I considered starting a blog several years ago, but deferred the effort until I had a clear idea of what would make my voice unique in the “blogosphere.” It is important to me to not simply echo or underscore the claims made by others, but to contribute original well-written content. To help you decide whether this blog is for you, here are a few points about what to expect:

  • Originality. There are already a number of good blogs concerned at least obliquely with critical thinking. These are often written from specific philosophical or scientific standpoints — atheism, Darwinism, Objectivism, and so on. So while I may from time to time join those conversations, readers will (I hope!) enjoy Effective Thinking for other reasons. This will definitely not be yet another skeptic or atheist blog. Many such blogs are partisan or polemical in tone, typically taking into account only one side of an issue. Blogs that “rally the troops” certainly have a role, but I’m not sure how that style of blogging can generate real intellectual engagement.
  • Informality. As a credentialed philosopher, I uphold the standards of intellectual honesty, rigor and seriousness that are part of the credo of the profession. That said, this will not be an academic blog. If this blog were going to be a series of dry analytic essays, I’d be getting them published in the usual journals. That’s not the direction I am going with this.
  • Experimental. The best teachers of critical thinking keep the focus on how to think, not what to think. Likewise, my aim is to empower readers to think better for themselves by describing and modeling the processes by which one can move to higher levels of cognitive maturity. Of course, cognitive maturity does not immunize one from error. Will I be wrong? Of course. I hope that when I make a mistake, you will reply and explain how I screwed up. I’ll either own the error or clarify my position. (Due to comment spam, I’ve disabled the comment function. I’ve found that the only really valuable feedback has been submitted through the contact form to me directly.)
  • Enthusiasm. In the early to mid-20th century, philosophers in the positivist tradition thought they could formulate the methods of “value free” science. For various reasons (some good, some not) the ideal of “value free” inquiry has been pretty much abandoned. So let me be up-front about mine: I am an evangelist for the cognitive values of rationality and objectivity and an ardent defender of reason and science. So those values and priorities will shape the coverage of topics that you will read about in future blog posts.
  • Humor. Some people might find they get a few laughs from Effective Thinking. (My wife thinks I’m witty, although she may be the only one.)