Mysteries of Self and Soul

Questions for Book #1: The Coddling of the American Mind 1. Name the three Great UnTruths that Haidt/Lukianoff believe are increasingly permeated educational institutions, especially college campuses. 2. Name 3 of the 6 ‘explanatory threads’ which Haidt/Lukianoff believe underlie the rise in ‘shoutdowns’, intimidation, and occasional violence that make it difficult to nurture collective investigation on college campuses. 3. Explain the concept of ‘antifragility’ and how it is distinguished from ‘’resilience”. 4. Explain how Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) deploys the understanding of the human mind as characterized by ‘antifragility’. 5. Explain the metaphor that Haidt uses to separate the mind into ‘rider’ and ‘elephant’. How is this metaphor used to define ‘emotional reasoning’? (Chapter 2) 6. How can ‘the rider’ fight back against the distortions of emotional reasoning? 7. Besides ‘emotional reasoning’, name at least two other cognitive distortions addressed by CBT. 8. Explain why Haidt/Lukianoff believe that the concept of ‘microaggression’—as defined by Derald Wing Sue—encourages us to misperceive acts as aggression. 9. True or false. Haidt/Lukianoff deny the existence of implicit or unconscious bias. (Chapter 2) 10. True or false. Haidt/Lukianoff claim that it is unjust to treat a person as a bigot when they harbor no ill will. 11. Explain why we might believe that the interpretations of behavior encouraged by Sue’s notion of microaggression is counterproductive on diverse college campuses? 12. Explain the tension between interpretations of bigotry that focus on ‘intent’ and those which focus on ‘impact’. 13. Explain what plan Haidt/Lukianoff offer to raise ‘wiser kids’? 14. Explain what plan Haidt/Lukianoff offer to create ‘wiser universities’? Questions for Book #2: Backlash 1. Outline and explain Yancy’s article “Dear White America”. Be sure to capture the main points and arguments Yancy offers there. 2. How does Yancy define racism? Provide what you believe is the strongest argument in favor of this conception of racism. 3. Explain why Haidt/Lukianoff would likely reject the definition of racism offered by Yancy. Discuss their distinction between accounts of racism that focus on intent and those that focus on impact. 4. Why does Yancy believe that he is offering a ‘gift’ to white America? Questions for Book #3: The Problem of the Soul 1. Identify and explain the tension between the humanistic and scientific account of ‘mind’, as it is explained by Flanagan. 2. Identify and explain the tension between the humanistic and scientific account of ‘free will’, as it is explained by Flanagan. 3. Identify and explain the tension between the humanistic and scientific account of ‘a permanent and abiding self’, as it is explained by Flanagan. 4. Identify and explain the two components of the ‘Cartesian picture’ of human beings. 5. What is a conceptual scheme on Flanagan’s view? Why does one’s conceptual scheme matter? Provide at least two examples of instances in which science has disrupted the manifest image held by a community/culture.

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