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Study Guide

[PHIL 2003] - Midterm Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam (17 pages long!)
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by OneClass996571 , Fall 2016
17 Pages
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Fall 2016

Department
Philosophy
Course Code
PHIL 2003
Professor
Ken Ferguson
Study Guide
Midterm

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Waterloo
PHIL 2003
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE
Introduction to Critical Thinking
Paterson hall floor 3A, fb - Carleton University Philosophy Society (peer mentoring)
Purpose of course:
To help students develop and cultivate the skill of eective critical thinking
What is critical thinking?:
Process or activity
Uses methods and skills
Goal oriented
Eective critical thinking:
Analyzing
Interpreting
Criticizing
Evaluating
Airport Security Analogy:
CT is not just negative in helping you to avoid false details but should include
creative/constructive thinking that allows you to search further into things
Why forming true beliefs can be dicult (external v. internal forces):
The world (reality) can be complex
We are constantly being thrown information that can be hard to process quickly/easily
There are forces intent on deceiving us (marketers, politicians, the media)
We may already be caught up in false beliefs
Defects within our own minds as belief formers
Belief Formers, Cognitive Weaknesses:
Prone to influences that ay interfere with clear thinking: emotions, bias
Reluctance to change/update beliefs in light of experiences and evidence
Too influenced by authority or tradition
Lack of background information
Tendency to commit certain types of logical errors: fallacies of reasoning
find more resources at oneclass.com
find more resources at oneclass.com
Cognitive biases: when quick thinking you may follow certain rules that may not be
what you would actually do if you had more time (defects of reasoning), from evolution
Ex. actor-observer bias: I describe what I do dierently than I would describe someone
else doing the same thing. I fail a test: I would say “I didn’t have time”, if it was
someone else who failed I’d say “He/she was too lazy to study properly"
Defects of observation and memory
CT is not:
Incompatible with emotions
Not just finding fault with people
Not being argumentative (arguing for the sake of arguing)
Not just being skeptical of everything, you need information to decipher
find more resources at oneclass.com
find more resources at oneclass.com

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Description
Waterloo PHIL 2003 MIDTERM EXAM STUDY GUIDE find more resources at oneclass.com Introduction to Critical Thinking Paterson hall floor 3A, fb - Carleton University Philosophy Society (peer mentoring) Purpose of course: To help students develop and cultivate the skill of effective critical thinking What is critical thinking?: Process or activity Uses methods and skills Goal oriented Effective critical thinking: Analyzing Interpreting Criticizing Evaluating Airport Security Analogy: CT is not just negative in helping you to avoid false details but should include creative/constructive thinking that allows you to search further into things Why forming true beliefs can be difficult (external v. internal forces): The world (reality) can be complex We are constantly being thrown information that can be hard to process quickly/easily There are forces intent on deceiving us (marketers, politicians, the media) We may already be caught up in false beliefs Defects within our own minds as belief formers Belief Formers, Cognitive Weaknesses: Prone to influences that ay interfere with clear thinking: emotions, bias Reluctance to change/update beliefs in light of experiences and evidence Too influenced by authority or tradition Lack of background information Tendency to commit certain types of logical errors: fallacies of reasoning find more resources at oneclass.com find more resources at oneclass.com Cognitive biases: when quick thinking you may follow certain rules that may not be what you would actually do if you had more time (defects of reasoning), from evolution Ex. actor-observer bias: I describe what I do differently than I would describe someone else doing the same thing. I fail a test: I would say “I didn’t have time”, if it was someone else who failed I’d say “He/she was too lazy to study properly" Defects of observation and memory CT is not: Incompatible with emotions Not just finding fault with people Not being argumentative (arguing for the sake of arguing) Not just being skeptical of everything, you need information to decipher find more resources at oneclass.com find more resources at oneclass.com Critical Thinking Barriers Pg 19 exercises, #1-15 What is a “barrier” to CT?: Anything that has a tendency to interfere with or undermine the process of evaluating our beliefs objectively Barriers: Lack of background information Refusal to change beliefs Self-interested thinking Lack of independence Too differential to authority Group pressure Bias and stereotyping Influence of ideologies or world views Lack of background information: Processing information is always relevant People are sometimes completely unaware that they lack information (we don’t know what we don’t know) Refusal to change beliefs: Reliable belief formation sometimes needs us to let go of our old beliefs once new evidence is given Cognitive dissonance: refers to the discomfort people experience when uncertainty is introduced into their belief system and therefore don’t know what to believe Willingness to change beliefs still have to be balanced, you don’t want to believe any new thing that you hear (belief formation becomes chaotic) Juror #8 in 12 Angry Men Egocentric thinking: Is a cognitive defect or weakness: allowing your own interests or situation to interfere with reliable belief formation based on objective evidence (everyone suffers from this limitation to some extent) Wishful thinking: believing that something is true because you want it to be find more resources at oneclass.com find more resources at oneclass.com Saving face: believing or disbelieving something just to protect yourself from criticism Self-deception: as a defense mechanism to protect your self-image Just because someone feels passionate about the issue doesn’t mean that they are being egocentric Angry Man (from the movie Twelve Angry Men assigned for hw): Juror #10: thinks about the case in relation to his bad relationship with his son Too influenced by authority: When you follow someone blindly your beliefs are not really your own Another mistake is to ignore or reject the opinion of actual experts just because they are so Juror #5 Milgram Experiment: to see how much people will just follow orders regardless or their morals/ethics, designed to test how much people will just follow orders Subjects T were told be E to administer electric shocks to L: most obeyed without question Overpowering emotions: Emotions can sometimes interfere with clear thinking Shown in 12 Angry Men when jurors allow sympathy for the victim or victim’s family to override the need for evidence against the accused Social influencers: The need to conform to a group is a powerful influence that affects not only behaviour but also beliefs In 12 Angry Men: when only Fonda voted ‘not guilt' Group thinking: In the movie, an attitude dominated the group of jurors as a whole Juror #8 Bias, prejudice, racism and stereotypes: Biases or preconceptions prevent us from assessing the evidence for/against a belief in an objective way Many of the jurors in the movie were influenced by the stereotypes of an “M slum kid”, “a kid like that”, which led them to assume he was guilty The jury is all white and male: is this on purpose to make a point? or just because it find more resources at oneclass.com find more resources at oneclass.com was filmed in 1950s? Limitations in abilities or experience: Lack of background info Poor reading, analytical or other skills Inability to see another’s point of view Lack of experience, close-minded Inability to make connections between ideas/beliefs Mental habits: Being disorganized or careless Too defensive, can’t take criticism Tendency to make inappropriate assumptions Being too impulsive Being too indifferent, lazy, uninvolved Being too cautious Being narrow-minded Influence of world views or ideologies: Worldview: a set of fundamental ideas/beliefs that help us make sense of the world Fundamental: the extent to which they guide our formation of other beliefs Ex. religions, political ideologies, conservatism, socialism, Marxism, philosophical theories Worldview can act as a lens or filter, the lens can give us a slanted or distorted view of things Philosophical theories that can interfere with critical thinking: Philosophical scepticism: we know much less than we think we know or maybe even nothing at all Subjective relativism: the view that truth depends only on what someone believe, that truth is relative to the individual Social relativism: the view that truth is relative to societies or groups, also known as Cultural Relativism Philosophical Scepticism: Moderate: impossible ever to know anything with complete or absolute certainty Extreme: impossible to even have evidence to justify our beliefs, evidence that makes them likely to be true Moderate scepticism may be true but is still compatible with CT find more resources at oneclass.com find more resources at oneclass.com Extreme scepticism is a problem for CT: if we can’t ever justify our beliefs then there is no point in trying to evaluate and criticize them (CT assumes that objective evidence is possible) For the purpose of this course we will assume Extreme scepticism is false Subjective relativism: Conflicts directly with goals of CT If you think your beliefs are true there would be no reason to criticize them Subjective relativism ignores common sense: it entails our beliefs can never be mistaken but we all know we’re sometimes wrong about things Subjective relativism is self-defeating: how are we to assume that subjective relativism is the one objective truth and not just relative to the individual like it suggests? Social relativism: The sociological/anthropological observation that "different groups believe different things” is correct Rooted historically as a desire to understand and be respectful towards other cultures One problem with social relativism is that it implies societies are infallible: does it believe that no society has ever been wrong about something? It’s self-defeating: for culture that reject it, it is false, but if the doctrine is suppose to be objective then not all truth is relative to culture How big must the social group be? Social relativism confuses the equal moral work of all societies with he assumption that they possess equal knowledge find more resources at oneclass.com find more resources at oneclass.com Analyzing and Reconstructing Arguments Reading 2 in course book, reading 3 on syllabus (includes online material) Exercise: pg 20 #1-10, pg 22-24 (does the exercise contain an argument?) Reading 5, pg 24-27 Definition of Argument: Term in logic and reasoning does not mean a quarrel or fight or disagreement Argument definition 1: is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition Argument definition 2: a set of two or more statements or claims, one which the conclusion is intended to follow from or be supported by, the others which are premises Not just a contradiction Inference: A claim that one thing makes another thing likely to be true Have to have at least one inference in an argument A ‘criterion’ if you will, for identifying an argument Statements: Statements by themselves are not an argument (there is no inference) Doesn’t matter how many times it is repeated, it is not an argument Arguments can be: Good or bad, strong or weak Can be as complex as you like: no limit of the number of premises Reconstructing Arguments: People don’t often clearly give an argument Reconstructing arguments definition 1: it is often necessary to do a lot of work to know what argument the person is presenting 5 Steps to Reconstructing Arguments (not always done in this order): Reconstructing arguments: determining whether an argument is being presented find more resources at oneclass.com find more resources at oneclass.co
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