Pre-launch * people need to understand just what it means to be

Report
WHAT IS CRITICAL
THINKING?
PART 2
SUBJECTS TO EXAMINE
• Part 1
• Distinctions between the brain and the mind
• Critical thinking defined
• Part 2
• Characteristics of critical thinkers
• The role of intuition
• Part 3
• Basic activities in critical thinking
• Critical thinking and writing
• Critical thinking and discussion
CRITICAL THINKERS
WH A T A R E T H E I R C H A R A C T E R I S T I C S ?
CHARACTERISTICS OF CRITICAL
THINKERS
• As we have previously noted, one characteristic of
a critical thinker is the ability to ask appropriate
questions
• Another is control of one’s mental activities
• John Dewey once observed that more of our time than
most of us care to admit is spent “trifling with mental
pictures, random recollections, pleasant but unfounded
hopes, flitting, half-developed impressions.”
CHARACTERISTICS OF CRITICAL
THINKERS (CONT.)
• Good critical thinkers have learned how to stop the
casual, semiconscious drift of images when they
wish and how to fix their minds on one specific
matter, examine it carefully, and form a judgment
about it
• They have learned how to take charge of their
thoughts, to use their minds actively (problem
solving) as well as passively (daydreaming)
CHARACTERISTICS OF CRITICAL
THINKERS (CONT.)
Critical Thinkers
Uncritical Thinkers
• Are honest with
themselves,
acknowledging what
they don’t know,
recognizing their
limitations, and being
watchful of their own
errors
• Pretend they know
more than they do,
ignore their limitations,
and assume their views
are error-free
CHARACTERISTICS OF CRITICAL
THINKERS (CONT.)
Critical Thinkers
Uncritical Thinkers
• Regard problems and
controversial issues as
exciting challenges
• Regard problems and
controversial issues as
nuisances or threats to
their ego
CHARACTERISTICS OF CRITICAL
THINKERS (CONT.)
Critical Thinkers
• Strive for understanding,
keep curiosity alive,
remain patient with
complexity, and are
ready to invest time to
overcome confusion
Uncritical Thinkers
• Are impatient with
complexity and thus
would rather remain
confused than make the
effort to understand
CHARACTERISTICS OF CRITICAL
THINKERS (CONT.)
Critical Thinkers
Uncritical Thinkers
• Base judgments on
evidence rather than
personal preferences,
deferring judgment
whenever evidence is
insufficient; they revise
judgments when new
evidence reveals error
• Base judgments on first
impressions and gut
reactions; they are
unconcerned about
the amount or quality
of evidence and cling
to their views
steadfastly
CHARACTERISTICS OF CRITICAL
THINKERS (CONT.)
Critical Thinkers
Uncritical Thinkers
• Are interested in other
people’s ideas and so
are willing to read and
listen attentively, even
when they tend to
disagree with the other
person
• Are preoccupied with
themselves and their
own opinions and are
so unwilling to pay
attention to others’
views. At the first sign of
disagreement, they
tend to think, “How can
I refute this?”
CHARACTERISTICS OF CRITICAL
THINKERS (CONT.)
Critical Thinkers
Uncritical Thinkers
• Recognize that extreme • Ignore the need for
views (whether
balance and give
“conservative” or
preference to views that
“liberal”) are seldom
support their established
correct, so they avoid
views
them, practice
fairmindedness, and seek
a balanced view
CHARACTERISTICS OF CRITICAL
THINKERS (CONT.)
Critical Thinkers
• Practice restraint,
controlling their feelings
rather than being
controlled by them,
and thinking before
acting
Uncritical Thinkers
• Tend to follow their
feelings and act
impulsively
SO?
• As the desirable qualities suggest, critical thinking
depends on mental discipline
• Effective thinkers
• Exert control over their mental life
• Consciously and intentionally direct their thoughts rather
than being directed by them
• Withhold their endorsement of any idea, even their own,
until they have tested and confirmed it
SO? (CONT.)
• Dewey equated mental discipline with freedom:
“If a man’s actions are not guided by thoughtful
conclusions, then they are guided by inconsiderate
impulse, unbalanced appetite, caprice, or the
circumstances of the moment. To cultivate
unhindered, unreflective external activity is to foster
enslavement, for it leaves the person at the mercy of
appetite, sense, and circumstance.”
QUESTIONS TO PONDER
• Who is John Dewey, and why should you care?
• What is the relationship between proper nutrition
and the ability to concentrate?
• How does what we see and hear affect our ability
to be a critical thinker?
• Why is being able to think critically important in real
life? Give at least three examples of where it would
be useful
• What is the relationship between reading, writing,
and thinking?
WHAT ABOUT
INTUITION?
WHERE DOES IT FIT IN?
THE ROLE OF INTUITION
• Intuition is commonly defined as immediate
perception or comprehension of something – that is,
sensing or understanding something without the use
of reasoning
• Another way to say it: quick and ready insight
THE ROLE OF INTUITION (CONT.)
• Some everyday experiences seem to support this
definition
• You meet a stranger and instantly “know” you will be
partners for life
• When a car salesman tells you the quoted price is the “rock
bottom price,” your intuition may have told you she was
lying
• Of the first day of a new job, you have a strong sense
something will not go right with it
THE ROLE OF INTUITION (CONT.)
• Sometimes even important “discoveries” seem to
have occurred instantaneously
• The German chemist Kekule found the solution to a difficult
chemical problem by slipping into a daydream and seeing
the image of a snake swallowing its tail
• This provided a clue to the structure of the benzene
molecule, which is a ring of atoms rather than a chain of
atoms
THE ROLE OF INTUITION (CONT.)
• This may suggest that intuition is very different from
reasoning and not influenced by it
• Should we accept this conclusion at face value?
• Let’s look more carefully at this subject
THE ROLE OF INTUITION (CONT.)
• Breakthrough ideas favor trained, active minds
• It is unusual for someone totally untrained in a subject to
make a significant new discovery about that subject
• If Kekule had been a plumber, it is unlikely that he would
have received the intuition for which he is famous
THE ROLE OF INTUITION (CONT.)
• Some intuitions eventually prove to be mistaken
and in error
• The person you were instantly attracted to turns out to be
not your lifelong partner but someone for whom you
develop a strong dislike
• The car salesman’s final price may have proved to be
exactly that – the final price
• Instead of the job going poorly, it goes exceptionally well
THE ROLE OF INTUITION (CONT.)
• It is difficult to make an overall assessment of the
quality of our intuitions because we tend to forget
those that prove mistaken in much the same way a
gambler forgets his losses
• Experiment: Keep track of your “intuitions” in a journal, and
evaluate them to see which are actually accurate or come
to pass
THE ROLE OF INTUITION (CONT.)
• These facts have lead some scholars to conclude
that intuition is simply a consequence of thinking
• Sometimes you make a quick decision without being aware
you’re thinking about something, causing you to
experience “precognition”
• Sometimes your “unconscious problem solver” is at work
and it brings you ideas from “out of the blue” – a delayed
result of thinking
SO?
• Is intuition independent of and different from
thinking? Or not?
• The most prudent answer seems to be “sometimes
yes, sometimes no”
• Therefore, because intuition is unreliable, it is not
prudent to rely on it in place of thinking
• That is not to say it should be ignored! But rather it
should be properly evaluated
FOR NEXT TIME
• Part 1
• Distinctions between the brain and the mind
• Critical thinking defined
• Part 2
• Characteristics of critical thinkers
• The role of intuition
• Part 3
• Basic activities in critical thinking
• Critical thinking and writing
• Critical thinking and discussion

similar documents