(un)common ground

a commonplace book

Tag Archives: critical thinking

Spectacle Abolishes Motives and Consequences

[T]he public confines itself to spectacle’s primary virtue, which is to abolish all motives and all consequences: what matters to this public is not what it believes but what it … Continue reading

March 30, 2016 · Leave a comment

What a Book Says and What It Means

Books are not made to be believed, but to be subjected to inquiry. When we consider a book, we mustn’t ask ourselves what it says but what it means. Umberto … Continue reading

March 30, 2016 · Leave a comment

Born Into Capitalism

The capitalistic economy…is an immense cosmos into which the individual is born, and which presents itself to him, at least as an individual, as an unalterable order of things in … Continue reading

February 18, 2016 · Leave a comment

Education: Criticality vs. Conformity

Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate the integration of generations into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity to it, or it … Continue reading

February 16, 2016 · Leave a comment

No Position Free of Theory

[T]here is no position free of theory, not even the one called ‘common sense.’ Leitch et al., The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism (2001) Notes: A particularly poignant statement. If … Continue reading

January 29, 2016 · Leave a comment

The Invisibility of Our Assumptions

The sneaky thing about assumptions is that they inform our way of thinking without letting on that they are doing so. Jenny Davis, “The Kids Are Alright,” Cyborgology, Jan. 7, 2016 … Continue reading

January 8, 2016 · Leave a comment

The Non-communication of Commonplaces

When you transmit a ‘received idea,’ it’s as if everything is set, and the problem solves itself. … The exchange of commonplaces is communication with no content other than the … Continue reading

November 20, 2015 · Leave a comment

Conservatism and Stupidity

I did not mean to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid; I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. John Stuart Mill, quoted by Jonny Thakkar in “Why … Continue reading

September 21, 2015 · Leave a comment

Reasoning vs. Rationalization

People don’t generally engage in moral reasoning…but moral rationalization: they begin with the conclusion, coughed up by an unconscious emotion, and then work backward to a plausible justification. Steven Pinker, … Continue reading

August 26, 2015 · Leave a comment

Bias Blind Spot: Nuff Said?

We judge whether we have a bias by examining our thoughts, and because we believe our thoughts are rational, we often think we’re not biased when we are. Psychologists call … Continue reading

August 21, 2015 · Leave a comment