CRITICAL THINKING: How To
Be Your Own ‘BS’ Detector.
Group Colloquium Project
“Chapter 1: An Appeal to Students,” 3-16, M. Savio, “An End to History,” 17-19
“Chapter 6: From Cocksure Ignorance to Thoughtful Uncertainty,” p. 125-147
“Chapter 7: Overgeneralization, Stereotyping, and Prejudice,” p. 153-162
“Chapter 3: Definitions and Criteria of Critical Thinking,” 54-68
Chapter 3: Definitions and
Criteria of Critical Thinking
1980 American educators began to identify critical thinking as
a subject that needed to be brought into high schools and
- Being recursive involves the process of rereading as many
times as necessary to decode the authors full, complex
- Cumulativeness refers to the continuous building and
holding of knowledge, ideas, and reasoning throughout a
-A Rogerian Argument is a form of discussion based on finding
common ground, it helps us get outside of our own egos and
empathize with others’ viewpoints
Critical Points: cont.
Ethnocentrism is the belief in the superiority of ones
own ethnic group - Egocentrism: the tendency to
perceive, understand and interpret the world in terms
of the self.
- Analytic and synthetic skills include the ability to
reason back and forth and connect ] the concrete and
abstract; personal and impersonal; literal and
figurative; explicit and implicit; actual and
- Analytic and synthetic skills also include the abilities
to understand multiple levels of meaning, points of
view, to recognize irony, paradox, and ambiguity
between what is said and meant.
Critical Points: cont.
- Higher order thinking is the ability to retain and apply
material previously studied and to sustain an extended
line of argument in reading, writing, and speaking, and
also incorporating recursive and cumulative thinking.
(Meaning: the ability to refer back to previously covered
material and to build on it)
- Higher Order Thinking further contributes to making
connections between diverse experiences, ideas, and
subjects studied through analysis and synthesis
Chapter 7: Overgeneralization,
Stereotyping and Prejudice.
-Overgeneralizations are the most common type of logical
-Critical thinkers must draw the line at the degree to which one
-Never say “all” ,”always” and “never” and if you must, say
“most”- and you better back it up with some evidence.
Prejudiced- An ad hominen fallacy is when you disagree with an
argument in a paper instead of judging it on its own merits or
prejudging it. Prejudice happens in many forms through
comedy and blatantly assuming a whole race is the same at a
certain skill for example, driving.
Overgeneralizations and Stereotypes:
There are two other classes of prejudice: Class
prejudiced and Reverse prejudice
Class prejudice- seeing certain ethnics groups as
being poor and purposefully deterring them from
getting ahead and allowing the rich to get ahead
instead .An example would be when the
government hands out grants to seemingly poor
corporations, in “need “ of money. The wealthy
through business entertaining ( a euphemism for
bribery) has a way of obtaining funds.
Reverse prejudice-This is often the case of
preferential treatment of a class of people who
have been discriminated against in the past. This is
used as a reason for people to discriminate against
a group. Either you discriminate or you. This would
be the fallacy “equal and opposite extremes.”
Chapter 6: From Cocksure Ignorance to
BIASED AND UNBIASED
- Every reader has a viewpoint/opinion
- We should aim to always identify and understand others
- Bias- is usually just a viewpoint and we are ALL biased
because of the life we live. The word ‘bias’ usually
comes with a negative connotation.
- Skepticism- it is necessary to be skeptic when writing an
essay so that we can separate rationally legitimate from
false. Skepticism is not only to belittle others beliefs
BIASED AND UNBIASED
“To be a good student we must accept our own ignorance
or become susceptible to being biased.”
“We don’t know what we don’t know.”
- We as students must aim to be objective when essay
writing and critical thinking, and to be that way we
must be aware of our personal biases.
- It is always hard to identify our own biases but easy to
pick out others. We must use the ‘ESBYODS’ Rule.
“Everybody sh*ts but your own don’t stink.”
BIASED AND UNBIASED
People are biased because of partisan ideology, gender,
race, culture, social class, age etc.
When writing an essay: be a skeptic, present ideas that
oppose your own, then refute them politely. If you
present ideas that oppose your own you will be more
**ESSENTIAL sometimes opposing sides will not have
equal evidence, don’t let your quest for being fair let
you give more credit or weight to a side than is due.
Do not feel obligated to providing private anecdotes
when acknowledging your biases.
TOTEMS AND TABOOS:
We go through life defending some things because they
‘just are’ or ‘have always been that way’ e.g.) beliefs,
customs, habits and routines.
We blindly worship these things as Totems and Taboos
We blindly conform to these things as a method of
preservation. We don’t want to lose how things have
But sometimes Totems and Taboos blind us of Right vs.
Wrong. E.g.) Slavery, slavery was always done but is
“Ours is best!” “We’re #1” Attitude.
Refers to life viewed by one ethnic group, sometimes
this view is prejudice, mistaken or misinformed.
We learn to think beyond our culture and upbringing as
we mature and start to think independently.
Nationalistic ethnocentrism is common in most
Ethnocentrism often leads to denial and defense
An Appeal to Students- Critical
-politics are interested in you whether or not you are
interested in them
-we must get over our lazy uncritical attitude, this will
happen without us if we don’t participate
-this means participating in politics
-this means in examining our presuppositions
-this means examining our role models
-this means ensuring we are able to detect lies and
“An End to History”- Critical
-bureaucratic abuses in university and else where
-contesting the view of bureaucrats that history has
-fighting despite the bleak outlook to ensure that
history continues as it should
1. Lazere, Donald, ed. Reading and Writing for Civic
Literacy. Boulder: Paradigm, 2009. Print.