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Chapter 1

PHI 1101 P - Chapter 1.docx

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Iva Apostolova

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PHI 1101 PReasoning and Critical Thinking Chapter 1: What is Critical Thinking? • We all think but do we all reason? • Difference between mere thinking and rational thinking/reasoning • When we think our thoughts come to us, one after the other, in a stream (‘stream of consciousness” thinking; Dadaism) • When we think rationally, our thoughts are organized and ordered in a certain pattern • Some of the types of rational thinking:  Lateral thinking: thinking outside the box  Abstract thinking: generalizing (ie. Stereotypes, puzzles, geometry)  Logical thinking: according to the laws of logic  Critical thinking: reflective thinking (‘critical’: being aware, being able to see)  Paradoxical thinking: shows the bounds of logic and rationality • Abstract and logical thinking often work together • Critical thinking requires abstract and logical thinking • When we reason or think rationally, we try to always keep our thoughts linked together in such a way that we believe that one thought provides support for the other • This means that rational thinking is not about what you think but how you are thinking • Reasoning/rational thinking provides us with a structure or a system, a systematic placing of our thoughts • So we need to establish certain standards of systematic ordering • Some of the intellectual standards are:  Clarity  Accuracy (“Grouping’)  Precision (“bulls eye”)  Relevance (students always think that they deserve higher grades)  Depth (“Just say no”, an example of a shallow slogan)  Logic (ex. The law of the excluded middle, avoid contradictions) • All reasoning is an attempt to figure something out, to solve a problem or settle something • All reasoning is based on assumptions • All reasoning is done from a point of view • All reasoning is based on data, information and evidence • All reasoning is expressed through concepts and ideas • All reasoning contains interpretation and inferences • All reasoning leads somewhere, or has implications and consequences • Definition of critical thinking: critical thinking is a set of rational skills that enable us to defend our beliefs/opinions/ideas in accordance with certain rational standards • Critical thinking requires reflection, which is a rigorous, systematic, m
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