Nov 24, 2017 - 11 min
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Want to argue like Socrates? Meditate like Descartes? Here’s how. With the use of heuristics, anybody can think like a philosopher, Alan Hájek explains how. "Philosophers place a premium on certain tools for regimenting our thinking, especially logic and probability theory. However, there is a far richer toolbox at our disposal. Over the years, I have observed philosophers repeatedly using various argumentative moves or strategies, which can be encapsulated in rules of thumb that make their tasks easier. These are what might be called philosophical heuristics. This should come as no surprise: pretty much every complex activity has its heuristics, which experts teach and beginners learn – photography, calligraphy, diving, driving, football, foosball, judo, Cluedo, curling, hurling, climbing, rhyming, and so on. Such heuristics are especially well-documented for chess: ‘castle early and often’, ‘check every check’, and what have you."