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Critical Thinking Thinking is a purposeful mental activity—you control it… Thinking is a two-sided activity—first you produce ideas and then you evaluate.

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Presentation on theme: "Critical Thinking Thinking is a purposeful mental activity—you control it… Thinking is a two-sided activity—first you produce ideas and then you evaluate."— Presentation transcript:

1 Critical Thinking Thinking is a purposeful mental activity—you control it… Thinking is a two-sided activity—first you produce ideas and then you evaluate them… Producing ideas widens your focus (resist the temptation to settle for a few familiar ideas). Evaluating narrows your focus. Sort the ideas, identify the most reasonable ones.

2 Why critical thinking is important Success in work depends on thinking skills. It isn’t enough to possess knowledge but you must be able to apply information to your job. Critical thinking is a reliable way of searching for the truth.

3 Facts and Opinions Facts are realities; opinions are beliefs or judgments. Opinions may fit the facts or be in error. Even the greatest experts sometimes hold incorrect opinions. That is why research is so important in every subject area—it confirms some opinions and disproves others.

4 Forming Opinions Critical thinkers realize how easy it is to be mistaken so they form their opinions with care. They revise their opinions, even cherished ones, whenever they prove to be in error. There is no shame in being wrong, but problems occur when we stubbornly cling to a mistaken view.

5 Recognizing facts & opinions Fact: Babe Ruth was a famous baseball player. Opinion: Smoking should be banned in all public places. Fact: Camel’s hair brushes are made of Siberian squirrel fir. Opinion: Eyewitness testimony is generally unreliable.

6 Separating facts & opinions 1) If you state a fact that is not common knowledge, or that can’t be easily verified, briefly state where you got your information. 2) If you state an opinion—a view others might disagree with, include answers to questions others might ask. 3) If you are not sure whether a statement is a fact or an opinion, treat it as an opinion.

7 Opinion versus personal preference… Often confusing to many people. Example: “Comic books are as instructive about life as novels are.” When asked what evidence exists that comic books are so instructive, they don’t have an answer… Preferences don’t need to be defended as long as they are expressed as preferences. (If we express them as opinions, don’t be surprised if others challenge them.

8 Basic Approach to Critical Thinking Step One: Decide what you think and why you think it. Step Two: Seek other views and more evidence. Step Three: Decide which view is most reasonable.

9 Step One Begin by deciding what your position is on the issue in question. (Putting this decision in writing can help. Don’t be discouraged if this takes several attempts.) Ask yourself what evidence do you have to support your view? Are there other conclusions possible? Answer these questions as completely as you can. (You might list them rather than write full sentences.)

10 Step Two Other viewpoints help you test your view and discover your biases. You gain additional insights by looking at new ideas. Gather ideas from multiple sources: libraries, instructors, or experts in the field. Look at ideas that both agree and disagree with your viewpoint.

11 Step Three Measure your view and the views of others against the evidence. Decide which one is the most reasonable based on the evidence. Research will often prove your viewpoint. If it always proves your viewpoint, you may be twisting the evidence to meet your needs…

12 Critical Reading Strategies 1) Choose your time and place 2) Read actively (ask questions/seek answers) 3) Concentrate on the task 4) Write a summary (in your own words; emphasize key points; & write accurately) 5) Reflect on the ideas

13 Critical Thinking & Writing Critical thinking provides the ideas for writing, and writing stimulates more ideas. Allow time for reflection every day. Focus on discovering ideas. Be open to ideas at other times.

14 Expressing your thoughts for others Complete the thinking process first. Discovery writing is part of the thinking process—you produce rather than communicate ideas. Use your viewpoint as your controlling idea. Choose a suitable organization.

15 Expressing your thoughts for others - continued 1) Introduction 2) Your controlling idea 3) Your first argument for this idea and supporting evidence 4) Your second argument and supporting evidence 5) Your third argument (if you have one) and supporting evidence 6) Conclusion

16 Expressing your thoughts for others - continued  Support your view with evidence  Be exact, but lively. (Choose word that convey your idea exactly.)  Break your thoughts into paragraphs.  Use standard punctuation and observe conventions of grammar and usage. (The Department of Health Studies uses APA format for most papers.)

17 Characteristics of Critical Thinkers Know their own minds. Are honest with themselves. Acknowledge all truths—even unpleasant ones. Accept responsibility and accountability for their actions. Accept sound arguments—even if that means rejecting their own. Critical thinkers overcome confusion and ask questions. They base their judgments on evidence.

18 Characteristics of Critical Thinkers - continued They base their judgments on evidence. They resist manipulation. They look for connections between subjects. They balance their thinking. Critical thinkers are intellectually independent.

19 Recognizing and avoiding errors Three types of broad errors in critical thinking Errors of Perception Errors of Judgment Errors of Reaction

20 Perception Errors Faulty ways of seeing reality— preventing us from being open-minded even before we begin to think. “Mine is better” thinking Selective Perception—focusing on different things.

21 Perception Errors - continued Pretending to know Resistance to change Either/or thinking (Example Evolution versus Creation Theories)

22 Judgment Errors Over generalizing or stereotyping Hasty conclusion Unwarranted assumption (assumptions: ideas that are taken for granted) Example: if something appears in print, it must be true. Failure to make a distinction

23 Judgment Errors - continued Distinctions are subtle differences among things. Distinguish between the person and the idea. Example: Critical thinkers judge an idea on its own merits—not on the celebrity status or expertise of the person expressing it Distinguish between familiarity and validity. It’s easy to believe that reasoning is valid because we’ve heard it many times.

24 Judgment Errors – continued Distinguish between “often” and “always,” “seldom” and “never.” Oversimplification differs from simplification. It omits essential information or ignores complexity. It distorts reality and confuses discussion.

25 Errors of Reaction Explaining Away (Example: Marijuana Use— users feel the studies are wrong because they have smoked for years and it’s had no effect on them…” Shifting the burden of proof. When you make an assertion, you might have to defend it. If you find you can’t, avoid shifting the burden of proof to others but instead withdraw the assertion.

26 Reaction Errors - continued Attacking the person. “You have no business lecturing me about…” Instead focus on the idea than the person. Be flexible and be willing to admit a mistake.

27 Argument Solving Steps Find the Controlling Idea—the idea that is the most reasonable. Usually stated right after the introduction. Read the Article (while keeping the controlling idea in mind.) Identify Relationships (more info next slide) Write a Summary

28 Identify Relationships And relationships signal that what follows adds to what preceded. (Words like also, first, in addition, next, further, and, moreover, finally, lastly, besides and another.) But relationships signal what follows contrasts with what preceded. (Words like however, nevertheless, yet, or, but, on the other hand, and in contrast.

29 Identify Relationships - continued Therefore relationships signal that a conclusion is being made about the preceding evidence. (Words like so, consequently, accordingly, thus, therefore, and it follows that.)

30 Coping with Complexity Overcome confusion by dealing with one sub-issue at a time. Begin by making a spreadsheet. Put the names of the authorities across the top of the page and the sub-issues down the left-side. Then indicate each authority’s view on each sub-issue

31 Medical Doctor Health Teacher DieticianDieter Is the Adkins Diet safe? No Yes Is it costly? Yes????YesNo Does it work? NoYes????Yes

32 Complexity - continued Chart the sub-issues Look for the disagreements Look at the evidence for those sub-issues— then decide who makes the best persuasive case for that issue (don’t assume that any authority is right on every issue!) Use your decisions on the sub-issues to determine your overall view of the issue.

33 Evaluating Your Own Views Step 1: Decide what you think and why you think it. Step 2: Seek other views and more evidence. Step 3: Evaluate the various views. Step 4: Construct the most reasonable view

34 Process Original View Significant ideas discovered in the investigation/research process Revised View

35 Evaluating Others’ Views Step 1: Understand the other person’s view. (Withholding all judgment) Step 2: Seek other views and more evidence. Step 3: Evaluate the various views. (Pros & Cons—may want to chart) Step 4: Construct the most reasonable view. (If no one view proves to be fully reasonable, then construct a view by combining parts of the views.)

36 Propaganda Techniques Bandwagon-creates the impression that everyone is doing something or buying something. It appeals to the urge to conform. Glittering Generality – Using words or phrases to imply excellence or uniqueness. “Amazing new discovery”

37 Techniques - continued Empty Comparison – Uses words like “bigger,” “better,” or “more.” Used to make statements that seem to make a serious claim—yet you can’t hold the advertiser responsible because you can’t tell exactly what is being claimed. Bigger or better than what?

38 Techniques - continued Meaningless Slogan – designed to create a positive impression. “Fly the friendly skies” is designed to associate United Airlines with friendliness. Aimed at associating a business with a particular idea or concept. Testimonial – an endorsement for a product or service lending their credibility and celebrity status to products.

39 Techniques - continued Transfer Voice-over – even if the viewer cannot name the speaker, the voice may be familiar and make the message more appealing. Objects – Statue of Liberty or American Flag—showing the symbols arouses strong positive feelings in many people.

40 Techniques - continued Party Scene – where we see people enjoying themselves. The product may be shown as creating a good time. The product may just be included in the scene but still leaves an impression… Use critical thinking skills to identify propaganda not only in media but also in writing styles.

41 Credits All the information for this PowerPoint came from the book Critical Thinking by Vincent Ryan Ruggiero. The book was designed as a supplement to the “Becoming A Master Student” Program.


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