Podcast episode

Truth (or the lack of it) in politics and how to think critically with help from Descartes – EP123

Why politicians need to stop lying and cut the endless BS. Episode 123 of Economics Explored features a conversation with Philosophy Professor Deb Brown, Director of the Critical Thinking Project at the University of Queensland. Deb also chats with show host Gene Tunny and guest co-host Tim Hughes about what it means to think critically, drawing on her expertise in philosophy, including her study of Descartes. 

About this episode’s guest – Professor Deb Brown

Deborah Brown is Professor, School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry at the University of Queensland, Australia. During her time in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Deb has coordinated a wide range of projects focusing on critical thinking. She has been instrumental in establishing connections and partnerships within the school sector, including with the Queensland Department of Education, as well as building partnerships across UQ and with international education providers. 

As part of her role, Deb works to link the UQ Critical Thinking Project into relevant projects within the university to provide educators with an understanding of how to embed critical thinking in classroom practice and assessment and to maximise outcomes for students, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Deb has established a professional development program for educators, booster courses for school and university students and research collaborations with a diverse range of researchers from the broader UQ community. 

Deb has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Queensland and a Master of Arts and PHD from the University of Toronto.

Abbreviations Deb uses:

  • NAPLAN: National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy
  • SES: Socio-economic status

The Australian ABC News article Deb was quoted in:

Is telling the truth too much to ask of our politicians?

A book Deb highly recommends:

On Bullshit by Harry G. Frankfurt

Article on the AUKUS (Australia-UK-US) nuclear submarine agreement:

What is the AUKUS partnership?

NPR report on Trump-Trudeau argument about the US’s trade balance with Canada:

Trump Admits To Making Up Trade Deficit In Talks With Canadian Prime Minister

Note that the allegation made by President Trump was that the US was running a trade deficit with Canada, whereas the US typically has a trade surplus with Canada (i.e. typically US exports of goods and services to Canada exceed imports to the US from Canada). The White House argued that President Trump was referring to the trade balance relating to goods only and excluding services. 

Thanks to the show’s audio engineer Josh Crotts for his assistance in producing the episode. 

Please get in touch with any questions, comments and suggestions by emailing us at or sending a voice message via Economics Explored is available via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcast, and other podcasting platforms.

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