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GGR107 Notes - Ch1, 2 .pdf

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University of Toronto St. George
Sarah Wakefield

GGR107H1F – Environment, Food & People CHAPTER 1: A practical guide to critical thinking Critical Thinking: A process by which we use our knowledge and intelligence to effectively arrive at the most reasonable and justifiable positions on issues, and which endeavors to identify and overcome the numerous hindrances to rational thinking. - Thinking logically + analytically  philosophical & mathematical concept - Thinking rationally + objectively  broader concept – also embody fields of psychology & sociology (complex effects of human behavior on the thinking process) 5 Steps to becoming a critical thinker 1. Adopt the attitude Open-mindedness, healthy skepticism, intellectual humility, free thinking, high motivation. “Arrogance does not benefit the critical thinker.” – Socrates 2. Recognize & avoid the hindrances  Basic Human Limitations (Table 1.1) e.g. ignorance – the lack of essential background knowledge or info on a subject prior to making a decision  perform appropriate research on multiple sides of issues  Use of Language (Table 1.2) e.g. ambiguity – a word/expression that can be understood in more than one way  if the intended meaning cannot be determined, avoid making judgments e.g. gobbledygook – the use of confusing non-technical language to mislead or deceive  recognize the factual content  Faulty Logic or Perception (Table 1.3) e.g. gambler’s fallacy – the fallacy that something with fixed probabilities will increase or decrease depending upon recent occurrences  learn to recognize and distinguish between fixed and variable probabilities e.g. pragmatic fallacy – arguing something is true because it works, even though the causality between this and outcome are not demonstrated  identify known/possible causal mechanisms for observed effects  Psychological and Sociological Pitfalls (Table 1.4) e.g. emotional appeals – making irrelevant emotional appeals to accept a claim, since emotion often influences people more effectively than logical reasoning  do not accept emotional appeals as sufficient evidence to support an argument that requires logical reason 3. Identify and characterize arguments Argument = Reason + Conclusion Reasons – premises, evidence, data, propositions, proofs, verifications Conclusions – claims, actions, verdicts, propositions, opinions 4. Evaluate information sources An argument is only as strong as its weakest link. Sources should be unbiased, credible and accurate. This depends on the qualifications, integrity and reputation (biased?) 5. Evaluate arguments i) Assumptions are warranted – known to be true or is reasonable to accept without requiring another argument to support it Reasonable: a. One’s knowledge and experience b. The information source for the assumption c. The kind of claim being made ii) Reasoning is relevant and sufficient – quality and quantity of reasoning iii) Relevant information has been omitted – complete argument that presents ALL relevant reasoning (evidence), not just evidence that supports the argument. CHAPTER 2: Geography – Its Developments, Research Themes, & Concepts Geography – often referred to as a spatial science; the discipline concerned with the use of earth space Term coined by Greek scientist Eratosthenes – geo = ‘the Earth’, graphein = ‘to write’ EVOLUTION OF THE DISCIPLINE Greek: • measured the earth • devised the global grid of parallels and meridians • drew sophisticated maps of their own world • described river systems, erosion, deposition, deforestation, etc EVOLUTION OF GEOGRAPHY IN EUROPE time and space Important to understand how events occur and change over economics and sociology (1724 - 1804) are just as or more important that disciplines such as KANT Disciplines that provide historical and spatial perspectives Immanuel scientific credibility to his work provide systematic and precise observations = sense of His comparative approach between places + ability to (1769 - 1859) nature and people regions of the world --> focused on interactions between A. HUMBODLT Wrote a book that described the physical geography of many stattements / laws Compared different parts of the world to rovide general "the new scientific geography" environment, unity in the diversity of the world (1779 - 1859 Carl RITTER Observer of landscape, humant interactions with the Inventories of newly explored and colonized places Atlases produced + govts created mapping divisions maps Major developments in in surveying and mapping --> more accurate (1350 - 1750) European explorations prompted govts to map new territories Renaissance share this interest practised: British - regional + physical geography; Americans did not Differences among nations about how geography should be (1874) govt's decision to establish permanent chairs at all its universities Late 1800 Growing importance of geography was highlighted by the German superficial analysis N.America and Britain - realized their work was irrelevant and only 1950s - Regrional geography was becoming less popular in World War II - expansion of cartography and re
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