Reading and Writing Critically The Art and Science of Critical Thinking

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Slide 2 Reading and Writing Critically The Art and Science of Critical Thinking Slide 3 Martha J. Bianco, Ph.D. Previewing Text Can Help You Plan to Read Efficiently How much material do I have to read? How much material do I have to read? Can I divide the material into manageable chunks per day (e.g., 10 pages/day)? Can I divide the material into manageable chunks per day (e.g., 10 pages/day)? Are there titles and subtitles I can skim? Are there titles and subtitles I can skim? What do the introduction and conclusion say? What do the introduction and conclusion say? Slide 4 Martha J. Bianco, Ph.D. Previewing Text Can Improve Critical Reading Am I already familiar with the material? Am I already familiar with the material? Do I have biases one way or another? Do I have biases one way or another? Is there a useful bibliography, and should I follow up? Is there a useful bibliography, and should I follow up? Slide 5 Martha J. Bianco, Ph.D. Distinguish Between Fact and Opinion Slide 6 Martha J. Bianco, Ph.D. FACT Reliable piece of information Reliable piece of information Reliability = provable & unbiased Can be tested or proved Can be tested or proved Verifiable through independent sources Slide 7 Martha J. Bianco, Ph.D. OPINION Assertions or inferences Assertions or inferences May or may not be based on facts May or may not be based on facts Can be challenged Can be challenged Slide 8 Martha J. Bianco, Ph.D. Distinguish Between Absolute and Moderate Claims Absolute University Studies courses are a complete waste of time. University Studies courses are a complete waste of time. Moderate Some University Studies courses are not very challenging. Its impossible to get an A from Dr. White. Its impossible to get an A from Dr. White. Dr. White gives very few As. Dr. White gives very few As. Slide 9 Martha J. Bianco, Ph.D. Inductive vs. Deductive Reasoning Inductive Moves from small to BIG. Moves from small to BIG. Goes from facts to generalizations. Goes from facts to generalizations. Deductive Moves from BIG to small. Applies generalizations to specific situations. Slide 10 Martha J. Bianco, Ph.D. Inductive Reasoning Uses Scientific Method Hypothesize Hypothesize Gather Data Gather Data Must be researchable Must be sufficient, unbiased & representative Analyze Data Analyze Data Draw Conclusions Draw Conclusions Method must be appropriate Method must be appropriate Must avoid logical fallacies Must avoid logical fallacies Slide 11 Martha J. Bianco, Ph.D. Biggest Dangers: Relying on anecdotes or small case- study evidence Relying on anecdotes or small case- study evidence The inductive leap The inductive leap sweeping generalizations Slide 12 Martha J. Bianco, Ph.D. Deductive Reasoning Relies on Syllogisms MAIN PREMISE (Generalization): All PSU undergrads must take a Freshman Inquiry course. MINOR PREMISE: Robert Glenn is a PSU undergrad. CONCLUSION: Therefore, Robert Glenn must take Freshman Inquiry. Slide 13 Martha J. Bianco, Ph.D. Biggest Dangers: The premises must be true: Not all PSU undergrads must take Freshman Inquiry. The premises must be true: Not all PSU undergrads must take Freshman Inquiry. The syllogism must be valid (logical): The syllogism must be valid (logical): All horses are animals A dog is an animal. Therefore, a dog is a horse. Slide 14 Martha J. Bianco, Ph.D. Qualifiers Help Moderate Syllogisms Slide 15 Avoid Logical Fallacies Faulty Premises, Misuse of Data, Distortion of Evidence Slide 16 Ad hominem Personal attack, with negative values, unrelated to thesis. George W. Bush is a bully, waging war at all costs. Slide 17 Appeal to Tradition Relying on tradition as an explanation. Marriage has always been between a man and a woman. Slide 18 Bandwagon Argument Justifying an argument because everyone thinks or acts that way. Everyone knows that 90 percent of Americans believe in God and in prayer. Slide 19 Begging the Question Assuming what needs to be proved or answered before action is taken. Campus search engines should be filtered to stop students viewing of porn and other unacceptable content. Slide 20 Equivocation Explaining or describing a word by using the same word. Understanding communities is complicated because communities are complicated. Slide 21 False Analogy Assuming that two things that are similar in one way are similar in other ways. Homosexuals should not be given the same rights as pedophiles. Slide 22 False Authority Assuming that someone who is an expert in one field is an authority in other fields. My childrens pediatrician doesnt think that Jane Doe was truly brain dead. Slide 23 False Cause post hoc, ergo propter hoc Arguing that because one event follows another or because the two events are correlated, the first caused the second. As the number of new immigrants to Portland has increased, so has the percentage of people on welfare. Slide 24 False Dilemma the either/or fallacy Insisting that there are just two possible solutions or alternatives, when in fact there may be many. Either we allow mothers to bring their preschoolers to class or we dont allow them to take classes until their kids reach school age. Slide 25 Guilt by Association Unfairly criticizing or accusing someone because of the beliefs or actions of others. The new mayor must be gay, because I saw him and his two assistants at a lesbian bookstore. Slide 26 Hasty / Sweeping Generalizations Leaping to Conclusions Generalizing or inferring to a larger population based on a personal anecdote or very little or biased evidence. Shes Italian, so you know she must love garlic! Slide 27 Oversimplification An argument that provides a very simple explanation or solution for a very complex problem or issue. We can solve the health care crisis by encouraging private medical savings accounts. Slide 28 Dodging the Issue Ignoring the Question / Red Herring Diverting attention away from the real problem or question by focusing on something unrelated. We should be celebrating free, democratic elections in Iraq rather than quibbling over who had what weapons where. Slide 29 The Slippery Slope Argument Arguing that doing one thing will just lead to a cascade of other events. If we allow gays to marry, should we also allow grown men to marry underage girls, or brothers to wed their sisters?