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Presentation on theme: "OVERVIEW OF CRITICAL THINKING CLASS KWHS – FALL 2013 WHO ARE YOU?"— Presentation transcript:


2 OVERVIEW The purpose of this critical thinking course is to help you Explore rhetorical situations as you seek to know the truth Understand how to research and reason logically about moral dilemmas and social issues Learn about “pitfalls” when thinking critically, and how to avoid them Realize the difference between “thinking” and “feeling” Discover why you think the way you do, so you have the power to choose what you believe Develop strategies for making your beliefs clear and accessible to others


4 CONTEXT Involves answering these seven questions Who are you? What is critical thinking? What is truth? What does it mean, “to know”? How good are your opinions? What is evidence? What is argument?

5 CONTEXT (CONT.) Much of what is commonly believed about these seven concepts is mistaken Whoever examines them carefully is always rewarded with fresh insights into arriving at the knowledge of the truth The more thorough your knowledge of these concepts, the more proficient you will be in your thinking and studying

6 RESULTS OF UNDERSTANDING “CONTEXT” Individuality doesn’t come automatically, but has to be renewed again and again Who you are now is not who you will be down the road Critical thinking is as applicable to your own ideas as it is to other people’s Are you as critical of your own thinking as you are of others’? The truth is discovered, not created This means, you don’t get to make up the truth, contrary to what you otherwise believe – it’s not relative! It’s fixed, and it’s knowable, and we are pursuing it together in this community, as a family

7 RESULTS OF UNDERSTANDING “CONTEXT” (CONT.) Genuine knowledge is elusive It takes effort to come to the knowledge of the truth Opinions are only as good as the evidence that supports them No matter how strongly you “feel” about something, evidence is king in this arena Argument is not a matter of scoring points or shouting others down, but compiling accurate information and reasoning logically about it

8 PITFALLS There is one basic problem, which causes us to fall into one of four different kinds of judgment errors This basic problem is one that, once we recognize it, will cause trouble for our ego The problem is, we tend to operate on the principle that “mine is better” when it comes to considering alternative points of view

9 PITFALLS (CONT.) This causes us to err in one of these ways Perspective – erroneous notions about reality that are present in our minds more or less continuously Procedure – occur when we are dealing with specific issues Expression – occur when we put our thoughts into words Reaction – occur when someone criticizes or challenges a statement or argument we have made

10 PITFALLS (CONT.) Things can get really tricky when these errors occur in combination! After covering the material in this course, you will understand the various errors that impair thinking You will learn how to best discover them in other people’s writing and speaking (and in your own) and, more important, how to avoid them

11 SUMMARY, SO FAR Examining “context” presents fundamental “tools and rules” for critical thinking Examining “pitfalls” explains the many ways in which thinking can go wrong, and what we can do to avoid them Finally, “strategy” will teach us a step-by-step approach to use when studying or examining issues that are important to us

12 STRATEGY This involves examining six areas Knowing yourself Being observant Selecting an issue Conducting an inquiry Forming a judgment Persuading others

13 STRATEGY (CONT.) Following this approach will enable us to smoothly and effectively integrate the habits and skills we learned when studying “context” and “pitfalls” Remember, thinking is an active use of the mind, a performance activity, every bit as much as is playing basketball, driving a car, or preparing dinner The quality of our thinking is reflected by how we approach problem solving

14 PROCEDURE We will work through this course for the rest of the semester, perhaps even into next semester, alongside other writing assignments you will have You will be provided with exercises after each lesson, for placing in your dual-entry notebook, so you can apply what you have learned and demonstrate your understanding


16 External details Age, height, weight Hair and eye color Overall health Date of birth and birth order in family Ancestry and citizenship Marital status Education, occupation Special skills Languages Internal details Thoughts and feelings Experiences Values and attitudes Lifestyle Preferences Strengths and weaknesses Spiritual life Goals and dreams Hopes and fears

17 WHO ARE YOU? These external and internal characteristics form your “perspective,” your “point of view,” your “mental framework,” or your “schema” Your degree of awareness of these characteristics influences your perception of reality It is important to understand the influences on your mind so you can be aware of how those influences affect your perception But we need to start by asking the question: How did I get to be the way I am?

18 THE INFLUENCE OF TIME AND PLACE You exist at a particular time in history, and at a particular location on planet Earth This time and this place are defined by specific Circumstances Understandings Beliefs Customs All of these limit your experience and influence your thought patterns

19 COLONIAL AMERICA - TIME If you lived in America during colonial times, you would likely have had no objection to the practice of barring women from Serving on a jury Entering into a legal contract Working for pay outside the home Owning property Voting Some of you may yet object to these practices, which reveals your values and tells us about who you are

20 THE GEOGRAPHY OF THE HANDSHAKE In which of the following countries is shaking hands NOT the traditional business greeting? Greetings are formal, with a firm handshake, direct eye contact, and a smile. A handshake at the beginning and end of the meeting is an accepted custom; care should be taken to shake hands with everyone present at the meeting. While foreigners are expected to shake hands, the traditional form of greeting is the bow. Protocol is to greet the eldest or most important person first with handshake, direct eye contact, and a welcoming smile. Many South Koreans shake hands with expatriates after the bow, thereby blending both cultural styles. It is usual to firmly shake hands and make eye contact with everyone upon arriving and leaving. Finland Portugal Japan Argentina South Korea Poland

21 WHAT’S GOING ON WITH THIS PICTURE? Question: Is it customary for an Arab man to shake the hand of a woman? Answer: We don’t know, based on information from our previous slide. Question: What do you notice about him, and how does it relate to what we just learned? Answer: He is bowing, the traditional and proper greeting toward an Asian citizen. Question: Can we make a hard and fast conclusion about Arab customs from the information we currently have? Answer: Probably not, given the limited amount of data we currently have, even though we might LIKE to come to a conclusion based on how we feel about the man.

22 SO WHAT? Living in a different age or culture would make you a different person Even if you rebelled against the values of your time and place, they would still represent the context of your life More important, they would will still influence your responses and define who you are

23 THE INFLUENCE OF MASS CULTURE Less than 150 years ago, the main influences on children were simple: family and teachers Today, the influence of mass culture is often greater that the influence of family Broadcast media Newspapers and magazines Internet Popular music and movies Athletes “Stars” Schools

24 SOME BOGGLING FACTS By age 18, the average teen has spent 11,000 hours in the classroom and 22,000 hours in front of the television set Has had perhaps 13,000 school lessons, yet has watched more than 750,000 commercials By age 35, that same person has had fewer than 20,000 school lessons, yet has watched 45,000 hours of television 2,000,000 commercials

25 WHAT IS THE EFFECT OF MASS CULTURE? Consider not “what” but “how” it is delivered to us Frequent scene shifts and sensory appeals Shifts in story lines and camera angles Commercial to program to commercial Slogans and testimonials by celebrities Appeals are aimed not at logic, but to emotion Derived from the “science” of manipulation, or behavioral theory

26 WHAT IS THE EFFECT OF MASS CULTURE? (CONT.) The constant “shifting” of perspective causes a short attention span The commercial interruptions work to Diminish our understanding to “sound byte” amounts Cause us to respond in ways that are emotional, impulsive, and from a place of gullibility All this affects our ability to critically analyze our environment and all it contains

27 WHAT IS THE EFFECT OF MASS CULTURE? (CONT.) News has become more about “spin” and “opinion” and less about verified facts We end up being easily manipulated by advertisers, and all those for whom they work, including politicians and religious leaders We are affected by the culture, even if we don’t watch television, surf the Internet, listen to music or talk radio, or read books and magazines

28 MASS CULTURE AFFECTS OUR BELIEFS Pre-1960s, people were urged to be self-disciplined, self-critical, and self-effacing Encouraged to practice self-denial, to aspire to self- knowledge, and to behave in a manner that ensured they maintained self-respect Self-centeredness was considered a vice Humility was considered a virtue Hard work was what lead to achievement, which then lead to satisfaction and self-confidence

29 MASS CULTURE AFFECTS OUR BELIEFS (CONT.) Post-1960s, we see an about-face Self-esteem is considered an imperative Self-centeredness has been transformed from a vice to a virtue (witness “reality shows”) The formula for success and happiness begins with “feeling good about ourselves” instead of feeling good about our own accomplishments AFTER we’ve actually DONE something! These theories cause people to behave PRIDEFULLY instead of walking with humility and compassion, making it more likely to have a coherent and functional community

30 WHAT IS THE PRICE WE HAVE PAID? We live in a culture that conditions us to behave in ways that are often contrary to our own best interests Indoctrination vs education in schools – kids become “zombified” rather than intuitive, creative, thinking people Assumption is that truth is relative, and disconnected from any historical standards, that it is “created” individually and not “discovered” as a fact of history and community Welfare mentality (I deserve, it’s my right) and selfish attitudes (I don’t care what you think) abound Broken families and fragmented communities “Alternative” lifestyles and subcultures flourish in the discord

31 WHAT IS THE PRICE WE HAVE PAID? (CONT.) We know this affects us because we live in it We know this conditioning causes us to see each other with skewed eyes We know we have to overcome these effects because if we don’t, they will hinder our success in life

32 WHEN WE LOOK AT EACH OTHER, WHOM DO WE SEE? There’s the surface, who we are on the outside, then there’s all the stuff underneath, on our insides, that is affected by our upbringing, ancestry, education, language, attitudes, values, hopes and fears and dreams

33 WHAT IS THE SOLUTION? Deal with your issues Purpose in your heart, this day, that you will do everything you can to understand who you are and what you need to do so you can grow and change Be deliberate and accountable Decide that you are, this day, going to become the person you know you should be, and find someone who will hold you accountable in this process

34 A SANE APPROACH TO ISSUES 1.Treat your first reaction to any person, issue, or situation as tentative. No matter how appealing it may be, refuse to embrace it until you have thoroughly examined it. 2.Decide why you reacted initially as you did. Consider whether you borrowed the reaction from someone else, or if it stems from an unresolved issue in your heart. If possible, determine what specific experiences have conditioned you to react this way.

35 A SANE APPROACH TO ISSUES (CONT.) 3.Think of other possible reactions you might have had to the person, issue, or situation. In other words, consider alternatives to the “mine is better” monkey living between your ears. 4.Ask yourself whether one of the other reactions is more appropriate than your first reaction. And when you answer, resist the influence of your conditioning. Use your brain and think it through and don’t give up until you weigh your evidence.

36 FOR NEXT TIME What is Critical Thinking? The difference between the brain and the mind Critical thinking defined Characteristics of critical thinkers The role of intuition Basic activities in critical thinking Critical thinking and writing Critical thinking and discussion


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