Brian Robinson

Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Category: Teaching

Moral Psychology

Teaching Intellectual Humility

[Cross-posted on Open for Debate]

Wooden Path in the WoodsWe have good reason for wanting to teach and instill the virtue of intellectual humility. Those with this virtue are more cooperative, want to learn more, are more forgiving, are more willing to admit mistakes, and even make better leaders. But how do we encourage people to become intellectually humble? Continue reading

Responding to Egoism

I’ve been teaching ethics since 2006, and just about every semester I teach the problem of ethical egoism. In short, that problem is: Why should I do what’s right if it’s not in my self-interest. To me, this is THE central question in ethics. Continue reading

New Job: Texas A&M University-Kingsville

I’m very excited to announce that I’ve accepted a tenure-track position as an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, starting this fall. I’ll be joining Jeff Glick and Emil Badici as the philosophers in the Department of History, Political Science and Philosophy.

Logic Joke

I wanted to start my logic class this semester with a good logic joke. Logic can sometimes feel dull and boring to students, so setting a humorous tone from the start of term can be helpful. So I told them this joke, which is a modified (and more morally and socially acceptable version of another you may know). Feel free to steal it.

Last week a new neighbor moved into the house across from mine. As one does with new neighbors, I went over to meet him and we got to talking. He asked what I did, and I told him I was a professor. When he inquired what I taught, I said, “Logic.”

He was curious and said, “Logic, what’s that?”

“Let me give you an example,” I said. “Do you own a lawnmower?”

“Yes.”

“Well, I infer from this that you know how to use your lawnmower.”

“Yeah, that’s right.”

“Well, I infer from this that you learned how to use your lawnmower by reading the instruction manual.”

“Right again.”

“So then I can infer that you know how to read.”

“Of course.”

“There you go. That’s logic.”

My new neighbor was impressed. A few days later, he was talking with some old friends when he mentioned that one of his new neighbors was a logic professor. His friend then asked, “Logic, what’s that?”

My neighbor, full of confidence, said, “Let me give you an example. Do you own a lawnmower?”

“No.”

“What are you, illiterate?”

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Term Ends, but with Sadness

The fall term is over. It’s been a very busy one, and there were many interesting and exciting things to report. But I can’t now, though maybe later. I found out on Monday that one of my students was hit and killed by a car over the weekend. She was only 19. The class felt odd and empty with her empty chair this morning during the final exam. Though some students already knew, I didn’t have the heart to tell the whole class before their final. But I did tell them afterward. What a terrible, tragic way to end a semester. In memoriam, Jessie Winterholler.

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