Lecture 1 Why Do We Have to Think Critically

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Lecture 1 POLS 1000
Critical thinking
o “Critical” – “negating”, “devaluing”
o A “good” review is still “criticism”, being critical
o “Critical” does not refer to the conclusion
o Def: Thinking process that aims at evaluating
Thinking process
A skill, doesn’t come naturally, must be developed through practice
Takes different factors into account
Context, History, Observation, Coherence, Relevance
o WHY? Intellectual weapon, protect from charlatans, help get a good job, make correct decisions,
intellectual self defence
o Essential in fighting a phenomenon that plagues us today STUPIDITY
o Allows us to engage in ABSTRACT THOUGHT
Common bond between literature and politics
o Desire for immortality
o Both allows us to transcend, leave traces of existence
o Most painful and lasting consequence of death: be forgotten
Milan Kundera
o 1929, Czech
o Distinction between ignorance and stupidity
o Novels, Essays, Short stories, in both Czech and French
o “Unbearable lightness of being” , Best intro “laughable loves”
o art of the novel” 1986 eng trans, col of essays
“Jerusalem Address: Novel in Europe” , Kundera won Jerusalem Award in 1985
Contributions of other authors
Gustave Flaubert, 1821-1888
o Madame Bovary, depict bourgeois life
o Dictionary of Received Ideas, collect the clichés (fixed ideas, intelligent
and thoughtful) and stereotypes’ of 19th century
19th century in France reign of the bourgeois
o French Revolution 1789-1914!: bourgeois replace aristocracy as the
ruling class in France. Aristocracy was weak, “ready to disintegrate”. B
with help of peasants and poor strip aristocracy of their power. Take all
19th century for issues of FR to be resolved. Over 100 years to end.
o Bourgeois: medieval town, wall around, merchants settle outside city
walls, called “faubourg” oeis (“ian”) bourgeois, member of the
merchant class
o Ever expanding merchant class be the foundation of all institutions
o We are still in a bourgeois society, $
o Replacement of ruling class NEW VALUES
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