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Chapter 2

Chapter 2 Notes: Obstacles to Critical Thinking.docx

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Boston University
CAS PH 160
Francis Monette

PH160 Chapter 2 Notes: Obstacles to Critical Thinking Avoiding Self-Interested Thinking • Watch out when things get personal and you become emotionally invested in an issue • Beware of the urge to distort your thinking to save face • Be alert to ways that critical thinking can be undermined • Ensure that nothing has been left out of consideration • Avoid selective attention • Make a conscious effort to look for opposing evidence Avoiding Group Pressure on Your Thinking • Group pressure can come in the form of peer pressure, appeals to popularity, and appeals to common practice o Peer Pressure: comes from peers o Appeal to Popularity: pressure comes from mere popularity of a belief o Appeal to Common Practice: pressure comes from what groups of people do or how they behave • Group-centered thinking can degenerate into narrow-mindedness, resistance to change, and stereotyping • Proportion your acceptance of a claim according to the strength of the reasons Philosophical Obstacles • Subjective Relativism: idea that truth depends on what someone believes • Subjectivist Fallacy: truth depends not on the way things are, but solely on what someone believes. Truth then, is relative to person; truth is a matter of what a person believes, not a matter of how the world is. o If we could make a statement true just by believing it to be true, then we would be infallible.
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