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Chapter 9: Critical Thinking

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  1. Chapter 9: Critical Thinking Bridging the Gap, 9/eBrenda Smith 2008 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers

  2. In this chapter you will answer the questions: • What is thinking? • What is critical thinking? • What are the characteristics of critical thinkers? • What are the barriers to critical thinking? • How do critical thinkers analyze an argument? • What is the difference between inductive and deductive reasoning? • What does creative thinking add to critical thinking? 2008 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers

  3. What is Thinking? • Thinking is an organized and controlled mental activity that helps you solve problems, make decisions, and understand ideas. • Good thinkers form a plan and systematically try different solutions. 2008 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers

  4. What is Critical Thinking? • Critical thinking is deliberating in a purposeful, organized manner to assess the value of information, both old and new. Critical thinkers: • Search • Compare • Analyze • Clarify • Evaluate • Conclude 2008 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers

  5. Critical Thinking Skills and College Goals • Think systematically. • Evaluate. • Draw conclusions based on logic. 2008 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers

  6. Reader’s Tip: Four Habits of Effective Critical Thinkers • Be willing to plan. • Be flexible. • Be persistent. • Be willing to self-correct. 2008 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers

  7. Terminology for Critical Thinking 2008 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers

  8. Barriers to Critical Thinking • Frame of reference. • Wishful thinking. • Hasty moral judgments. • Reliance on authority. • Labels. 2008 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers

  9. Critical Thinkers: • Hold their own opinions up to scrutiny. • Drive to the heart of the issues. • Assess reasons for opposing views. • Solve problems. • Gain knowledge. • Justify their own positions. • Gain confidence. 2008 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers

  10. Courtroom Analogy • What is the issue? • What are the arguments? • What is the evidence? • What is the verdict? 2008 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers

  11. Review: How to Think Critically • Be willing to plan. Think first & write later. Don’t be impulsive. Develop a habit of planning. • Be flexible. Be open to new ideas. Consider new solutions for old problems. • Be persistent. Continue to work even when you are tired and discouraged. Good thinking is hard work. • Be willing to self-correct. Don’t be defensive about errors. Figure out what went wrong and learn from your mistakes. 2008 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers

  12. Recognizing an Argument • An argument is an assertion that supports a conclusion and is intended to persuade. • To identify arguments, use inferential skills and recognize the underlying purpose or intent of the author. 2008 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers

  13. Recognizing an Argument • An argument is an assertion that supports a conclusion and is intended to persuade. • Ex: “You should water the grass tonight because rain is not predicted for several days.” • Non-argumentative statements do not question truth but simply offer information to explain and thereby help us understand. • Ex: “The grass is wet because it rained last night.” 2008 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers

  14. Steps in Analyzing an Argument • Identify the position on the issue. • Identify the support in the argument. • Evaluate the support. • Evaluate the argument. 2008 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers

  15. Signal Words to Identify the Position on an Issue • As a result • Consequently • Finally • For these reasons • In summary • It follows that • Therefore • Thus, should 2008 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers

  16. Signal Words to Identify the Support in the Argument • Because • Since • If • First, second, finally • Assuming that • Given that 2008 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers

  17. Reader’s Tip: Types of Support for Arguments • Facts: Objective truths. • Ask: How were the facts gathered? Are they true? • Examples: Anecdotes to demonstrate the truth. • Ask: Are the examples true and relevant? • Analogies: Comparisons to similar cases. • Ask: Are the analogies accurate and relevant? • Authority: Words from a recognized expert. • Ask: What are the credentials and biases of the expert? 2008 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers

  18. Reader’s Tip: Types of Support for Arguments • Causal relationship: Saying one thing caused another. • Ask: Is it an actual cause or merely an association? • Common knowledge claim: Assertion of wide acceptance. • Ask: Is it relevant? Does everyone really believe it? • Statistics: Numerical data. • Ask: Do the numbers accurately describe the phenomenon? • Personal experiences: Personal anecdotes. • Ask: Is the experience applicable to other situations? 2008 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers

  19. Evaluate the Support • Fallacy - An inference that appears to be reasonable at first glance, but closer inspection proves it to be unrelated, unreliable, or illogical. • Relevance fallacies • Believability fallacies • Consistency fallacies 2008 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers

  20. Relevance Fallacies: Is the Support Related to the Conclusion? - Part (1) • Ad hominem: An attack on the person rather than the issue in hopes that if the person is opposed, the idea will be opposed. • Ex: Do not listen to Mr. Hite’s views on education because he is a banker. • Bandwagon: The idea that everybody is doing it and you will be left out if you do not quickly join the crowd. • Ex: Everybody around the world is drinking Coke, so you should too. • Misleading analogy: A comparison of two things suggesting that they are similar when they are in fact distinctly different. • Ex: College students are just like elementary school students; they need to be taught self-discipline. 2008 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers

  21. Relevance Fallacies: Is the Support Related to the Conclusion? - Part (2) • Straw person: A distorted or exaggerated form of the opponent’s argument is introduced and knocked down as if to represent a totally weak opposition. • Ex: When a teenage daughter is told she cannot go out on the weeknight before a test, she replies with “It’s unreasonable to say that I can never go out on a weeknight.” • Testimonials: Opinions of agreement from respected celebrities who are not actually experts. • Ex: A famous actor endorses a headache pill. 2008 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers

  22. Relevance Fallacies: Is the Support Related to the Conclusion? - Part (3) • Transfer: An association with a positively or negatively regarded person or thing in order to lend the same association to the argument (also guilt or virtue by association). • Ex: A local politician quotes President Lincoln in a speech as if Lincoln would have agreed with and voted for the candidate. 2008 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers

  23. Believability Fallacies: Is the support believable or highly suspicious? – Part (1) • Incomplete facts or cards stacking: Factual details are omitted to misrepresent reality. • Ex: Buy stock in this particular restaurant chain because it is under new management and people eat out a lot. • Misinterpreted statistics: Numerical data are applied to unrelated populations that the numbers were never intended to represent. • Ex: More than 20 percent of people exercise daily and thus do not need fitness training. 2008 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers

  24. Believability Fallacies: Is the support believable or highly suspicious? – Part (2) • Overgeneralizations: Examples and anecdotes are asserted as if they apply to all cases rather than a select few. • Ex: High school students do little work during their senior year and thus are overwhelmed at college. • Questionable authority: A testimonial suggests that people who are not experts actually do have authority in a certain area. • Ex: Dr. Lee, a sociology professor, testified that the DNA reports were 100 percent accurate. 2008 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers

  25. Consistency Fallacies: Does the Support Hold Together or Does it Fall Apart & Contradict Itself? – Part (1) • Appeals to emotions: Highly charged language is used for emotional manipulation. • Ex: Give money to our organization to help these children—these starving orphans---who are in desperate need of medical attention. • Appeals to pity: Pleas to support the underdog are made on behalf of a person or issue. • Ex: Please give me an A for the course because I need it to get into law school. • Begging the question or circular reasoning: Support for the conclusion merely restates the conclusion. • Ex: Drugs should not be legalized because it should be against the law to take illegal drugs. 2008 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers

  26. Consistency Fallacies: Does the Support Hold Together or Does it Fall Apart & Contradict Itself? – Part (2) • Oversimplification: An issue is reduced to two simple choices, without consideration of other alternatives. • Ex: The choices are very simple in supporting our foreign-policy decision to send troops. You are either for America or against it. • Slippery slope: Objections to an issue are raised because unless dealt with, it will lead to greater evil and disastrous consequences. • Ex: Support for assisting the suicide of a terminally ill patient will lead to the ultimate disposal of the marginally sick and elderly. 2008 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers

  27. Evaluate the Argument: Four degrees of support • Unrelated reasons give no support. • A few weak reasons do not adequately support. • Many weak reasons can support. • Strong related reasons provide support. Is there really global warming? 2008 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers

  28. Inductive Inductive reasoning: Starts by gathering data. Considers all available material. Formulates a conclusion. Deductive Deductive reasoning: Starts with the conclusion of a previous experience. Applies it to a new situation. Inductive & Deductive Reasoning 2008 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers

  29. Creative and Critical Thinking • Vertical thinking is straightforward and a logical way of thinking. • Lateral thinking is a way of thinking around a problem or even redefining the problem. • Creative thinking involves both vertical and lateral thinking. 2008 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers

  30. Summary Points • What is thinking? • What is critical thinking? • What are the characteristics of critical thinkers? • What are the barriers to critical thinking? • How do critical thinkers analyze an argument? • What is the difference between inductive and deductive reasoning? • What does creative thinking add to critical thinking? 2008 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers

  31. Search the Net • For suggested Web sites and other research activities about critical thinking, go to: • http://www.ablongman.com/smith/ 2008 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers

  32. Vocabulary Booster • Complete the vocabulary exercises for “Lights, Camera, Action!” from your textbook. 2008 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Longman Publishers