2 Three Types of Questions 3ConflictingSystems1One System2No SystemRequire evidenceand reasoningwithin a systemRequire evidenceand reasoningwithin multiplesystemscall forstating asubjective preferencea subjectiveopinionbetter andworse answersa correctanswercannot beassessedjudgmentknowledge
3 Questions of Procedure (established- or one-system)- These include questions with an established procedure or method for finding the answer. These questions are settled by facts, by definition, or both. They are prominent in mathematics, as well as the physical and biological sciences
4 Examples of One-system Questions What is the boiling point of lead?What is the size of this room?What is the differential of this equation?How does the hard drive on a computer operate?What is the sum of 659 and 979?How is potato soup prepared, according to established Polish tradition?
5 Questions of Preference (no system)- Questions with as many answers as there are different human preferences (a category in which subjective taste rules).
6 Questions of Preference Would you rather have short hair or long hair?Or would you prefer that your head be shaved, either completely or in some segmentsDo you like to go to the opera?Do you like to watch football on TV?Do you prefer a flat pillow or a fluffy pillow?Do you want a ring or a necklace?Do you want to go outside now?
7 Questions of Judgment (conflicting-systems) - Questions requiring reasoning, but with more than one arguable answer. These are questions that make sense to debate, questions with better-or-worse answers (well-supported and reasoned or poorly-supported and/or poorly-reasoned answers).
8 With Questions of Judgment (conflicting-systems), we are seeking the best answer within a range of possibilities. We evaluate answers to such questions using universal intellectual standards such as breadth, depth, logicalness, and so forth. These questions are predominant in the human disciplines (history, philosophy, economics, sociology, art…)
9 Questions Calling for Reasoned Judgment Should assisted suicide be legalized?To what extent is welfare justifiable?How can we ensure long-term “health” of the environment while also considering the economic impact of the environmental decisions?What philosophy of parenting makes best sense in the light of our knowledge of child development?To what extent is it morally justified to subject animals to pain and suffering in experiments?What can we do about the problem of education today?What can we do about the problem of hunger in a world of plenty?What can we do about the problem of big money in politics?How can we create a world in which critical thinking is a fundamental social value?
10 To Determine Which of These Three Types of Questions We Are Dealing With (in Any Given Case) We Can Ask the Following Questions:Are there relevant facts we need to consider?If yes, then either the facts alone settle the question (and we are dealing with a question of procedure), orthe facts can be interpreted in different ways (and the question is debatable).If there are no facts to consider, then it is a matter of personal preference.If the facts settle the question, then it is a “one-system” procedural question.
11 Teaching Students to Reason Through Category Three Questions 1) Write out a category 3 question within your content (question requiring reasoned judgment) that is important for students to learn to reason through.2) List the category 1 questions (one-system questions) students would need to answer before addressing the category 3 question.3) Design a classroom activity or unit which focuses on a category 3 question.For example, you could take a chapter in the textbook, think of the umbrella category 3 question (or any important category 3 question within the chapter) which that chapter answers. Have students figure out the category 1 questions they must answer prior to answering the category 3 question. Then they could figure out the logic of the question by reasoning through the elements of thought.
12 In general, what is the best way to treat depression? What are some ways to treat depression that have been proven effective with some people?Are there different types of depression?If so, what are the most common types, based on current research in the field?What ways of treating depression have been proven largely ineffective?Given the established ways of treating depression (that have been proven to have some degree of effectiveness), which ones have proven to be the most effective?Are some types of depression treated better with one method than other methods? If so, explain.
13 What is the best solution for reducing the number of people who take illegal drugs for fun? What are some of the variables that have been shown to lead people to take drugs?At what age do most people begin taking drugs?Of those proven strategies, what are the costs involved in using each one of them on a broad scale?What are some of the obvious social, political, and economic barriers to using these strategies?
14 What are the best methods for reducing the amount of waste currently being transported to landfills? What types of wastes are currently being transported to landfills?How much of each type is being transported to landfills?How long does it take for each of these to disintegrate?What are some proven alternative methods for effectively handling wastes besides transporting it to landfills?What are some clearly identifiable political and ethical barriers to finding alternative ways of getting rid of waste?