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We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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12,000+ Expert Videos

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Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

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World Renowned Bloggers

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Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

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Big Think Edge

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Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

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Down From The Ivory Tower

The Big Idea for Sunday, August 04, 2013

It has long been thought that thinking rationally and disinterestedly is a goal that only makes sense in academic fields like philosophy and science. Don't accept this.

Whether it is everyday decision making, effectively arguing a point, or avoiding falling into a fallacy, thinking rationally can improve all of our lives across the board. A growing body of voices has called for bringing the tools of reason down from the ivory tower:

Philosopher Daniel Dennett is one of the loudest and most convincing of those voices. he has recently published a book, Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking, which aims to teach the techniques that philosophers use to think and reason, and to allow them to be applied to any setting.

Julia Galef, President of the Center For Applied Rationality, which teaches us how to overcome our cognitive biases, loudly and effectively makes the case that the "Spock" idea of rationality as opposite to humanity and emotion is wrong and outmoded. Reason, she explains, complements those most fundamental and human parts of life.

And countless other voices are proclaiming the skills and lessons we need to know to properly fit rationality into our lives.

From this ragtag movement, we can all learn to think better, to choose better, and, from that, to live better.

Perspectives

  1. 1 Daniel Dennett Will Teach You How To Use Your Brain
    Nicholas Clairmont The Big Ideas Of Our Time
  2. 2 How Rational Are You? Try This Quiz
    Steven Mazie Praxis
  3. 3 How to Win an Argument with a Sophist
    Daniel Dennett In Their Own Words
  4. 4 Debunking Straw Vulcan Rationality
    Julia Galef In Their Own Words
 

Down From The Ivory Tower

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