If Critical Thinking Were a Tool….. 1. ? ? ? ? 2. 3. 4.
For myself, I found that I was fitted for nothing so well as for the study of Truth; as having a mind nimble and versatile enough to catch the resemblances of things … and at the same time steady enough to fix and distinguish their subtler differences; as being gifted by nature with desire to seek, patience to doubt, fondness to meditate, slowness to assert, readiness to consider, carefulness to dispose and set in order; and as being a man that neither affects what is new nor admires what is old, and that hates every kind of imposture. Francis Bacon, 1605
Dewey, John “…active, persistent, and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds that support it and the further conclusions to which it tends” Robert Ennis “…reasonable, reflective thinking that is focused on deciding what to believe or what to do." Fisher & Scriven “…critical thinking is the skilled and active interpretation and evaluation of observations and communications, information and argumentation.” Facione, P. “…the ability to properly construct and evaluate arguments.” The art of being right. Anonymous
Thinking Creating Analyzing Evaluating Applying Understanding Remembering Generating new ideas. Visualizing.Designing. Constructing. Planning. Inventing. Higher Order Thinking Justifying a decision/COA.Checking. Hypothesising. Critiquing. Experimenting. Judging. Disaggregating. Linking.Comparing. Organising. Deconstructing. Marshalling. Using information in a familiar situation.Implementing. Carrying out. Using. Executing. Explaining ideas. Interpreting. Summarising. Paraphrasing. Classifying. Recalling. Recognising. Listing. Describing. Retrieving. Naming.
Stages of Critical Thinking Development Master (Good habits of thought are becoming second nature.) Advanced (We advance in keeping with our practice.) Practicing (We recognize the need for regular practice.) Beginning (We try to improve, but without regular practice.) Challenged (We are faced with significant problems in our thinking.) Unreflective (We are unaware of significant problems in our thinking.)
Where do you fall? Unreflective Challenged Beginning Practicing Advanced Master
Being a Critic • kritikós- one who discerns • discern - to distinguish something as being different from something else; to differentiate; to perceive differences Key Theme: disaggregation; pulling apart, being surgical, identifying discrete elements - …and judging them So as to better assess the whole.
This isn’t a new idea. • A dead guy in a toga talked about 4 “Causes” Material Formal Efficient Final
Being Critical Selection # 1 Selection # 2
Critical Thinking Traits, Standards, Elements Oh, and classwork.
Our journey thus far….. • Necessity & sufficiency • Lies and claims • Justification and use of evidence • Logic • Our job is to argue • Helps us with the 8 Elements • Modus Tollens foundational to ACH • “Criticality” as disaggregation
The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts & Tools by Dr. Richard Paul and Dr. Linda Elder
THE STANDARDS Must be applied to THE ELEMENTS As we learn develop INTELLECTUAL TRAITS
THE STANDARDS Must be applied to THE ELEMENTS As we learn to develop INTELLECTUAL TRAITS
Clarity • A “gateway” standard • What is meant. Understandability. • “The U.S. higher education system is troubled.” • The majority of professors are left leaning proselytizers. (an Ideological claim) • It is too expensive. (a Financial claim) • It teaches facts, not cognitive skills (a Content claim)
Precision • Could you give more detail, more specificity? • Context dependant - Body Temp (F) vs Atomic Weight of H (AMU) J2 - How many tanks are on the ground? Joe - A lot. J2 - You’re fired.
Accuracy • Is that true? • Free from error or distortion • How could we check to see if this is accurate? “Fred Rogers served as a sniper during the Vietnam war with a number of confirmed kills to his credit. He wore long-sleeved shirts and cardigans to hide his many military tattoos.”
Relevance • How is this information connected to the question? • How does that bear on the issue? • How does your question relate to the issue we are dealing with?
Depth • How does your answer address the complexities in the question? • Are you looking beneath the surface? • “Just say ‘no.’ ”
Breadth • Do we need to consider another point of view? • Is there another angle from which to approach this question?
Logic • Does all of this fit together coherently and logically? • Is the conclusion supported? Is the inference valid? • Does that follow from what is said?
Significance • Which of these questions is the most significant/important? • Overheard In University • What do I need to do to get an “A.” • What is the minimum # of pages for this term paper? • How can I maximize my benefit from this course? • What is higher ed supposed to do?
Fairness • Am I reasoning justifiably, or am I being manipulative • Is my vested interest keeping me from considering the problem from alternative viewpoints? • Is my thinking justified given the evidence? Could another’s be more justified?
THE STANDARDS Must be applied to THE ELEMENTS As we learn to develop INTELLECTUAL TRAITS
IMPLICATIONS POINT OF VIEW and consequences frame of reference, perspective PURPOSE INFERENCES Interpretations, leading to conclusions goal, objective INFORMATION QUESTIONS data, facts, evidence, experiences, observations problem, issue ASSUMPTIONS CONCEPTS presupposition, beliefs, taken for granted theories, definitions, laws, principles, models The Eight Elements Elements of Thought
Whenever we reason critically, we… • Do so from within a point of view • Have a purpose • And attempt to answer a question • Use organic assumptions… • …as well as concepts and theories… • Combined with data, facts, and experience (information) • To infer and make claims • Leading to implications and consequence
All reasoning is done from some POINT OF VIEW • What broad issue is the author looking at? • From what perspective is the author looking at the issue? Biography? Background? • What other points of view may be relevant, or add insight?
Example: The author appear to be looking at the issues of Chinese military threat in the wake of a significant maritime incident. The news outlet is American, and has a history of vaguely left-progressive analysis. Alternatively: • A Chinese strategic planner • Fox News/Bill Gertz
All reasoning has a PURPOSE • What is the purpose of the article? What is the object or goal of the writer? • Is the purpose clearly stated? • Is the purpose justified?
Example: The main purpose of this article is to inform the reader by introducing the Pentagon’s recent China threat assessment, and to present alternative perspectives. Ultimately the piece intends to demonstrate that there is still a great deal of ambiguity as concerns Chinese military threat.
All reasoning is an attempt to solve some problem, to answer some QUESTION • What are the key questions the writer is attempting to answer? • Are the question and purpose directly relevant to each other? • Is the question at issue well-stated?
Example: The key question that the author is addressing is: • “Is the Chinese military a threat?” • “What Chinese behaviors can be considered, ‘threatening?’” • “Is there consensus on whether China is a threat?”
All reasoning is based on ASSUMPTIONS • Usually subconscious and unstated • Critical to reasoning • Identify assumptions and determine whether they are justifiable
Evidence Claim Claim Conclusion Inference Inference Inference Assumption Assumption Assumption Conscious Level of Thinking Subconscious Level of Thinking • Humans inherently try to find an explanation for any event • Their conclusions are based on assumptions that usually operate at a subconscious level
Example: The main assumptions underlying the author’s thinking are: • Aggressive local border or boundary actions are an indicator of strategic threat. • Challenging a perceived threat is “unacceptable behaviour.” • Frequency of combat experience is an indicator of strategic threat.
All reasoning is expressed through, and shaped by CONCEPTS • What concepts must the reader understand to derive meaning from the author’s reasoning? • Does the writer clarify key concepts when necessary?
Geography • UNCLOS EEZs • Strategy and strategic intent • China- Taiwan political dynamics
All reasoning is based on INFORMATION & EVIDENCE • Does the writer cite relevant evidence, experiences, and/or information essential to the issue? • Is the information accurate? Can it be verified?
Example: The important information in this article is: • DoD’s annual report on China Threat • PACOM Commander’s comments on the irreconcilability of China’s actions. • USNS Impeccable incident • Commentary by the Center for American Progress (Nina Hachigian) • Commentary by Council on Foreign Relations (Adam Segal)