Fourth R is a
personal philanthropic effort to advance civilization by enabling the
civilized to advance themselves.
Fourth R Practical Philosophy is not an
accredited educational institution,
and its owner, while formally schooled in logic, is not formally
trained as an educator.
All users of this website should read this page
in its entirety,
and should agree to the terms expressed in the
disclaimer below before proceeding.
(No signature is necessary. Use of this website signifies such agreement.)
It is the primary goal of this website to
advocate the cultivation and propagation of critical thinking as a general-purpose skill
through secondary-level public and private schools. In the meantime, it is intended as a public-interest effort
to help adults improve their own reasoning skills. The ultimate
objective is to foster competent reasoning among both private citizens
and public servants, to improve the quality and effectiveness of problem-solving and
decision-making generally, thereby to increase creativity and
productivity, to reduce conflict and waste, and thus to enhance the
overall well-being of individuals and society.
Along with many fictitious and abstract
examples, the lesson material also includes some examples from real
life, to help retain focus on developing skills for practical use in the
real world. It is also hoped that this will encourage people to
exercise their own curiosity and to question ideas of all sorts—including
those they may suppose to be beyond question—with
the view that any idea truly worth believing ought to be able to
withstand earnest scrutiny in light of relevant evidence. However, it is not our intent to teach
what to think, but how to think well. The
expectation is that, having learned how to think, most people should,
with practice, experience, and the earnest curiosity to subject their
own assumptions to critical scrutiny, be able to figure out what to
Note: There is no mobile version of this course!
It is offered only in
a format suitable for desktop and laptop screens. This is not an
oversight or a shortcoming, but a deliberate decision, for two reasons:
 Some of the
concepts dealt with in this course require considering a whole paragraph
or graphic, or even an entire page, at a time. Having to
scroll back and forth to study the relationships among several
interconnected ideas is a distraction and bother you don't need.
That's why the "big screen only" format, so your eyes and brain can
"connect the dots," in most cases without your having to lift a
finger—except maybe to scratch your head.
your very method of thinking will demand your undivided attention.
It must not be interrupted by calls, texts, tweets, news, music, games,
other distractions, or even the temptation to indulge them.
With concentration, you'll learn to organize your own thinking, analyze
it, connect it into a coherent whole; and you'll learn to critique
others' thinking, to expose any errors in it. Anyone who is adult
enough to benefit from this course should also be adult enough to focus
exclusive attention on the subject matter for half an hour or more at a
time. That's why the "no distractions" medium, so a learning
project that should take, at most, a few weeks doesn't drag out into
Besides peace, quiet,
an Internet connection, and your focused attention, the only additional
things you'll need in conjunction with this course are a means of taking
intelligible and searchable notes to which you can refer later, a pencil
and some scratch paper for charts and diagrams, and perhaps a collegiate
dictionary. Anything else would just get in the way of your
Does requiring you to
focus and to avoid distraction mean you're being brainwashed? Not
necessarily, but it's a good question. Keeping someone isolated
from competing ideas is a standard tool of brainwashing. What you
learn here is designed, not to isolate you from other ideas, but to
enable you to confront and evaluate all ideas rationally, and also to
help you guard against common fallacies that routinely trip up the
gullible and unwary. Whenever you're finished studying for the day
(whether you've spent one hour or ten on it), you're encouraged to apply
what you've learned here to whatever you do in normal life. What
you learn here, plus practical application, should eventually help you
make clearer and more unified sense of the real world. In the
unlikely event that it doesn't, perhaps that's a clue that your existing
worldview could benefit from some thoughtful adjustment—because of your
own disciplined thinking, not enforced mind control.
Except as noted, all material on this website is
copyright by the author, and is subject to the following provisions:
The user may make a single copy of any or all
material on this site for his or her own personal use.
The user may freely cite brief quotations or
paraphrases of material from this website, provided that the
citation's meaning is not distorted with respect to the original
material and context, and provided that appropriate
accreditation is given. (In informal messaging, such as memos
and blogs, accreditation should include the URL of this website.
In works to be submitted for publication or academic credit,
accreditation must be in the form of a standard bibliographic entry,
including the author's name, the source webpage URL, and the
publication date. If the individual source page does not display
a "modified" date, then the copyright date on the home page may be
Except for these limited provisions,
republication or redistribution of material on this website without the
author's explicit consent is strictly forbidden. Failure to comply
with copyright restrictions constitutes plagiarism.
Disclaimer and Terms of
The material on this website is made available
in good faith and on an
as-is basis. It is intended for the betterment of the user, with
respect to his or her ability to make sound decisions that enhance the
well-being of himself or herself and others, and that do not encroach in
any way upon the well-being or legitimate rights of other individuals, groups, or society as
a whole. It is the responsibility of the user to interpret this
material rationally and without extraneous harmful or destructive inferences.
Fourth R exercises no control over those who use
this website. Our host, Startlogic, gathers basic headcount
information, but does not identify individual visitors. This website does not gather any information about
specific users, except what they knowingly and willingly choose to submit. It is
solely the responsibility of the user to draw whatever benefit he or she
can from the use of the material presented here.
Regardless of any inferences the user may choose to draw from this material,
Fourth R makes no guarantees explicit or implicit, either of the
material's suitability or benefit to
the user, or against potential or actual harm resulting from the
material's use or misuse.
any material on this website signifies AGREEMENT BY the user and his or
her agents to hold
FOURTH R and its owner
and assignees absolutely blameless for any harm or risk that may result
from any direct or indirect effects of the the material's use or misuse
by the user.
If the user agrees to these
terms, he or she is welcome to view any portion of this website
accessible to the public, and to use and copy materials contained herein
under the copyright provisions stated above.
If, either now or later, the
user decides that he or she does not agree to these terms, he or she
should immediately cease accessing any of the site's study materials,
leave the website, and destroy any and all copies which he or she has
made of the website's content.