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(Chapter 1) RCT1.win2014.docx
(Chapter 1) RCT1.win2014.docx

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University of Ottawa
Mark Brown

1. A toy puck and a hockey stick cost $1.10 in total. The stick costs $1 more than the puck. How much does the puck cost? a) 10 cents b) 5 cents c) 15 cents d) Cannot be determined 2. In a lake, there is a patch of lily pads. Every day, the patch doubles in size. If it takes 48 days for the patch to cover the entire lake, how long would it take for the patch to cover half of it? a) 47 days b) 24 days c) 13 days d) Cannot be determined 3. Bob is in a bar, looking at Susan, who is looking at Pablo. Bob is married. Pablo is not. Is a married person looking at an unmarried person? a) yes b) no c) Cannot be determined  Critical thinking: ‘The systematic evaluation or formulation of beliefs, or statements, by rational standards.’ Systematic: because it involves distinct procedures and methods (not just gut feelings, what we believe, etc.) Evaluation and Formulation: used to assess existing claims and devise new ones. Rational Standards: Claims are judged by how well they are supported by reasons. The Basic Toolbox of Critical Thinking  Statement  Premise  Conclusion  Argument The ‘Environment’ of Critical Thinking Want to contemplate impediments to critical thinking: Hindrances, problems, or barriers that arise because of how we think and what we think. 1. Problems with How We Think As humans, we are naturally focused on self- preservation, including preserving our own peace of mind, seeing ourselves in a good light, and so on. One problem . . .  Too much focus on you. ‘Self-interested thinking’: Accepting a claim solely on the grounds that it advances, or coincides with our interests (or even just helps us ‘save face.’) There’s nothing wrong with advocating things that are good for you, but if you accept a claim just because it’s in your own interests, then that’s a problem.  Examples of self-interested thinking:  ‘I’m against gun control, because I’m a hunter.’  I got an ‘F’ on that essay because the professor doesn’t know what she is doing. I do not need extra help. In every other class I am getting an ‘A’. The Other Problem with How We Think: Other People Group Thinking We are all members of many groups (political parties, social classes, religions, etc.) and all of these groups, intentionally or not, exert pressure on our views.
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