POLS 1000 Lecture 1: Why We Must Think Critically
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Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Lecture 1 – Week 2
Why We Must Think Critically
The term critical does not refer to the quality of the conclusion, - is not negative thing. It actually
refers to a thinking process that aims at evaluating
- In order to think critically, one must bring in historical facts, observation, context, or ne may
bring out he lack thereof a certain thought.
- It’s a skill, it is not something one is born with. It is developed through practice.
Why should we think critically? Why don’t we just take things at face value?
- Critical thinking is an intellectual weapon.
- Fundamental to fighting stupidity – allows for abstract thoughts.
The Notion of Stupidity:
- A common bond between literature and politics is the desire for immortality
o It allows one to transcend and leaving traces of their existence
▪ In a way cheating death, the most haunting part – being forgotten.
▪ A good example is that in history, mainly politics and literature have
- Auto: Self
- Nomos: Norms
“A speech that disregards truth and seeks only to persuade” – Bullshit: Henry Frankfurt
1929; Milan Kundera – The distinction between ignorance and stupidity
- The Novel and Europe; 1986
o In 1985, was awarded the Jerusalem Prize (Literary Prize)
▪ Sets out the understand the great contributions of certain novelists, but the
one is of interest to us today is named Gustave Fleubert.
▪ The objective of going these authors, that to look at the spirit of the time
(zeitgeist – zeist: time | geist: spirit).
▪ 19th century created stupidity (betise), He argues that stupidity and ignorance
is not the same
▪ Stupidity; is “the nonthought of received ideas” (referring to Fleubert’s
• It’s not frowned on, but rather accepted
• Stupidity will progress in society, along with technology
• As society advances, so does stupid ideas.
• Before the invention of the internet, Kunder’s said that technology
disseminate stupid ideas. (1985 – talking about mass media)
▪ Ignorance; the fact of not knowing that could easily be corrected
o Gustrave Fleubert
▪ Madame Bovary
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