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SSH 105 (72)
Chapter 1

Chapter 1 Critical Thinking Notes.docx

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Social Sciences and Humanities
SSH 105
Andrew Hunter

Chapter 1 Critical Thinking Notes The Powder of Critical Thinking  A question about the quality of your beliefs is the fundamental concern for critical thinking  Critical thinking is not about what you think but how you think; not the cause of a belief, but on whether it is worth believing. A belief is worth accepting if we have good reason to accept it  Critical thinking offers us a set a standards embodied in techniques, attitudes and principles that we can use to assess beliefs and determine if they are supported by good reasons  Critical thinking: the systematic evaluation or formulation of beliefs or statements by rational standards  Systematic because it involves distinct procedures and methods  Entails evaluation and formulation because it’s used both to assess existing beliefs and to devise new ones  Operates according to rational standards in that beliefs are judged by how well they are supported by reason  We all make mistakes of reasoning from time to time: fail to give enough attention to key facts, jump to conclusions, etc.  We tend to overestimate how common dramatic events are and underestimate how common more boring events are  Logic: the study of good reasoning, or inference, and the rules that govern it  Critical thinking involves not only logic but the examination of the truth or falsity of statements, the evaluation of arguments and evidence, the use of analysis and investigation, and the application of many other skills that help us decide what to believe Why It Matters  Our lives are defined by our actions and choices, and our actions and choices are guided by our thinking  If we take the easy way out by simply believing anything, we lose personal freedom; those beliefs are not our own. If our beliefs are not our own, then we are not in charge of our own lives  The urgent consideration is not just whether we sometimes use critical thinking, but how well we use it  Some believe that critical thinking makes one excessively critical or cynical, emotionally cold, and creatively constrained  Critical thinking involves an openness to other points of view, a tolerance for opposing perspectives, focus on the issue at hand, and fair assessments of arguments and evidence  We shouldn’t let our emotions distort our judgment, but our emotions often need the guidance of reason  Likewise, we need emo
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