Encouraging Critical
  Thinking Online

        Unit 1
  Checking Facts and
  Gathering Opinions
In which year was the
     philosopher Plato born?
• Find three websites that provide an
  answer
• Fill in the boxes on t...
In which year was the
     philosopher Plato born?
• Many sources give a date around
  428 or 427 BCE
• See, for example, ...
Extracts from The Philosopher’s Lighthouse
                  and the EGS website




http://library.thinkquest.org/18775/p...
Extracts from The Philosopher’s Lighthouse
                  and the EGS website




http://library.thinkquest.org/18775/p...
In which year was the
      philosopher Plato born?
• But it’s not hard to find sites that
  give dates ranging from at le...
Extracts from Bristol University course
        description and APS newsletter




http://www.bristol.ac.uk/philosophy/cur...
Extracts from Bristol University course
        description and APS newsletter




http://www.bristol.ac.uk/philosophy/cur...
In which year was the
      philosopher Plato born?
• Many sites will indicate that there’s
  some uncertainty
  – By prec...
In which year was the
      philosopher Plato born?
• However, many sites just give an
 unqualified date
  – St Andrews Un...
Extracts from St Andrews University
           website and UsefulTrivia.com




http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~histor...
Extracts from St Andrews University
           website and UsefulTrivia.com




http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~histor...
In which year was the
      philosopher Plato born?
• Some sites even contradict
 themselves
  – Bookrags.com’s extract fr...
Bookrags.com: Extract from
      Encyclopedia of World Biography




http://www.bookrags.com/biography/plato/   Retrieved ...
Bookrags.com: Extract from
      Encyclopedia of World Biography




http://www.bookrags.com/biography/plato/   Retrieved ...
Wikipedia article on Plato from 2008




http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plato   Retrieved 4 June 2008
Wikipedia article on Plato from 2008




http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plato   Retrieved 4 June 2008
Further questions to consider

• What reasons are given for
  accepting one date rather than
  another?
• In your view, wh...
Summary - key things to note

• The precise answer to a question is not
  always known
  – But sources don’t always acknow...
Why might we find conflicting
    answers to a question?
• There may be real uncertainty
  about the answer
• Authorities ...
Why might we find conflicting
    answers to a question?
• Some sources may be more up to
  date than others
• Answers may...
Questions to ask when
        assessing sources
• Who is the author?
  – An individual or an institution?
  – What are the...
Questions to ask when
        assessing sources
• Are there reasons to doubt the
 reliability of this source?
  – Does it ...
Questions to ask when
        assessing sources
• Is the information provided
 confirmed by other sources?
  – Are referen...
Remember the three Ws

• WHO wrote this site?
  – Is the author a trustworthy source?
• WHEN was it written?
  – Is it up ...
This slideshow is part of
Encouraging Critical Thinking Online,
   a set of free teaching resources
         designed to d...
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Critical Thinking Unit 1 Question A2 Plato Slide Share

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Part of a set of university teaching materials called "Encouraging Critical Thinking Online" by Meriel Patrick of Oxford University, made openly available for adaptation and re-use in the Intute Virtual Training Suite <http: />

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Critical Thinking Unit 1 Question A2 Plato Slide Share

  1. 1. Encouraging Critical Thinking Online Unit 1 Checking Facts and Gathering Opinions
  2. 2. In which year was the philosopher Plato born? • Find three websites that provide an answer • Fill in the boxes on the worksheet for each of them • Comment on any notable features of the sites or answers you discover
  3. 3. In which year was the philosopher Plato born? • Many sources give a date around 428 or 427 BCE • See, for example, the biographies of Plato from – The Philosopher’s Lighthouse – The European Graduate School
  4. 4. Extracts from The Philosopher’s Lighthouse and the EGS website http://library.thinkquest.org/18775/plato/biop.htm and http://www.egs.edu/resources/plato.html Retrieved 6 August
  5. 5. Extracts from The Philosopher’s Lighthouse and the EGS website http://library.thinkquest.org/18775/plato/biop.htm and http://www.egs.edu/resources/plato.html Retrieved 6 August
  6. 6. In which year was the philosopher Plato born? • But it’s not hard to find sites that give dates ranging from at least 430 to 423 BCE – Bristol University course description – Australian Psychological Society newsletter
  7. 7. Extracts from Bristol University course description and APS newsletter http://www.bristol.ac.uk/philosophy/current/undergrad/pastunits/units0506/plato.html and http://www.groups.psychology.org.au/Assets/Files/paig_newsletter_1999.pdf Retrieved 6 August 2008
  8. 8. Extracts from Bristol University course description and APS newsletter http://www.bristol.ac.uk/philosophy/current/undergrad/pastunits/units0506/plato.html and http://www.groups.psychology.org.au/Assets/Files/paig_newsletter_1999.pdf Retrieved 6 August 2008
  9. 9. In which year was the philosopher Plato born? • Many sites will indicate that there’s some uncertainty – By preceding the date with ‘around’, ‘ca.’, ‘circa’ or similar – By giving a range of dates – e.g. 428/7 BCE
  10. 10. In which year was the philosopher Plato born? • However, many sites just give an unqualified date – St Andrews University Plato summary – UsefulTrivia.com even gives a month • Surprisingly few sites indicate the full extent of the uncertainty
  11. 11. Extracts from St Andrews University website and UsefulTrivia.com http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/Mathematicians/Plato.html and http://www.usefultrivia.com/biographies/plato_001.html Retrieved 6 August 2008
  12. 12. Extracts from St Andrews University website and UsefulTrivia.com http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/Mathematicians/Plato.html and http://www.usefultrivia.com/biographies/plato_001.html Retrieved 6 August 2008
  13. 13. In which year was the philosopher Plato born? • Some sites even contradict themselves – Bookrags.com’s extract from the Encyclopedia of World Biography – A previous version of the Wikipedia article on Plato, online for at least several months in 2008
  14. 14. Bookrags.com: Extract from Encyclopedia of World Biography http://www.bookrags.com/biography/plato/ Retrieved 4 June 2008
  15. 15. Bookrags.com: Extract from Encyclopedia of World Biography http://www.bookrags.com/biography/plato/ Retrieved 4 June 2008
  16. 16. Wikipedia article on Plato from 2008 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plato Retrieved 4 June 2008
  17. 17. Wikipedia article on Plato from 2008 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plato Retrieved 4 June 2008
  18. 18. Further questions to consider • What reasons are given for accepting one date rather than another? • In your view, which date has the best claim to be the correct answer? Why is this?
  19. 19. Summary - key things to note • The precise answer to a question is not always known – But sources don’t always acknowledge that this is the case – Important qualifications can get omitted • Caution and cross-checking of facts are vital
  20. 20. Why might we find conflicting answers to a question? • There may be real uncertainty about the answer • Authorities may disagree • There may be multiple ways of interpreting a question
  21. 21. Why might we find conflicting answers to a question? • Some sources may be more up to date than others • Answers may vary in precision • Some sources may simply be wrong
  22. 22. Questions to ask when assessing sources • Who is the author? – An individual or an institution? – What are the author’s credentials? • Is this a scholarly resource, or a more informal one? • How up to date is this source?
  23. 23. Questions to ask when assessing sources • Are there reasons to doubt the reliability of this source? – Does it include information I know to be false? – Does it contradict itself or use poor reasoning? – Is it biased towards a particular view?
  24. 24. Questions to ask when assessing sources • Is the information provided confirmed by other sources? – Are references provided? – Do other websites agree? (A major advantage of the Web is that many sources can be compared quickly and easily.)
  25. 25. Remember the three Ws • WHO wrote this site? – Is the author a trustworthy source? • WHEN was it written? – Is it up to date? • WHY was it written? – Does the author have an axe to grind?
  26. 26. This slideshow is part of Encouraging Critical Thinking Online, a set of free teaching resources designed to develop students’ analytic abilities, using the Web as source material. For the full set, please visit Intute Training: http://www.intute.ac.uk/training/
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