“Therapy wars” and the human sciences

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Thanks largely to the cognitive sciences, we’ve learned much in recent decades about how our own minds work. As knowledge flows from research journals to the popular media, recent findings in psychology have stimulated considerable commentary and advice on dealing with the problems that trouble our minds. Psychoanalysis and cognitive behavioural therapy, complex topics within […]

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Small biases, large consequences: an interactive online game on diversity or segregation

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Often it takes dramatic illustration to convey just why certain abstract concepts are so important to thinking critically about knowledge. For demonstrating the significance of concepts of “bias” and “implications”, try this online game with your students. “The Parable of the Polygons” provides an attractive, interactive – and startling! – visualization of what can follow from accepting some initial ideas, […]

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“Who’s an Indian now?”: concept, definition, and significant ruling

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A unanimous ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada on April 14 gives us a dramatic example to take to a Theory of Knowledge class: Métis and non-status aboriginal people in Canada are now defined as “Indians” by the federal government. The people who now fit into this category are celebrating. The implications are significant for the rights they can now claim, the programs and […]

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“Really? You don’t know what MATTER is?”: Nobel Laureate in physics uses doughnuts to explain.

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In just a minute and a half on a comedy show, Nobel Laureate Arthur McDonald explains the discovery in physics that made him a co-winner of a Nobel Prize this month. Well, actually…..no, he doesn’t. But he does provoke a laugh, perhaps especially for Canadians who recognize the popular chocolate Timbits (doughnuts) he resorts to […]

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“— Based Medicine”: alternatives to “evidence”

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(Originally posted on  Activating TOK)  Is it obvious that medical conclusions ought to be based on evidence and science? What are the alternatives? For a smile along with the serious point, I recommend this satirical list by two doctors:  “Seven alternatives to evidence based medicine” . Vehemence-based medicine? Eminence-based medicine? The list predates the recent book on celebrity-based medicine with the splendid title Is Gwyneth Paltrow […]

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