of Philosophy’s journal THINK, which aims to introduce philosophy to a wide audience.
Dates and Venues
- Perth: Thursday 25 July (Scotch College)
- Sydney: Wednesday 31 July (Newington College)
- Melbourne: Friday 2 August (Melbourne Grammar School)
9 a.m. for a 9.30 a.m. start and 3 p.m. finish.
$170/person or $150/person for DAN members & multiple bookings from same school.
Cost includes Workshop, Teaching Materials, Morning Tea & Lunch.
Places will be limited and early bookings are encouraged.
Please email us at to express your interest.