The Myth of Critical Thinking

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Magical Realist, Feb 22, 2017.

  1. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    When I studied at a university, I was told that I should question everything rather than simply accept things.

    A good example of critical thinking to me at least is the kind of thinking that led to an explanation of quantized spin (initially called "space quantization"), the first good evidence of which was the Stern-Gerlach experiment the results of which were unexpected. Another experiment was the Einstein-deHass one which was wrong by a factor of two.

    Critical thinking about the results of experiments, particularly unexpected results, led to revisions of theories and eventually to a more complete quantum theory.

    Of course, the scientists could have just accepted the results and not thought about them (yeah, right).

    And, btw this: "There are a minority of pedagogical scholars out there that have temperamentally raised the question of what the hell critical thinking actually is and why we are so convinced that it will solve all our problems?" is a crock. Critical thinking is not something anyone I know is convinced will "solve all our problems".
    I note there is a grammatical error in the quoted sentence, can you apply some critical thinking and see what it is?
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2017
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  3. Randwolf Ignorance killed the cat Valued Senior Member

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    You may run into a small problem with that line MR - as soon as someone gets around to pointing out that logic and critical thinking are very much entwined:

    What is Logic? What is Critical Thinking?

    Strategies and Skills for Critical Thinking, Using Logic

    Logic is the science of how to evaluate arguments and reasoning. Critical thinking is a process of evaluation which uses logic to separate truth from falsehood, reasonable from unreasonable beliefs. If you want to better evaluate the various claims, ideas, and arguments you encounter, you need a better understanding of basic logic and the process of critical thinking. These aren't trivial pursuits; they are essential to making good decisions and forming sound beliefs about our world.

    Who Cares?
    Is learning about logic and how to properly construct arguments really important? Most people may not need such skills in their day-to-day lives, but the truth is that almost everyone will benefit from learning how to think more critically - not just about their own beliefs, but also about all the ideas and claims they regularly encounter. Without the right mental tools, we have little hope of reliably separating truth from falsehood.

    What is Logic?
    People use words like "logic" and "logical" a lot, often without really understanding what they mean. Strictly speaking, logic is the science or study of how to evaluate arguments and reasoning. It's not a matter of opinion, it's a science of how arguments must be formed to be reasonable or correct. Obviously, a better understanding is critical for helping us reason and think better; without it, it's too easy for us to fall into error. More »

    What is Critical Thinking?
    The term "critical thinking" is used a lot, but isn't always properly understood. Put simply, critical thinking means developing reliable, rational evaluations about an argument or idea. It's a means for separating truth from falsehood and reasonable from unreasonable beliefs. It frequently involves finding flaws in others' arguments, but that's not all that it's about. It's not simply about criticizing ideas, it's about developing the ability to think about ideas with greater critical distance.
    http://atheism.about.com/od/criticalthinking/tp/Logic-Critical-Thinking.htm
     
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  5. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Sounds like a teachable procedure. So tell me how one goes about separating truth from falsehood and reasonable from unreasonable beliefs. I expect clearcut steps and an instructable procedure that I can learn and follow and that is reliable everytime I use it. Show me how truth is distinguishable from falsehood, if indeed this is nothing more than a methodological issue.
     
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  7. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    But you did accept certain things over others. You were subjectively biased from the very beginning, believing in the authority of your teachers over your own doubts. Is that what critical thinking is? Accepting authority over one's own rational skepticism?
     
  8. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    Suppose you need to write a program and also need to prove that it will run correctly. What kind of logic will you need, how will you apply it and how will you be able to distinguish when some part of the code is correct and when it isn't?

    This isn't a theoretical exercise, there are things called critical systems (slightly different meaning of the word though), which need to run without error.
     
  9. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    Well, I recall approaching those teachers and asking them things, usually about whether I understood some idea or other. That is, I was critically appraising my understanding, but that meant to some extent accepting that a teacher had a correct understanding. It didn't seem to be about authority though. Authority is when you are told to accept something without thinking about it, isn't it?
     
  10. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    You should be able to define critical thinking if it actually exists. That's a given. Tell me how to critically think.
     
  11. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Authority means when you stop questioning and just accept something on faith because of the authority of the teacher. At least that's my experience of it.
     
  12. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    And you should be able to show that critical thinking doesn't exist if it doesn't.

    But I think, you actually have no idea what it is. Hence, you have in your own way shown that it doesn't, for you.
     
  13. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    So critical thinking exists, but you can't define it for me? Thanks for your participation in this thread.
     
  14. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Aaaaand you miss the critical thinking part.

    Whether the assertion is acceptable is not even on the table yet.

    The counter argument makes a basic logical flaw. It can't even begin to refute the assertion because it hasn't even understood the assertion. The counter is a non sequitur. (technically, a straw man. It argues something the asserter never said)

    See the '3 is a number' example with the same flaw.
    The counter: '3 and numbers are not the same thing' is born of ignorance about the assertion. The asserter never claimed 3 and numbers are "the same thing". That flawed conclusion comes from a lack of critical thinking




    This, by the way is another example of flawed critical thinking: I'm showing a hypothetical example of a logical argument (3 is a number), and you are not following why the counter argument is flawed.
     
  15. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    In his defense, he did admit that. No points for calling it.
     
  16. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    No..you are not showing a logical argument at all. You are making up shit that doesn't even remotely match the facts of the case. If you are going for a reductio absurdum you should at least present a theory that is plausible. But you never did that at all. No pixies were witnessed in connection to the Delphos ring.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2017
  17. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Look at the example of '3 is a number'.
    Do you agree that that statement is not synonymous with '3 and numbers are the same thing.'
    You see that flaw, yes?
     
  18. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    I have no idea whether 3 and a number aren't the same thing. You are claiming it, but I don't accept it. Just like I didn't accept that a pixie and a ufo are the same thing or even a subset of the group of that thing. I don't accept that a pixie is a member of the group of ufos. Not at all.
     
  19. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

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    Magical Realist, if you are really interested in a definition for "critical thinking", these quoted definitions from Link : http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/defining-critical-thinking/766 , may sate your curiosity.

    - "Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action."

    - "Critical thinking is self-guided, self-disciplined thinking which attempts to reason at the highest level of quality in a fair-minded way. People who think critically consistently attempt to live rationally, reasonably, empathically. They are keenly aware of the inherently flawed nature of human thinking when left unchecked. They strive to diminish the power of their egocentric and sociocentric tendencies. They use the intellectual tools that critical thinking offers – concepts and principles that enable them to analyze, assess, and improve thinking. They work diligently to develop the intellectual virtues of intellectual integrity, intellectual humility, intellectual civility, intellectual empathy, intellectual sense of justice and confidence in reason. "

    - "In a seminal study on critical thinking and education in 1941, Edward Glaser defines critical thinking as follows “The ability to think critically, as conceived in this volume, involves three things: ( 1 ) an attitude of being disposed to consider in a thoughtful way the problems and subjects that come within the range of one's experiences, (2) knowledge of the methods of logical inquiry and reasoning, and (3) some skill in applying those methods. "

    - all three of the ^above^ quoted from, and much more at Link : http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/defining-critical-thinking/766

    ...maybe...
     
  20. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Thanks. That clears everything up! lol!
     
  21. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    The Scientific Method is a bit more defined. Critical thinking isn't necessarily a scientific process, just a version of intellectual rigor and honesty.
     
  22. Michael 345 Valued Senior Member

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    Arrrh no

    A pixie is a pixie

    If it's flying it's a identified pixie flying object
     
  23. Michael 345 Valued Senior Member

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    OK

    Make up your mind

    No method

    OR

    They use their reason and logic and empirical data to arrive at their own conclusions

    which would happen to be a method

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    Last edited: Feb 23, 2017

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