Docstoc

Critical Thinking Critical - PowerPoint

Document Sample
Critical Thinking Critical - PowerPoint Powered By Docstoc
					Critical Thinking

           Chapter 1
Your Instructor

          John Provost
          831-402-7374
       jprovost@mpc.edu
Agenda
   Introduction and Story
   Syllabus and Texts
   Homework
   Start Lecture 1
Introduction: Why Study
Critical Thinking?

 “You can fool all of the people all
    of the time if the advertising
 budget is big enough.” Ed Rollins,
   Republican campaign adviser
What is Critical Thinking?
   Critical thinking is about helping
    ourselves and others. Why?
What is Critical Thinking?
 “Critical thinking includes a variety of
 deliberative processes aimed at making
 wise decisions about what to believe
 and do, processes that center on
 evaluation of arguments but include
 much more.”
Two primary skills required:
   Read carefully
   Listen closely
Mistakes: Ambiguity
   Secretaries make more money than
    physicians. What does this mean?
   She saw the farmer with binoculars.
    Who had the binoculars?
   I know a little Greek. The language or a
    person?
Mistakes: Fallacies
   Fallacy of composition: “We don’t spend
    that much on military salaries. After all,
    who ever heard of anyone getting rich in
    the Army?” In other words, we don’t
    spend that much on service personnel
    individually; therefore we don’t spend
    much on them as a group.
Mistakes: Fallacies
   Fallacy of division: “Congress is
    incompetent. Therefore, Congressman
    Benton is incompetent.” What holds true
    of a group does not necessarily hold
    true for all the individuals in that group.
Mistakes: Vague Claims
   “He is old.” Compared to what? Old is a
    matter of context. Old for first grade?
    Old in general? The vagueness of a
    claim is a matter of degree.
Mistakes: A Red Herring
   When a person brings a topic into a
    conversation that distracts from the
    original point, especially if the new topic
    is introduced in order to distract, the
    person is said to have introduced a red
    herring (see pages 168-169).
Mistakes: Ad Hominem
   We commit the ad hominem fallacy
    when we think that considerations about
    a person “refute” his or her assertions.

   Example: A proposal made by an
    oddball is an oddball’s proposal, but it
    does not follow that it is an oddball
    proposal! See?
Mistakes: Straw Man
   The straw man fallacy happens when you
    “refute” a position or claim by distorting or
    oversimplifying or misrepresenting it. Let’s
    say Mrs. Herrington announces it is time to
    clean the attic. Mr. Herrington groans and
    says, “What, again? Do we have to clean it
    out everyday?” She responds: “Just because
    you think we should keep every last piece of
    junk forever doesn’t mean I do.”
Basic Critical Thinking Skills

   When we take a position on an issue,
    we assert or claim something. The claim
    and thinking on which it is based are
    subject to rational evaluation. When we
    do that evaluating, we are thinking
    critically. To think critically, then, we
    need to know five things:
To think critically, then, we
need to know:
   1. When someone (including ourselves)
    is taking a position on an issue, what
    that issue is, and what the person is
    claiming their position is on that issue.
To think critically, then, we
need to know:
   2. What considerations are relevant to
    that issue
   3. Whether the reasoning underlying the
    person’s claim is good reasoning
   4. And whether, everything considered,
    we should accept, reject, or suspend
    judgment on what the person has
    claimed
To think critically, then, we
need to know:
   Finally, 5. Doing all this requires us to
    be levelheaded and objective and not
    influenced by extraneous factors.
Issues: What is an issue?
   It is something we have a question
    about.
   A key word is “whether.”
   An issue is what is raised when you
    consider whether a claim is true.
Arguments: What is an
argument?
   Let us define an argument as an
    attempt to support a claim or assertion
    by providing a reason or reasons for
    accepting it.
What is a claim?
   A claim is a statement that is either true
    or false. The claim that is supported is
    called the conclusion of the argument,
    and the claim or claims that provide
    support are called the premises.
Arguments and Explanations
   An argument attempts to prove that
    some claim is true, while an explanation
    attempts to specify how something
    works or what caused it or brought it
    about. Arguing that a dog has fleas is
    quite different from explaining how it
    came to have fleas. Explanations and
    arguments are different things.
Recognizing Arguments
   An argument always has a conclusion.
    Always. Without a conclusion, a bunch
    of words isn’t an argument. But an
    argument also needs at least one
    premise. Without a premise you have
    no support for the conclusion and so
    you don’t have an argument.
An Explanation
   An explanation is a claim or set of
    claims intended to make another claim,
    object, event, or state of affairs
    intelligible (but not true or false).
A premise
   A premise is the claim or claims in an
    argument that provide the reasons for
    believing the conclusion.
Identifying Issues
   Before you can really recognize an
    argument you have to know what the
    issues are.

   An important clue to what the issue is
    will be to look for the conclusions. The
    conclusion that is presented refers to
    the issue being addressed.
Factual Issues Versus
Nonfactual Issues
   Is your dad or uncle older? That is a
    factual issue.
   Asking whether it is better to be your
    dad’s age or your uncle’s age is a
    nonfactual issue.
Factual Claims
   A factual claim is simply a claim,
    whether true or false, that states a
    position on a factual issue. But this is
    where it can be confusing.

   Saying a claim is factual is not
    equivalent to saying it is true!
Factual Claims
   An issue is factual if there are
    established methods for settling it.

   Factual claims can be determined, while
    opinions cannot be determined.
Facts and Factual Matters
   A fact is a true claim. A factual issue is
    an issue concerning a fact. The right
    answer about a factual issue will be a
    fact, whether we know that fact yet or
    not.
Subjectivism and Relativism
   Subjectivism is the idea that, just as two
    people can disagree and yet both be “correct”
    on a nonfactual issue, they can both be
    correct in their differing opinions on the same
    factual issues.
   Relativism is the parallel idea that two
    different cultures can be correct in their
    differing opinions on the same factual issues.
Opinion and Pure Opinion
   An opinion is someone’s belief on an issue, or
    someone’s belief about a specific claim. That issue
    may well be a matter of fact. For the issue to be a
    matter of pure opinion, there must be no factual
    matter involved in it. For example, someone’s age is
    a factual issue. It can be determined. But you can still
    have an opinion on whether it is a good age or not.
    But you can’t have a pure opinion about it as if they
    were any age you decide they should be.
Relevance, Rhetoric, and
Keeping a Clear Head
   One of the most serious and difficult
    obstacles to clear thinking is the tendency to
    confuse extraneous and irrelevant
    considerations with the merits of a claim.

   Another obstacle to clear thinking is paying
    more attention to the psychological force of
    an argument than its logical force.
Relevance, Rhetoric, and
Keeping a Clear Head
   Some politicians, for example, rely on
    the emotional associations of words to
    scare us, flatter us, and amuse us; to
    arose jealousy, desire, and disgust; to
    make good things sound bad and bad
    things sound good; and to
    confuse, mislead, and misinform us.
Relevance, Rhetoric, and
Keeping a Clear Head
   Critical thinking involves recognizing the
    rhetorical force of language and trying
    not to be influenced by it.
Conclusion
   Critical thinking helps you to know when
    someone is taking a position on an
    issue
   What that issue is
   And what the person is claiming relative
    to that issue-that is, what the person’s
    position is.
Conclusion
   It helps you know what considerations
    are relevant to that issue

   And whether the reasoning underlying
    the person’s claim is good reasoning.
Conclusion
   It helps you know what considerations
    are relevant to that issue
   And whether the reasoning underlying
    the person’s claim is good reasoning.
   It helps you determine
    whether, everything considered, you
    should accept, reject, or suspend
    judgment on what the person claims.
Conclusion
   These skills require you to be levelheaded
    and objective and uninfluenced by
    extraneous factors.
Exercises
   For each of the following claims, decide
    whether it states a subjective or a non-
    subjective (i.e. objective) claim. In cases
    where it may be difficult to decide, try to
    identify the source of the problem.
Exercises
   1. Meat grilled over hickory coals tastes
    better than meat grilled over mesquite.
Exercises
      Meat grilled over hickory coals tastes better
       than meat grilled over mesquite.
      Subjective. Notice that the claim passes the
       “contradiction test,” i.e. someone with an
       opposing viewpoint would not be wrong just
       because it contradicted the original claim.
       There is no „fact of the matter‟ about how
       something tastes.
Exercises
    2.      I read in the newspaper that meat
     grilled over hickory coals tastes better than
     meat grilled over mesquite.
Exercises
       2. I read in the newspaper that meat grilled
        over hickory coals tastes better than meat
        grilled over mesquite.
       Non-subjective. The fact, of course,
    is only that the person read it in the
    newspaper.
Exercises
      3. The air in Cleveland smells better than it
       did five years ago.
Exercises
      3. The air in Cleveland smells better than it
       did five years ago.
             Subjective. The qualitative sensation of
       how something smells to someone is a private,
       first-person, subjective experience.
Exercises
      4. There are fewer hydrocarbons in the air in
       Cleveland than there were five years ago.
Exercises
      4. There are fewer hydrocarbons in the air in
       Cleveland than there were five years ago.
            Non-subjective. There is an objective fact
       of the matter that can be checked.
Exercises
      5. The air in Cleveland is lower in
       hydrocarbons because there is less automobile
       emission than there was five years ago.
Exercises
      5. The air in Cleveland is lower in
       hydrocarbons because there is less automobile
       emission than there was five years ago.
          Non-subjective. This is an argument
       based on fact.
Exercises
      6. There is less automobile emission in
       Cleveland than there was five years ago
       because of the Clean Air Bill passed several
       years ago.
   
Exercises
      6.     There is less automobile emission in Cleveland
       than there was five years ago because of the Clean Air
       Bill passed several years ago.
          Non-subjective. Some will argue about this because
       of the difficulty of identifying the cause of lowered
       emissions. Nevertheless, either the change resulted from
       the Clean Air Bill, or it didn‟t. Intelligent opinions on this
       issue may differ, but that doesn‟t make it any less factual.
Exercises
   Determine whether each of the following
    passages is (or contains) an argument.
Exercises
 1. Will a beverage begin to cool more quickly
 in the freezer or in the regular part of the
 refrigerator? Well, of course it’ll cool faster in
 the freezer! There are lots of people who
 don’t understand anything at all about physics
 and who think things may begin to cool faster
 in the fridge. But they’re sadly mistaken.
Exercises
 1. Will a beverage begin to cool more quickly in the
 freezer or in the regular part of the refrigerator? Well,
 of course it’ll cool faster in the freezer! There are lots
 of people who don’t understand anything at all about
 physics and who think things may begin to cool faster
 in the fridge. But they’re sadly mistaken.
 Clearly, our speaker has an opinion on then
 subject, but no argument is given.
Exercises
              2.     It’s true that you can use your television
               set to tell when a tornado is approaching. The
               reason is that tornadoes make an electrical
               disturbance in the 55 megahertz range, which is
               close to the band assigned to channel 2. If you
               know how to do it, you can get your set to pick
               up the current given off by the twister. So your
               television set can be your warning device that
               tells you when to dive for the cellar.
      —Adapted from Cecil Adams, The
    Straight Dope
Exercises
         2.     It’s true that you can use your television
          set to tell when a tornado is approaching. The
          reason is that tornadoes make an electrical
          disturbance in the 55 megahertz range, which is
          close to the band assigned to channel 2. If you
          know how to do it, you can get your set to pick
          up the current given off by the twister. So your
          television set can be your warning device that
          tells you when to dive for the cellar.
                         This passage might be taken as
          an explanation, but it is also an argument, since
          it is clearly designed to convince us that its main
          point is correct.
Exercises
                3.       Some of these guys who do Elvis
          Presley imitations actually pay more for their
          outfits than Elvis paid for his! Anybody who
          would spend thousands just so he can spend a
          few minutes not fooling anybody into thinking
          he’s Elvis is nuts.
Exercises
                3.       Some of these guys who do Elvis
          Presley imitations actually pay more for their
          outfits than Elvis paid for his! Anybody who
          would spend thousands just so he can spend a
          few minutes not fooling anybody into thinking
          he’s Elvis is nuts.
                       No argument. No connection is
          made between the cost of the outfits and the
          psychological deficiencies of Elvis
          impersonators.
Exercises
               4.        You’d better not pet that dog. She
          looks friendly, but she’s been known to bite.
Exercises
               4.        You’d better not pet that dog. She
          looks friendly, but she’s been known to bite.
                       Argument
Exercises
   Which speakers give arguments for
    their positions?
Exercises
         larry: Before we go to Hawaii, let’s go to a
          tanning salon and get a tan. Then we won’t look
          like we just got off the plane, plus we won’t get
          sunburned while we’re over there.
                       laurie: I don’t know . . . I read that
          those places can be dangerous. And did you
          ever check out how much they cost? Let’s let it
          go.
Exercises

         larry: Before we go to Hawaii, let’s go to a
          tanning salon and get a tan. Then we won’t look
          like we just got off the plane, plus we won’t get
          sunburned while we’re over there.
                       laurie: I don’t know . . . I read that
          those places can be dangerous. And did you
          ever check out how much they cost? Let’s let it
          go.
                        Larry and Laurie are both giving
          arguments.
Exercises
      2.   she: When you think about it, there’s every
       reason why women soldiers shouldn’t serve in
       combat.
      he: Well, I don’t think anyone should have to serve
       in combat. I wouldn’t make anyone serve who
       doesn’t want to.
Exercises
      2.   she: When you think about it, there’s every
       reason why women soldiers shouldn’t serve in
       combat.
      he: Well, I don’t think anyone should have to serve
       in combat. I wouldn’t make anyone serve who
       doesn’t want to.

      Neither speaker is giving an argument.
Exercises
      3.    student a: My family is very conservative. I
       don’t think they’d like it if they found out that I was
       sharing an apartment with two males.
      student b: But sooner or later you have to start living
       your own life.
Exercises
         3.    student a: My family is very conservative. I
          don’t think they’d like it if they found out that I was
          sharing an apartment with two males.
         student b: But sooner or later you have to start living
          your own life.

    Both A and B are giving arguments. B is
     arguing for an unstated claim: You should
     share the apartment with the two males despite
     what your family would like.
Exercises
      4.    insurance exec: Insurance costs so much
       because accident victims hire you lawyers to take us
       insurers to court and soak us for all we’re worth.
       There should be limits on the amounts insurance
       companies may be required to pay out on claims.
      attorney: Limits? Doesn’t sound like a good idea to
       me. What if someone’s medical expenses exceed
       those limits? Do we just say, “Sorry, Charlie”?
Exercises
         4.     insurance exec: Insurance costs so much because
          accident victims hire you lawyers to take us insurers to court
          and soak us for all we’re worth. There should be limits on the
          amounts insurance companies may be required to pay out on
          claims.
         attorney: Limits? Doesn’t sound like a good idea to me. What
          if someone’s medical expenses exceed those limits? Do we just
          say, “Sorry, Charlie”?

    Only Attorney is giving an argument.
Exercises
   Determine which of the following passages
    contain an argument, and, for any that do,
    identify the argument’s final conclusion.
Exercises
               1. “Your jacket looks a
          little tattered, there, Houston.
          Time to get a new one, I’d say.”
Exercises
             1.     “Your jacket looks a little
        tattered, there, Houston. Time to get a
        new one, I’d say.”
                    Argument. Conclusion:
        Time to get a new jacket.
Exercises
                 2.       “I seriously doubt many people want
          to connect up their TV to the Internet. For one
          thing, when people watch TV they don’t want more
          information. For another thing, even if they did, they
          wouldn’t be interested in having to do something to
          get it. They just want to sit back and let the TV tell
          them what’s happening.”
Exercises
                 2.       “I seriously doubt many people want
          to connect up their TV to the Internet. For one thing,
          when people watch TV they don’t want more
          information. For another thing, even if they did, they
          wouldn’t be interested in having to do something to
          get it. They just want to sit back and let the TV tell
          them what’s happening.”
                       Argument. Conclusion: It is
          doubtful many people want to connect their TV to
          the Internet.
Exercises
               3.         “Here’s how you make chocolate
          milk. Warm up a cup of milk in the microwave for
          two minutes, then add two tablespoons of the
          chocolate. Stir it up, then stick it back in the
          microwave for another 30 seconds. Then enjoy it.”
      
Exercises
               3.         “Here’s how you make chocolate
          milk. Warm up a cup of milk in the microwave for
          two minutes, then add two tablespoons of the
          chocolate. Stir it up, then stick it back in the
          microwave for another 30 seconds. Then enjoy it.”
                        No argument
Exercises
              4. “Pretzels are pretty
          good for a snack food. But it’s
          wise to keep in mind that they are
          high in sodium, at least if you eat
          the salted kind.”
      
Exercises
               4.      “Pretzels are pretty good for a
          snack food. But it’s wise to keep in mind that
          they are high in sodium, at least if you eat
          the salted kind.”
                       No argument
Exercises
   Identify the passages that contain
    arguments; in those that do, identify the
    main issue.
Exercises
                 1.       It’s wise to let states deny AFDC (Aid
          to Families with Dependent Children) benefits to
          unmarried kids under eighteen who live away from
          their parents. This would discourage thousands of
          these kids from having children of their own in order
          to get state-subsidized apartments.
      
Exercises
                 1.       It’s wise to let states deny AFDC (Aid
          to Families with Dependent Children) benefits to
          unmarried kids under eighteen who live away from
          their parents. This would discourage thousands of
          these kids from having children of their own in order
          to get state-subsidized apartments.
                       Argument. Issue: whether states
          should be allowed to deny AFDC benefits to
          youths under eighteen.
Exercises
                      5.        “Those who accept evolution contend
                that creation is not scientific; but can it be fairly said
                that the theory of evolution itself is truly scientific?”

   —Life—How Did It Get Here? By Evolution
    or by Creation?
Exercises
                     2.       “Those who accept evolution
                contend that creation is not scientific; but
                can it be fairly said that the theory of
                evolution itself is truly scientific?”
   —Life—How Did It Get Here? By Evolution
    or by Creation?
                            No argument.
Exercises
                     3.      “It is indeed said that the Japanese
                work more than 2,000 hours a year, but this is not so.
                At Sony—and at Sanyo or Matsushita—the total is
                somewhere between 1,800 and 1,900 hours.”

   —Akio Morita, chairman of Sony
Exercises
                     3.      “It is indeed said that the Japanese
                work more than 2,000 hours a year, but this is not so.
                At Sony—and at Sanyo or Matsushita—the total is
                somewhere between 1,800 and 1,900 hours.”

   —Akio Morita, chairman of Sony
                           Argument. Issue: whether the
                Japanese work more than 2,000 hours a year

				
DOCUMENT INFO