Introduction to critical thinking
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INTRODUCTION TO CRITICAL THINKING

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Introduction to critical thinking

INTRODUCTION TO CRITICAL THINKING


Introduction to critical thinking

“There are multiple decisions which you have to make entirely by yourself. You can’t lean on anybody else. And a good commander, once he issues an order, must receive complete compliance. An indecisive commander cannot achieve instant compliance. Or one who is unable to make up his own mind and tries to lean on his subordinates will never achieve instant compliance either.”

General Curtis LeMay, from Mission With Lemay


Class overview

CLASS OVERVIEW

  • History of Critical Thinking

  • Fundamentals of Critical Thinking

  • Skills Needed to Think Critically

  • Critical Thinking - Defined

  • Intellectual Standards and Elements of Reasoning

  • Common Fallacies

  • Case Study (optional)


History

HISTORY

  • The Beginning: Socrates

  • Early Years: Plato, Aristotle

    and other Greek philosophers

  • Middle Ages: Francis Bacon

  • Today: Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, Harry Houdini and Carl Sagan


Fundamentals

FUNDAMENTALS

  • The Essence of Critical Thinking is:

    - The ability to assess reasoning;

    - The ability to take apart thoughts to draw logical conclusions.


Critical thinking defined

CRITICAL THINKINGDEFINED

A logical process that makes the

decision making of leaders more

manageable.


Communications skills

COMMUNICATIONS SKILLS

  • Critical Listening:

    Listening to maximize the accurate understanding of what others say


Communications skills1

COMMUNICATIONS SKILLS

  • Critical Reading:An active, intellectually engaged process of reading, interpreting and understanding text


Communications skills2

COMMUNICATIONS SKILLS

  • Critical Writing:Arranging our ideas in a logical order to express ourselves in a disciplined manner


In the end

IN THE END . . .

  • Critical Thinking is: The art of thinking about your thinking while you are thinking in order to make your thinking better


Intellectual standards

INTELLECTUAL STANDARDS

1. Clarity - A gateway standard relevant to all others

- A statement or question must be clear to determine accuracy, relevance, logicalness


Intellectual standards1

INTELLECTUAL STANDARDS

2. Accuracy - A statement may be clear but not accurate

-- Ask questions to determine truth, source legitimacy


Intellectual standards2

INTELLECTUAL STANDARDS

3. Precision - A statement may be clear and accurate, but nor precise

-- Precision is achieved by asking for more details or specific explanations


Intellectual standards3

INTELLECTUAL STANDARDS

4. Relevance - A statement may be clear, accurate, precise, but not relevant to a discussion or issue

-- Probe how the stated position connects to the question or bears on the issue


Intellectual standards4

INTELLECTUAL STANDARDS

5. Depth - A statement can have clarity, accuracy, precision, relevance – but is superficial

-- Ask yourself how you are addressing complexities of an issue

-- Consider if you are addressing the most significant factors


Intellectual standards5

INTELLECTUAL STANDARDS

6. Breadth - A line of reasoning may be clear, accurate, precise, relevant and deep, but one-sided

-- Ask if there is another point of view; another way to look at the question; a differing perspective


Intellectual standards6

INTELLECTUAL STANDARDS

7. Logicalness - A combination of thoughts that is mutually supporting and makes sense in combination

-- Ask if your thoughts make sense, or if, and how, they follow from what you said


Intellectual standards7

INTELLECTUAL STANDARDS

8. Significance - Concentrating on the most significant and important information

-- Address: what is the most significant information; how it is important in context; and which questions/ideas are most significant/important


Intellectual standards8

INTELLECTUAL STANDARDS

9. Fairness - Justifying thought by thinking fairly in context

-- Many questions to consider:

What justifies your thinking?

Are you considering all evidence?

Is your purpose fair?

What is my “agenda?” Is it an obstacle?


Elements of reasoning

ELEMENTS OF REASONING

1. Purpose - Reasoning has an end, or objective

-- Ask yourself about clarity of purpose, and how it’s stated

-- Is the purpose significant? Achievable? Realistic? Justifiable?


Elements of reasoning1

ELEMENTS OF REASONING

2. Question at issue – Is it the right question and are there other relevant questions?

-- Probe what are the fundamental issues, the precise question(s), its complexity and why it’s so

-- Ask if there are other questions needing to be explored


Elements of reasoning2

ELEMENTS OF REASONING

3. Point of View – a frame of reference

-- You should ask, from which point of view do you start?

-- Are you “locked” to a view, allowing no inclusion of other views in your thinking?

-- Are there multiple views to consider?


Elements of reasoning3

ELEMENTS OF REASONING

4. Information/Data - probing veracity, significance

-- Ask if your data is accurate, clear, fair

-- Ask what data is most important, and if sources are reliable

-- Ask if you have avoided personal bias

-- What are alternate, valid sources of information?


Elements of reasoning4

ELEMENTS OF REASONING

5. Concepts, Theories and Ideas – these contribute to depth of thought

-- Determine most fundamental concept to consider

-- How does it connect to key concepts in your life?

-- How might clarity of your concepts be altered to change your point of view?


Elements of reasoning5

ELEMENTS OF REASONING

6. Assumptions - reasoning starts with having a certain assumption(s)

-- You should ask if your assumptions are justifiable or should be questioned.

-- What are you taking for granted?


Elements of reasoning6

ELEMENTS OF REASONING

  • Implications/Consequences - understanding decision implications

    -- Tracing logical consequences in advance.

    -- Considering most significant implications of a decision.

    -- Affecting whom, when, where and how?


Elements of reasoning7

ELEMENTS OF REASONING

8. Inferences - reasoning proceeds by steps

-- Perceiving a situation, reviewing facts, and coming to a conclusion, or inference

-- Who makes the inference?

-- Is there more than one inference that can be made?

-- Can you conclude your inference is sound in your reasoning?


Fallacy

FALLACY

  • What is a fallacy?

    An argument that appears sound, at first glance, but contains a flaw in reasoning which makes it unsound


Examples of fallacies

EXAMPLES OF FALLACIES

  • Burden of Proof (a.k.a. Appeal to Ignorance)

Example: “Two wrongs make a right”


Fallacies

FALLACIES

  • Hasty generalization

    (Example: A pair of shoes I bought wore out quickly; I conclude that all shoes of this brand are shoddy.)

  • Post hoc reasoning

    (Example: I walk under a ladder and soon after I have an accident; I conclude that walking under a ladder is bad luck.)


Fallacies1

FALLACIES

  • Band Wagon (peer pressure)

  • Guilt by Association


Summary

SUMMARY

  • History of Critical Thinking

  • Fundamentals of Critical Thinking

  • Skills Needed to Think Critically

  • Critical Thinking - Defined

  • Intellectual Standards and Elements of Reasoning

  • Common Fallacies

  • Case Study (optional)


Conclusion

CONCLUSION

Critical Thinkers:

  • Use elements of reasoning to take apart thought and draw logical conclusions

  • They examine reasoning by applying

    intellectual standards

  • Intellectual standards help them reach just, reasonable conclusions


Critical thinking

Critical Thinking

Judge

Decide

Solve a problem

Whenever one must figure out what to believe or what to do, and do so in a

rational and insightful way


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