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reasoning skills

‘The Best-Laid Plans…’

“Quite often good things have hurtful consequences. There are instances of men who have been ruined by their money or killed by their courage” Aristotle Actions have consequences. Whatever we do in both our private and public lives has consequences. The policies...

How to Evaluate an IF Policy Possibility—Part 2

Once you have a basic understanding of the policy possibility---what it says and what it doesn’t---the next step is to understand why someone might actually propose it. In order to do this, you will typically need to go beyond the description of the policy...

How to Evaluate an IF Policy Possibility⎯Part 1

The first step, of course, is to understand the possibility: what it says and what it doesn’t. This almost inevitably means reading the description of the possibility, and the reasoning behind it, and paying attention to the words that describe it. We did this the...

False Dichotomies and the IF Discussion Process

While on a recent family vacation, I had the “opportunity” to watch a couple hours of cable TV news/commentary.  By which I mean that I lost the coin toss with my spouse over which of us would accompany our over-excited children to the hotel pool, where a steady...

Dealing With Difference

Difference is a fundamental fact of human life. There is similarity too. But difference is the reason why we need to have discussions about public policy. It is also the reason why they should occur face-to-face, over extended periods of time, and with the...

Exploration, Development, and Debate

One of the primary tasks of an IF facilitator is to ensure that his panels’ discussions keep to the task of exploring and developing possibilities, and do not degenerate into debates. But isn’t debating the validity and utility of ideas a way of exploring their...

Jobs and the Future of a College Education?

What is the future of a college education in the USA? The recent economic downturn seems to have sharpened the already well-known trend toward seeing a college education largely in terms of enhancing one's economic security. And as our uncertain economic times...