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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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Amy Gutmann :Well if it has a little impact on the world, I’ll be very pleased. I guess I’d have to start with Penn because my work is multiplied a thousand times because of the students who go out from Penn and do great work; and the faculty who are great scholars and teachers; and the faculty who are doctors who are saving people’s lives; the faculty who are nurses who are at the forefront of nursing. And as I think, you know, there is a great, great shortage of nurses in this world. So the biggest impact I’ve had is in three years as Penn’s president. And I hope that will just continue.

Prior to that, I think it was because of my scholarship and teaching on social justice, and in particular I helped to revive the tradition of showing how important education is to democracy when I wrote “Democratic Education”. And I was particularly delighted when it was reviewed as the best book perhaps since John Dewey’s “Democracy and Education”. And that’s a book that is taught in introductory courses in both democratic theory and education. And then I went on to write and to teach a lot about how important deliberation is in democracy. And I think I’ve had an impact there as an antidote to what we called “sound bite democracy”, an antidote to end civility in democratic societies. And what’s the antidote? The antidote is to have more opportunities, more institutions that bring diverse people together to deliberate about hard problems; and to be able to live with their disagreements in a civil way. So that’s another small . . .

 

 

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