Chapter 2 - skimpy.doc - 1 Chapter 2 goals of critical thinking to detect errors in thinking\/reasoning to restrain the attitudes and feelings that can

Chapter 2 - skimpy.doc - 1 Chapter 2 goals of critical...

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1 Chapter 2 goals of critical thinking - to detect errors in thinking/reasoning - to restrain the attitudes and feelings that can distort our reasoning - to achieve a level of objectivity [def.?] category 1 barriers: our fears, attitudes, motivations, desires category 2 barriers: our beliefs about beliefs, e.g. objectivity is impossible, [e.g. everything is bullshit, everything is a social construction, e.g. there is no truth, e.g. truth is not knowable, e.g. logic is culturally relative, e.g. truth is culturally relative, ...] Category 1: How We Think Am I Really Special? [- Abraham Maslow put self-esteem as our second highest need] [- but self-esteem can be taken too far, e.g. it can cause bad reasoning in us] [- we have words for this, e.g. narcissism, egomaniac, egocentrism] - there is nothing wrong with being self-interested [- e.g. I am here and you are there because of self interests] - but it is a problem “When we decide to accept a claim solely because it advances, or coincides with, our interests - why a problem? because ... - e.g. saying tuition should be free [- it is part of a larger problem of bias and prejudice] - e.g. a jury person making a judgment bc of prejudice - e.g. believing or claiming something because it helps us to “save face” - “The consequences of self-centered thinking can be self-destructive. In the realm of critical thinking, this devotion to yourself can prevent careful evaluation of claims, limit critical thinking, blind you to the facts, provoke self-deception, encourage rationalizations, lead you to suppress or ignore evidence, and promote wishful thinking” [- simple example: think of the usefulness of flattery in sales] Three guidelines:
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2 1) be careful when things get personal, beware of strong emotions - having a personal stake, powerfully wanting something to be true, etc. “can wreck any attempt at a careful, fair evaluation of the claim” - Bertrand Russell (p. 37): “the passion is the measure of the holder’s lack of rational conviction” [- there is a problem here, however: according to neuroscience, apparently, our brains are not wired to separate emotion from reason: emotions are essential to rational thinking; see e.g. Antonio Damasio (1994), Descartes’ Error ] [- and yet we all know that our book authors, and others like Russell, have something here and not nothing, e.g. the counting to 10 when angry, or waiting until the next day to think more coolly, or waiting before you hit send on an email or textmessage] [- nevertheless, the theme of passion verses reason is a theme that repeats over and over again in the history of philosophy; e.g. Plato, Pascal, James] [- you can also see this in music, e.g. Baroque (Bach), Classic (Mozart), Romantic (Beethoven?, Mendelssohn, Schumann] 2) be alert to the ways that undermine critical thinking [- for this you really need to learn your lessons from this course] 3) ensure that nothing has been left out - a common flaw in reasoning is ignoring evidence and arguments that go against one’s belief - selective attention (comes up again in Ch. 8): highlighting evidence for something we want to be true, ignoring or playing down
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