I.__What_is_Critical_ThinkingANGEL

I.__What_is_Critical_ThinkingANGEL - What is Critical...

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What is Critical Thinking? A critical thinker is first of all a person with a disposition to avoid deception: one wishes not be deceived and not to deceive others or oneself. While many people don’t want to deceive others, some are not so scrupulous when it comes to deceiving themselves. Too many of us are willing to believe what makes us feel good. Oftentimes what makes us feel good is what we have been taught from childhood on up by those people we trust and respect. Ever February during Black History Month, a film of the racial integration of a school in Little Rock, Arkansas in the 1957 is shown on TV. Nine African American children, guarded by federal marshals and army troops, walk past a jeering crowd of white people, many are young mothers whose children attend the school. They are screaming terrible obscenities at the children. Later, one of the women is interviewed. When asked why she did such a thing, she said that segregation was God’s will and should exist now and forever. Next, they interview the same woman thirty years later. She says she is terribly ashamed of what she did. When asked why she did it, she replies that her parents, grandparents, teachers, pastor, and neighbors all told her segregation was right. The great Ancient Greek philosopher, Plato, in his dialogue, the Apology, has his teacher, Socrates say, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” The woman in Arkansas did not critically examine the things that were taught to her. So she ended up hurting young children’s self esteem and shaming herself.
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Critical thinking (abbreviated as CT) is more than just a disposition not to deceive. It is also a set of intellectual skills that enable one to judge if a point of view is well-supported or not by evidence presented in good arguments. In CT, “argument” does not mean a fight. It means rather a point of view called a conclusion supported by evidence presented as premises . For example, one might say “All dogs are carnivores.” Why should we accept this? The speaker might say, “Because all dogs are canids and all canids are carnivores.” So “All dogs are carnivores” is the conclusion. The premises are “All dogs are canids and all canids are carnivores.” You can construct an argument yourself in your mind. You don’t need an opponent with whom to fight. You simply use your reason with your emotions to make good decisions. I say use your emotions with your reason because many times we perceive something and react emotionally to it before we
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This note was uploaded on 09/18/2011 for the course PHIL 102 taught by Professor Howard during the Spring '11 term at College of Southern Nevada.

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I.__What_is_Critical_ThinkingANGEL - What is Critical...

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