some thoughts on thinking

Every fortnight I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds.

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” —Ray Bradbury, via @holdengraber

@_Amanda_Killan: “Libraries literally aren’t just a place to obtain books for free. They’re one of the few public spaces left in our society where you’re allowed to exist without the expectation of spending money.”

@dougkleeman: “Before you criticize something, find three things you actually like about it first. It works when reviewing creative work, but it also makes you a more pleasant human being.”

TurnItIn User Agreement: I Disagree

“Whether or not it make sense for a university to use a plagiarism detection service is outside of the scope of this blog post. And so is a discussion about what constitutes plagiarism. So assuming the University of Amsterdam will continue to want to check whether I have plagiarized, I will list my conditions before I can agree to the User Agreement. These are as follows:

My work can only be used by Turnitin to check for plagiarism.
As I see no reason for it being my responsibility to help Turnitin get better at doing their job (by giving them the ability to recognise when somebody plagiarizes my work), I want Turnitin to delete my work as soon as the check has been done.
If Turnitin relies on third parties to do the plagiarism check, then I would need a limitative list of these parties and the assurance that the above two conditions will also count for them.” —@hansdezwart

The Age of Outrage, via @rstraub46

“Today’s identity politics has another interesting feature: it teaches students to think in a way antithetical to what a liberal arts education should do. When I was at Yale in the 1980s, I was given so many tools for understanding the world. By the time I graduated, I could think about things as a Utilitarian or a Kantian, as a Freudian or a behaviorist, as a computer scientist or a humanist. I was given many lenses to apply to any one situation. But nowadays, students who major in departments that prioritize social justice over the disinterested pursuit of truth are given just one lens—power—and told to apply it to all situations. Everything is about power. Every situation is to be analyzed in terms of the bad people acting to preserve their power and privilege over the good people. This is not an education. This is induction into a cult, a fundamentalist religion, a paranoid worldview that separates people from each other and sends them down the road to alienation, anxiety, and intellectual impotence.” —@JonHaidt

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