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Second Thoughts,  4th ed. Wanda Teays McGraw-Hill Higher Ed. © 2010.  Wanda Teays. All rights reserved Chapter One: Out of...
<ul><li>Critical thinking  helps us solve problems, ask questions, organize our thoughts, and express ourselves clearly an...
<ul><li>Before we can develop our critical thinking skills, we need to address obstacles in our path.  </li></ul>
<ul><li>Dfn.  STEREOTYPES:  Stereotypes are generalizations made on the basis of little or no evidence. They are oversimpl...
<ul><li>Clear the path of obstacles </li></ul><ul><li>Be reflective.  Ask Questions. </li></ul><ul><li>Be on the Lookout: ...
<ul><li>Language has power. The words we use affect the thoughts we have and our ideas for defining, as well as solving, p...
<ul><li>We’ve always done it this way! ->  We used to hunt with bows and arrows too! </li></ul><ul><li>You can’t teach an ...
 
<ul><li>An ARGUMENT has at least one premise and only one conclusion. </li></ul><ul><li>Premise = evidence, support.  Conc...
<ul><li>1. What  kind of argument is it?  </li></ul><ul><li>2. How convincing is the argument on its face value?  </li></u...
<ul><li>Logicians divide arguments into two categories: </li></ul><ul><li>Deductive and Inductive.  </li></ul><ul><li>With...
<ul><li>With  deductive arguments  logicians seek to determine if the conclusion will  certainly  be true if we assume the...
<ul><li>Are the premises in fact true—is the evidence cited really the case? </li></ul><ul><li>SOUND ARGUMENTS  have two c...
<ul><li>The heart of critical thinking is analysis; for it is there that all of the other elements we’ve mentioned come to...
<ul><li>Each of us has a particular vantage point from which events are seen and understood. This is known as our  frame o...
<ul><li>Critical thinking gives us such techniques as analysis, observation, and reflection. These are powerful tools.  </...
<ul><li>  FRAME OF REFERENCE: Look at the point of view presented, the strengths, weaknesses, omissions. Consider alternat...
<ul><li>CLASS:  Look at the dominant perspective in terms of economic class. Consider what might result from a shift of pe...
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  1. 1. Second Thoughts, 4th ed. Wanda Teays McGraw-Hill Higher Ed. © 2010. Wanda Teays. All rights reserved Chapter One: Out of the Fog: The Pathway to Critical Thinking
  2. 2. <ul><li>Critical thinking helps us solve problems, ask questions, organize our thoughts, and express ourselves clearly and defensibly. It helps us navigate our way through life . </li></ul><ul><li>When analytical skills are missing or in disrepair, you can’t think straight. People with analytical skills can detect bad reasoning and dismantle it. </li></ul><ul><li>Perspective is the point of view or frame of reference a person takes in approaching an issue or situation </li></ul><ul><li>To determine the truth or falsity of claims, we must subject them to careful scrutiny. </li></ul><ul><li>Critical thinking is rooted in a social context : that slice of time, location, culture, politics and community that shapes our identity and places us on a historical spectrum. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Before we can develop our critical thinking skills, we need to address obstacles in our path. </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Dfn. STEREOTYPES: Stereotypes are generalizations made on the basis of little or no evidence. They are oversimplified concepts or images. </li></ul><ul><li>They can be either positive or negative—both are misleading </li></ul><ul><li>Stereotypes often focus upon a group of people. </li></ul><ul><li>Stereotypes bog down thinking. EXAMPLES: Men are better leaders, women are better parents Boys are better in math, girls are better at reading Elderly people are easily confused Young people aren’t politically savvy Rich people know how to manipulate the system Poor people are lazy. </li></ul>Clear the Path of Obstacles!
  5. 5. <ul><li>Clear the path of obstacles </li></ul><ul><li>Be reflective. Ask Questions. </li></ul><ul><li>Be on the Lookout: </li></ul><ul><li>Every day we see ads using superstars and athletes to sell a product. </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid drawing unwarranted connections between such “authority” figures and the products they are selling. </li></ul><ul><li>Similarly, blindly following a politician or a religious leader can be as bad as buying a product just because of a celebrity endorsement! </li></ul><ul><li>People are vulnerable to the forces of conformity. </li></ul><ul><li>Difficult times challenge us to keep our wits about us. </li></ul><ul><li>Take time to compose your thoughts and to look at the issue from a variety of perspectives. </li></ul><ul><li>Be reflective and ask questions. </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Language has power. The words we use affect the thoughts we have and our ideas for defining, as well as solving, problems. </li></ul><ul><li>Loaded language creates a bias—stacking the deck one way or another </li></ul><ul><li>COMPARE: </li></ul><ul><li>“ Southerner” versus “hillbilly” “Substance abuser” versus “crackhead” “Surrogate mother” versus “gestational carrier” “Abortion provider” versus “baby killer” “Detainee” versus “prisoner” “Insurgent” versus “terrorist” “Escargot” versus “snail” </li></ul><ul><li>The choice of words can shape interpretations, policies, laws, and public perceptions. </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>We’ve always done it this way! -> We used to hunt with bows and arrows too! </li></ul><ul><li>You can’t teach an old dog new tricks! -> There’s a reason old dogs sleep so much! </li></ul><ul><li>Let sleeping dogs lie! -> But even sleeping dogs can dream! Don’t change it if it’s not broken! -> Will we know what to do when it is broken? </li></ul><ul><li>Build on the past while looking to the future! </li></ul>
  8. 9. <ul><li>An ARGUMENT has at least one premise and only one conclusion. </li></ul><ul><li>Premise = evidence, support. Conclusion = thesis, inference drawn on the basis of the evidence. </li></ul><ul><li>FOR EXAMPLE “Arnold requires a large bag of popcorn to enjoy a night out at the movies. He plans to go see State of Play on opening night. Therefore, Arnold will surely buy popcorn for a snack while watching the show.” </li></ul><ul><li>Dfn. PROPOSITION: An assertion predicating of a subject one or more characteristics. -> Propositions are either true or false. Propositions are the building blocks of arguments. </li></ul><ul><li>FOR EXAMPLE “All small children are fond of lullabies.” “Paul Krugman won the Nobel Prize in Economics.” </li></ul>
  9. 10. <ul><li>1. What kind of argument is it? </li></ul><ul><li>2. How convincing is the argument on its face value? </li></ul><ul><li>3. Does the argument pass the truth test? </li></ul>
  10. 11. <ul><li>Logicians divide arguments into two categories: </li></ul><ul><li>Deductive and Inductive. </li></ul><ul><li>With deductive arguments , it is claimed or implied that the premises completely support the conclusion, that the conclusion follows from the premises. </li></ul><ul><li>With inductive arguments , there are missing pieces of evidence or the evidence is not sufficient for the conclusion to follow with certainty. This results in a degree of probability, likelihood, and uncertainty in even the best inductive arguments. </li></ul><ul><li>The difference between these two categories of reasoning is analogous to operating with a full deck of cards versus a deck in which there are missing cards. </li></ul>
  11. 12. <ul><li>With deductive arguments logicians seek to determine if the conclusion will certainly be true if we assume the premises are all true. </li></ul><ul><li>With inductive arguments we decide how probable is the conclusion if we assume the premises are all true. The focus is basically on structure. </li></ul><ul><li>Examining the argument on its face value </li></ul><ul><li>(where, if we assume for the moment that the evidence cited is in fact true), we want to see if the conclusion would have to be true as well. </li></ul><ul><li>In the case of deductive arguments, these are called logically valid arguments . </li></ul>
  12. 13. <ul><li>Are the premises in fact true—is the evidence cited really the case? </li></ul><ul><li>SOUND ARGUMENTS have two characteristics: ONE they are valid arguments and </li></ul><ul><li>TWO they have true premises. </li></ul><ul><li>Resting an argument on truth is always better than relying on what is uncertain, doubtful, or false. Of course we may not know if a piece of evidence is true or false (think of historical claims about a lost tribe from centuries ago or hypotheses about alien autopsies). </li></ul><ul><li>So long as there’s doubt, we don’t know if the argument will pass the truth test. When there’s a false premise, the argument cannot be considered sound, even if the argument is well structured. </li></ul><ul><li>An unsound argument could be invalid, have false premises, or both. </li></ul>
  13. 14. <ul><li>The heart of critical thinking is analysis; for it is there that all of the other elements we’ve mentioned come together. </li></ul><ul><li>When we analyze , we need to be observant to detail, able to clarify problems, tasks, and goals. </li></ul><ul><li>We need to separate fact from opinion and recognize speculation as opposed to giving evidence for a position. </li></ul><ul><li>We need to be able to evaluate testimony and assess credibility. </li></ul><ul><li>We need to be attentive to moral reasoning. </li></ul><ul><li>We need to be able to dismantle arguments and evaluate them. </li></ul>
  14. 15. <ul><li>Each of us has a particular vantage point from which events are seen and understood. This is known as our frame of reference . </li></ul><ul><li>This framework is shaped by our prior knowledge, assumptions, values, language or notation, among others. Assumptions and values may also influence our perceptions. </li></ul><ul><li>For example, a psychologist once suggested that a victim of robbery might be able to help the police by picturing the robbery from the perspective of the robber (and not that of the victim). </li></ul><ul><li>Shifting perspectives helps us to see the subject in an entirely different way. </li></ul><ul><li>For example: If you live in Australiayou won’t likely think of yourself as from “down-under.” You might think that you’re on the top of the world and those in the Northern Hemisphere are from “down-under. ” </li></ul>
  15. 16. <ul><li>Critical thinking gives us such techniques as analysis, observation, and reflection. These are powerful tools. </li></ul><ul><li>Our knowledge grows when we recognize diverse perspectives, when we go beyond routine (narrow) interpretations and look at the broader picture. </li></ul><ul><li>We can then see how stereotypical modes of thought have shaped our values, laws, and policies. </li></ul><ul><li>We can also how positive and life-affirming visions can help us acquire techniques to address oppressive practices. </li></ul>
  16. 17. <ul><li>  FRAME OF REFERENCE: Look at the point of view presented, the strengths, weaknesses, omissions. Consider alternate points of view that could be taken and any new concerns and questions that could be raised. Ask what would result from a shift in frame of reference. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>POWER DIMENSIONS: Look at the ways power is manifested and who are the authority or power figures. Consider possible shifts in the balance of power. Ask what would likely change (e.g., language, style, issues, values, criteria) if the power balance shifted. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>VALUES AND BELIEFS: Look at the set of values that predominate. Consider alternative systems of belief that could be used. Watch for the major assumptions of the author (warranted or unwarranted). Ask how the assumptions and language reflect values and beliefs. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>RACE AND ETHNICITY: Look at the race/ethnicity of the key players and how race affects how the problem is defined and any solutions offered. Consider if other racial perspectives might be raised and the likely results of a shift of perspective. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  17. 18. <ul><li>CLASS: Look at the dominant perspective in terms of economic class. Consider what might result from a shift of perspective to a higher or lower class. Watch for class bias. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>PERSONAL PARAMETERS: Look to see if the gender, age, or sexual orientation of the author and intended audience affects the focus or methodology. Watch for assumptions, omissions and bias in terms of disability. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>LANGUAGE: Look for biased or prejudicial uses of language and the ways the use of language evokes images or expresses a set of values. Consider the likely result if different language is used (less technical, shift in perspective, more neutral, more or less objective). </li></ul>

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