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> Critical Thinker Habitually Pulls Back the Curtain
coberst
post Jun 08, 2008, 12:16 PM
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Critical Thinker Habitually Pulls Back the Curtain

I guess, for all of us, a meme that gives impetuous to much of our behavior is the “capitalism is good” meme. This meme, with its closest suburbs, probably represents a fundamental element of the dominant ideology of western culture.

This cluster of memes contains the wonderful “doing good by doing well” meme. This is the rascal that allows us to follow our imperialistic impulses. This meme allows us to invade Iraq under false pretenses, it allows us to open our borders to those who will work cheap, it allows for the “trickle down” economic theory, it allowed the Nineteenth Century imperialism practiced by our European cousins, etc.

Most of the memes we live by have never been examined by any of us. I suspect this one, in particular, needs to be placed on the table for close individual examination.

We saw the Nineteenth Century birth of a new economic entity, the corporation. A recent delivery of a new economic entity has occurred. This is the corporation-state. The new supranational corporation is here and on a fast freight. I suspect all these things happened too fast for a liberal democracy to encompass; so much for liberal democracy.

CT is about analyzing and understanding.

One thing I have learned about playing chess is that for almost every move there is a bad judgment a good judgment and a better judgment. And I also learned that one pays a price for each bad judgment.

In life we are constantly making judgments. There is an art and science for judgment making and it is called Critical Thinking. Our schools and colleges have prepared us to make good judgments about special matters as it might pertain to our job but have done little to prepare us for the constant judgment making. CT is about learning how to think.


Perhaps philosophy should be an advocate of “lets take a meme out for examination” day.

“Weaken the nation state and you weaken liberal democracy.”

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coberst
post Jun 09, 2008, 12:52 AM
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Critical Thinking: Art and science of good judgment /

The first step toward solving our problems is to learn CT (Critical Thinking).

CT is an acronym for Critical Thinking. Everybody considers themselves to be a critical thinker. That is why we need to differentiate among different levels of critical thinking.

Most people fall in the category that I call Reagan thinkers—trust but verify. Then there are those who have taken the basic college course taught by the philosophy dept that I call Logic 101. This is a credit course that teaches the basic principles of reasoning. Of course, a person need not take the college course and can learn the matter on their own effort, but I suspect few do that.

The third level I call CT (Critical Thinking). CT includes the knowledge of Logic 101 and also the knowledge that focuses upon the intellectual character and attitude of critical thinking. It includes knowledge regarding the ego and social centric forces that impede rational thinking.

Most decisions we have to make are judgment calls. A judgment call is made when we must make a decision when there is no “true” or “false” answers. When we make a judgment call our decision is bad, good, or better.

Many factors are involved: there are the available facts, assumptions, skills, knowledge, and especially personal experience and attitude. I think that the two most important elements in the mix are personal experience and attitude.

When we study math we learn how to use various algorithms to facilitate our skill in dealing with quantities. If we never studied math we could deal with quantity on a primary level but our quantifying ability would be minimal. Likewise with making judgments; if we study the art and science of good judgment we can make better decisions and if we never study the art and science of judgment our decision ability will remain minimal.

I am convinced that a fundamental problem we have in this country (USA) is that our citizens have never learned the art and science of good judgment. Before the recent introduction of CT into our schools and colleges our young people have been taught primarily what to think and not how to think. All of us graduated with insufficient comprehension of the knowledge, skills, and attitude necessary for the formulation of good judgment. The result of this inability to make good judgment is evident and is dangerous.

I am primarily interested in the judgment that adults exercise in regard to public issues. Of course, any improvement in judgment generally will affect both personal and community matters.

To put the matter into a nut shell:
1. Normal men and women can significantly improve their ability to make judgments.
2. CT is the domain of knowledge that delineates the knowledge, skills, and intellectual character demanded for good judgment.
3. CT has been introduced into our schools and colleges slowly in the last two or three decades.
4. Few of today’s adults were ever taught CT.
5. I suspect that at least another two generations will pass before our society reaps significant rewards resulting from teaching CT to our children.
6. Can our democracy survive that long?
7. I think that every effort must be made to convince today’s adults that they need to study and learn CT on their own. I am not suggesting that adults find a teacher but I am suggesting that adults become self-actualizing learners.
8. I am convinced that learning the art and science of Critical Thinking is an important step toward becoming a better citizen in today’s democratic society.

Questions for discussion//

Have you ever had a course in Critical Thinking in any educational institution?

Have your children ever had a course in Critical Thinking in any educational institution?




Perhaps you are not familiar with CT. I first encountered the concept about five years ago. The following are a few Internet sites that will familiarize you with the matter.

http://www.freeinquiry.com/critical-notes.html

http://64.233.161.104/search?q=cache:mkodB...s&ct=clnk&cd=11

http://www.chss.montclair.edu/inquiry/fall95/weinste.html

http://www.criticalthinking.org/resources/.../glossary.shtml

http://www.doit.gmu.edu/inventio/past/disp...ng03&sID=eslava
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