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OT- How To Think, Question, Argue, and Conclude

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  • OT- How To Think, Question, Argue, and Conclude

    Ok, pet peeve time. My wife taking her degree later in life, just raved about a class she took in critical thinking skills. "THIS IS WHAT KIDS SHOULD LEARN AT AN EARLIER AGE!!" and so on. I totally agreed. FWIW the text the class used was "Becoming A Critical Thinker - A Master Student Text" by Ruggiero. It's a bit on the dry and obvious side, but certainly fine as a textbook. There are tons of similar books out there running the full range of quality.

    We live in a most irrational time. No need to go into detail, everyone knows this. My point in this thread is to ask people to give simple rules or sayings or quotes about "how to think well" that are applicable to everyone with half a brain. Short would be good, but not necessary if the point is worth the length.

    Things like "never think you know something about a subject from having read just one book."

    NOT things like "don't be a liberal" or "ditch your religion". (yes, someone I'm sure will immediately post one or both of these and think themselves clever and amusing)

    Things like "truth is discovered, not created."

    NOT things like "the ruling class is incapable of any thinking that is not biased towards their self-interests."

    In other words, basic thinking rules for all with no ad hominem element.

    I'll start with an example from the book cited above:

    "No matter which side of an argument you're on, you always find some people on your side that you wish were on the other side" - Jascha Heifetz

    In my other words - don't avoid taking a particular position just because people will lump you in with "them".

    nat whilk ii





  • #2
    This isn't quite what you are looking for, but I just wanted to throw out there that in junior high, when we were being taught debate, we had to take both sides of the argument, trying to win from one side one day, the other side the next. I thought this was a useful, powerful exercise.
    Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

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    • #3
      Originally posted by UstadKhanAli View Post
      This isn't quite what you are looking for, but I just wanted to throw out there that in junior high, when we were being taught debate, we had to take both sides of the argument, trying to win from one side one day, the other side the next. I thought this was a useful, powerful exercise.
      Perfectly valid to me.

      It's amazing how many things all of us believe just because we "read it somewhere" or "heard it on some show" or because everyone in our milleau seems to accept it as common knowledge, or we've believed it so long, it's just part of the mental furniture.

      Turning those things into assertions and then arguing for the opposite view can really shake up one's heretofore unquestioned worldview.

      nat whilk ii

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      • #4
        It's important that, especially with so much information bombarding the typical person now, we learn to investigate, put a little thought into something, use critical thinking, and think about whether something actually seems likely to have been done or not. And also, not just to read to validate our opinion.

        This last part is critical. So many people want affirmation, not information. And that's not a powerful way to gain knowledge or wisdom.
        Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

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        • #5
          This book had a huge impact on me. Read it - you will spot phonies instantly. You will likely never lose an argument -- even with a loved one.You'll likely never be able to sit through a political argument TV show. Those arguments are almost all tu quoque ​or ad hominem.

          It's the opposite of Dale Carnegie. The reader who finishes this book will likely lose friends and alienate people. But he or she will likely never lose a debate either. It's a quick and easy read.

          Free in .pdf

          Straight and Crooked Thinking by Robert Thouless

          Re-published for Kindle.
          Last edited by Etienne Rambert; 08-13-2016, 05:38 AM.
          He has escaped! Youtube , ​Murika , France

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          • #6
            In my opinion one of the major issues underlying conflict of many kinds is an inability and/or unwillingness to look at an issue from the other side's perspective. Like what Ken said. I think it's more constructive overall to consider how things affect everyone than how they affect only yourself. Unfortunately thinking about others is in short supply. Ever had your day ruined by one rude person who was in your life for five seconds? And whose day did you ruin after that because you were pissed off about what happened to you?

            Another thing I think is important is to not have the attitude that there is only ONE way to do a thing, to live your life, etc. In that vein, even the phrase "how to think" is problematic. I don't think there's a single way to think.

            Tied to that is the way that sociological effects influence us. People from different backgrounds think differently, at the very foundation of HOW they think. It's important to realize that I think. And I don't just mean different cultures or nationalities; people from different economic groups within the same culture think differently.

            Originally posted by Etienne Rambert View Post
            You will likely never lose an argument -- even with a loved one.
            So do you think winning is the goal in an argument?
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            • #7
              This is probably not what you're looking for, but here goes:
              Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.

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              • AlamoJoe
                AlamoJoe commented
                Editing a comment
                That's the funniest thing I've read all week.

            • #8
              "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it, not even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense"--attributed to the Buddha

              "You cannot explain everything to everyone"-Pythagoras

              I'm also a fan of the Law of Parsimony (paraphrased) "The simplest explanation, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, is usually the best"-William of Occam
              Last edited by rjt; 08-22-2016, 09:52 AM.

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              • #9
                Originally posted by rjt View Post
                "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it, not even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense"--attributed to the Buddha

                Interesting quote. My own thinking on this is that I also should not believe something simply because it agrees with my own reason and my own common sense. Although my reason and common sense certainly have a sort of veto power and must be satisfied in order for me to have intellectual integrity, my own mind, alone, is an insufficient final authority in matters of truth.

                The scientific community carries on the old tradition started by religion that truths are best discovered, collected, and refined, in a communal fashion, as the activity of many minds bent on some subject over a considerable time. Romantics and hard-core individualists and such have a hard time with the communal thing - and the communal "mind" can resort to coercion and blind belief in authority, certainly. As can any individual. But in the long run, any individual truth has to be subject to the communal judgement - it's the only way we can be saved from the distortions of the naturally narrow and limited minds of individuals, however brilliant in the context of their time and in comparison with their peers.

                To balance this, it does seem that there are rare occasions when the individual, standing up for some truth against the community, does the heroic thing. But the irony is that it will still be the judgement of the community over time that cultivates the list of heroes, putting individuals on and off the list, sorting and assessing their ultimate value in the cause of truth. So the community still has the last word.

                But that's only what I think

                nat whilk ii


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                • #10
                  Nat. Certainly a valid point of view..... I know a goodly number of people who are overly attached to their opinions in the face of evidence etc. I like to delude myself that part of my reason and common sense is that there are shades of grey I don't understand in every topic I come across. Furthermore it is likely that almost all arguments/topics/ideas have (at least a modicum of) reasoning and common sense on the other side too. Hopefully that "common sense" on my part makes me more open and allows me to integrate new or conflicting ideas within the framework of my "common sense." While I certainly value my opinions (overvalue them?) I (ahem, cough, cough, snort) have been wrong in the past! (and likely the future as well)
                  Last edited by rjt; 08-23-2016, 08:46 AM.

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                  • #11
                    " If you have to ask yourself, you already know the answer "
                    "Goodnight, Austin Tx., Wherever you are... The last thing uttered by Mr. Frank Zappa the night I watched him put a building where I personally grew up and witnessed in that building , was , at Willie and friends urging The Rednecks that were paddling our bottoms accepted the country hall/ Fillmore Hippies and peace was struck, and good natured fun was had....

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