Polarization and Public Discourse: An Open Alumni Gathering
How We Got Here and What We Do Now
Political discourse in the United States is devolving. From social media to Washington D.C.—closed-mindedness, confirmation bias, and agenda-driven reasoning are undermining the possibility for constructive dialogue. Where do these destructive tendencies come from? Are they the result of a person’s upbringing, or intelligence, or education? A matter of their character? Our research is beginning to provide answers to these questions and these answers have profound, sometimes surprising, implications for the future of our country. Please join us and the Center for Public Philosophy for a presentation and conversation about how to foster more thoughtful and engaged communities of thinkers, doers, and change-makers by using philosophy and cognitive science to teach us all—especially the next generations—how to think and talk to one another differently.
Presenters: Jon Ellis and Juan Ruiz
Jon Ellis, Ph.D, associate professor of philosophy at UC Santa Cruz, is the founding director of the Center for Public Philosophy, a research center within The Humanities Institute at UC Santa Cruz. His current research is on motivated reasoning—cognitive dissonance, rationalization, self-deception—on the role it plays in especially intelligent, reflective, and sincere thinkers. He teaches a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate level courses at UC Santa Cruz, and has published on a broad range of topics including perception, language, color, skepticism, interpretation, and rationalization. He received his doctorate in philosophy from UC Berkeley in 2002.
Juan Ruiz, a master's degree student in philosophy, is the recipient of the UC Santa Cruz Chancellor’s Achievement Award for Diversity. He has been an active high school Ethics Bowl coach for underserved schools in Watsonville, San Jose, and Santa Cruz and co-authored the Assembly Bill 540 Student Emergency Fund, an addendum to CA AB540 Non-Resident Tuition Fee Waiver that allocates $300,000 of unrestricted emergency funds for undocumented students on the UC Santa Cruz campus. He also co-founded UCSC's Minorities and Philosophy chapter.
Food and beverages are available for purchase at Forager. All ages are welcome.
About the UCSC Prof and a Pint Lecture Series
The UCSC Prof and a Pint invites alumni and the community to a series of informal discussions served over dinner and drinks at Forager Tasting Room and Eatery in San Jose. Talks presented by faculty or graduate students aim to engage community discussion about many new things. We cover everything from organic artichokes to endangered zebras, self-driving cars to Shakespeare. All are welcome. Audience participation is encouraged. Enjoy a great meal and learn something while you're eating! All talks will be held on the second Monday of each month. Attendance is free, but meals and drinks are not provided. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.