Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Intellectual Laziness

Recently, there's been a series of professors who have been video taped and then have had their statements posted online.  Some of the other issues aside, it is really sad that we live in an age where people don't want to be challenged, as in one case, where it appears a professor was targeted because of his political views.  One of the important reasons people go to college is to expose themselves to different and new ideas.  Sometimes, as individuals, we reject the ideas we're around; other times we don't.  But getting exposed to them in the first place is not a bad thing. 
A friend once argued to me that she didn't want to read certain material because of the effect it might have on her.  But this is silly, because the only way we can understand why something is bad/false/an exaggeration is if we work through the idea first.  There's a famous quote from Aristotle about a strong mind being capable of considering other ideas but then being able to reject them, and that's exactly the kind of strong minds schools should want.  Misrepresenting someone's ideas is not critiquing them; it's attempting to hoodwink other thinkers, which is simply intellectual laziness. 

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