Philosophy & Critical Thinking

Philosophy & Critical Thinking


“The Future is Now”

Jason Merchey poetry July 3rd, 2017

A paen about positive values and the challenges of modern life. Here is a stanza:

The information age is surging ever-forward.
Synthesized interaction, digitally-enhanced,
Virtual reality, simulated ecstasy, imagination.
As though we’re collectively in a trance.

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A Discussion About Values and Ethics (Part 1)

A Discussion About Values and Ethics July 1st, 2017

The following piece is slated to be chapter 3 in the second volume of Values & Ethics: From Living Room to Boardroom (itself based on an Internet-based talk radio show of the same name I did in times past). In this dialogue, author and philosophical thinker Jason Merchey is interviewed by noted communication expert and founder of the peace activist group Voices of Women, Jenni Prisk. Topics range from domestic to international politics, to “living a life of value”, to the role of the individual in society. Both interlocutors are candid, insightful, and informed.

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“Values of the Wise”: What Does This Mean?

Values of the Wise logo June 22nd, 2017

The goal of Values of the Wise (the company) is to bring to life ancient wisdom and progressive thinking. This is done through books, online tools and resources, quotations, social networking, and the like. But what are “the values of the wise?” What does the phrase actually mean? I am Jason Merchey, the founder and originator of the concept, and I will be happy to explain what I think it means.

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Philosophical Books: Three Down-to-Earth Ones

philosophical books June 17th, 2017

Philosophical books often don’t win many prizes. They can be difficult, abstruse, antiquated, or just plain boring. Most of us realize the power and the merit of reading in the field of philosophy, but are wary of picking up a Nietzsche book. Now, I do recommend the readable and fairly wide-ranging book Philosophy for Dummies, by public philosopher extraordinaire, Tom Morris, Ph.D. However, that is only going to take you so far because it is necessarily wide in its breadth. It’s a good “Cliff’s Notes” version of the field of philosophy, but it isn’t as deep in the area of applied philosophy as you are probably needing. That is where Values of the Wise comes in. Read on for more insight into three wonderful, philosophical books that you can really sink your teeth into and get a lot out of. 

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Engaging in Socratic Dialogue

Socratic dialogue June 15th, 2017

There is something called Socratic dialogue. Essentially, two individuals engage in a conversation – a dialectic, as it is known – and they try to figure out the nature of the question and try to formulate an answer that is logical, rational, true, and correct. It’s not easy, but it is probably better to have a knowledgeable person work in concert with you if you are trying to figure out truth. This takes wisdom, obviously. Though it is not quite ready to be “an app,” there is something about the Socratic method that can be learned and useful to an individual even sans interlocutor, if you will. Thus, I will share with you my notes on what Socratic dialogue is all about. May it lead you one step closer to wisdom!

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Books on Values: Building a Life of Value

one of the best books on values June 3rd, 2017

Values of the Wise has three wonderful, insightful books on values that range from $8 to $20. They primarily use quotations to evoke wisdom and inspiration. They are organized by value: in other words, the chapter on Truth & Justice features an introductory essay, eighteen pages of some of the best and most unique quotations on the subjects, and then a closing essay. The book is very accessible because you can flip to any page and start reading; there is no need to start at the beginning and read it like a novel. One doesn’t wear all of one’s jewelry (or clothes) every single day, and the same is true for the wisdom present in this book that Diane Zehr, Pastor of Florence Christian Church in Florence, KY describes with the following words:

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Wise Words About Life: The Wisdom Archive

wise words about life May 23rd, 2017

This is the page you need to see if you are searching for wise words about life! The Wisdom Archive is home to 25,000 great quotations on values & wisdom! I have collected these apt examples of values over a 13-year period. I have spent much money, energy, and time digitizing the collection and making it searchable based on keyword, subject, author name, author gender, value, and author ethnic background. No quotes about “fun” or “dogs” or “cooking” here! Indeed, these are the best quotes, the ultimate in wise words about life when it comes to values, wisdom, and ethics. How much does the Wisdom Archive cost? Nothing! Are there a bunch of ads that cheapen the site and the user experience? Negative!

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Supply-Side Economics: Unwise and Unkind

Economics for the rich May 22nd, 2017

Supply-side economics is on display in the latest budgetary proposals by the Trump Administration. The approach to governance he is showing is highly questionable, both from a wisdom perspective, and from an economic justice point of view. As Erik Wasson writes in his Bloomberg article, “Trump to Pitch Deep Cuts to Anti-Poverty Programs and Medicaid:” “President Donald Trump plans to propose $1.7 trillion in cuts to a category of spending that includes major social and entitlement programs for lower-income Americans, as part of an effort to balance the budget within a decade.” He also notes that ‘This budget continues to reveal President Trump’s true colors: His populist campaign rhetoric was just a Trojan horse to execute long-held, hard-right policies that benefit the ultra-wealthy at the expense of the middle class,’ Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schemer said.” What could the populist-sounding candidate-turned-president have in mind? What is the justification? Is it wise, and is it just?

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Human Nature Reflected in Diverse Quotations

examination of human nature May 14th, 2017

What is the nature of human nature? Are humans bad, good, helpful, selfish, loving, dangerous, creative, self-destructive, evolving, devolving, satiable, insatiable, visionary, myopic, cruel, or cursed? Are we full of potential or destined for self-destruction? One thing is for sure – we have been thinking about, writing about, fighting against, and enjoying the fruits of human nature for ages. I just watched a movie that made me wonder, and yet Euripides was scratching his thoughts onto parchment 2,400 years ago. Here are some quotes on human nature to help you formulate some potential answers to this thorny question.

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Making Moral Decisions: Ethical Theories

woman making moral decisions May 13th, 2017

What is moral philosophy? How does one go about making moral decisions? How do you handle ethical dilemmas? What can philosophy do to help us live better? Morality (and its parent, moral philosophy) is one of the most interesting and least-known subjects. I read an informative and worthy textbook, Analyzing Moral Issues, a while back, and its fruits are as sweet today as ever. In this blog, I wanted to answer the above questions, and to summarize ethical theories (a.k.a. moral theories). What’s in it for you? The more you know about moral philosophy and theory, the better able you will be to think critically, deal with moral dilemmas, and live a life that would be considered “good.” This is really what making moral decisions is all about. Consider this a primer on deciding what is right and wrong.

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