Thursday, September 27, 2018


Unthinkable: Philosophers need to grapple with the ‘symphony of senses’ being discovered by science
Published: The Irish Times, May 16 2017,
Thanks are due to Oya Özağaç who found this text and forwarded it to me
Level of difficulty: ** (This is an easy level two; to be frank, it is between the two levels)
·         Molyneux's Question - Can It Be Solved?
·         Barry Smith: We have far more than five senses
1.   Barry Smith says “That was a good question.” Why does he say this?
2.   How does the writer reach the conclusion that armchair philosophers are taking a simplistic view of the question? By…
3.   The story of the wine proves that one sense / two senses / more than one sense / many senses may be involved in the way we perceive objects or substances. Mark as many as necessary.
4.   Aristotle is given as an example of a philosopher …
5.   Stand up and extend your arms forward. Now lift first one foot then the other rapidly. Now try it with your eyes closed. Is there a problem? Why?
6.   You are asked to help with a large suitcase. You go over prepared to lift it but it turns out to be empty and very light. Why might you lose your balance? Your ….. has been misdirected.
7.   What conclusion can we draw from the examples in the text and the ones in questions 5 and 6?
8.   Consider the example of the aircraft. If the experience were a purely visual one,…
9.   It is a mistake to base perception on vision because whereas with other senses you don’t…., with vision you do.
 10.We understand from the example of the cup that both…and …are necessary to correctly perceive the cup.
11. What general conclusion can we draw from the text about how our perceptual system works?
12. Barry Smith differs from other philosophers in that he believes that…..can be helpful to philosophy rather than a hindrance. As such it should / it shouldn’t be disregarded.
Write an essay or a paragraph discussing the reasons why we should accept that we have more than five senses.
This wonderful text addresses an age old philosophical problem yet it is written in a very straightforward and relatively simple way unlike most philosophy texts. As such, it can be tackled by adult learners who really want to get their teeth into a complex issue.
1.   Because it forces people to rethink their assumptions about perception
2.   By assuming that perception is merely sight
3.   More than one sense, many senses
4.   Who started from the wrong construction of the phenomena, then produced a very clever piece of philosophy which was worthless because it was not actually getting to grips with how things really were.”
5.   Yes there is. Your sense of balance has gone wrong
6.   Sense of effort
7.   There is a symphony of senses, and they are often so well-orchestrated with each other that we don’t notice their operation.
8.   The front of the plane would not seem higher
9.   A permanent visual scene
10. Visual and tactile information
11. The senses take multiple sources of information and then sum up what’s going on out there.”
12. Science, it shouldn’t be

Monday, September 24, 2018


Thomas Paine famously saidThe World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.These words have never been more relevant according to many. Do your research and write an essay on the dangers of tribalism.  
Familiarize yourself with the issue
·         Why toxic tribalism is destroying our society and what to do about it
Reading material to make notes on
·         Tribalism remains man’s most dangerous instinct
·         Tribalism overrules reason and makes difficult times more dangerous
Videos to take notes from
·          The dangers of tribalism
·         Our tribal intelligence (Scroll down for the video)
    Refer to my second blog, The Essay Archive, for sample essays:

Sunday, September 9, 2018


Superior cognitive skills are what have made countless intellectual achievements, innovations and discoveries possible. They enable us to correctly judge situations, grasp  their implications and see their significance. They provide the opportunity to make the world a better place. However, scores on reading comprehension and maths have been dropping over the years. Does this mean we are not as sharp as we used to be? Do your research and find out why we are losing some of our cognitive skills and what can be done about it.  It is suggested that you do this research over a couple of days. When you are ready, write your essay.
Familiarize yourself with the issue
·         Cognitive function: definition and assessment  (Register for the full video; it is a wonderful site)
Reading material to make notes on
·         Air pollution causes huge reduction in intelligence, study finds
·         Air pollution linked to decline in cognitive performance
·         What you read matters more than what you might think
Videos to take notes from
  Maryanne Wolf on the reading brain
Refer to my second blog, The Essay Archive, for sample essays: