Critical Thinking Essay

1514 words - 7 pages

From Lecture & Handouts: 

A. Know the steps in Halpern's framework for critical thinking. Reviewed below. 

B. Know the names of the eight activities (each has an alternate term, but just need to know the main ones on the picture), and be able to match up descriptions of these activities with the correct name. SEE YOUR HANDOUT. 

C. Know the steps in the paramedic method, and be prepared to apply them to a problem sentence. Steps given below. 

Diana Halpern's (1996) Framework for Critical Thinking 

Definition: Critical thinking is the use of cognitive skills or strategies that increase the probability of a good outcome. CT is purposeful, reasoned, and goal-directed. 

Answer the ...view middle of the document...

Explain the problem to someone else to get a better grasp on it yourself. 

4. Have you reached your goal? 

Did you solve the problem you set out to solve? Check your solution against the criteria. Does it work? Are all subgoals addressed? Does you solution exhibit the qualities that your audience/customer/employer values? 

PARAMEDIC METHOD: (Adapted from Lanham, 1979) 

1. Circle the prepositions (usually found at the beginning of a phrase--to, of, in, etc.)
2. Circle all forms of the verb "to be" (is, was, seems to be, etc.) 

NOTE: steps 1 & 2 tell you whether a sentence is problematic and needs paramedic attention. 

3. Find the real action, actor, and target.
4. Express this in simple active verb. 

Steps 3 & 4 tell you how to cure the problem of wordy, clumsy train-wreck sentences, turning them into clear, concise, lively prose. 

5. Start fast--no mindless introductions; and end crisply--no mindless conclusions. 

Step 5 is a reminder to check beginnings and endings to be sure the sentences have real CONTENT, and aren't just meaningless collections of words. 

Tools of Critical Thinking 

This part of the study guide identifies key points you should know from each chapter of CRITICAL THINKING. You should be able to recognize examples of different errors and fallacies, and also to generate your own examples, if called for. In other words, you need to go beyond memorizing a definition to understand what it means. 

Chapter 1: The Evaluative Bias of Language 

Our use of a term serves to describe and prescribe what is desirable or undesirable to us. Because of the evaluative bias of language, we must become aware of our own personal values and to communicate these values as fairly as possible. 

Chapter 2: The reification error 

Reification error: treating abstract concepts as if they were concrete objects.
Theory: a proposed explanation of observed phenomena. 

Event theory: provides explanations that may be measurable
Construct theory: provides explanations not directly measurable 

Chapter 3: Multiple levels of description 

Any given event can be described at different levels of analysis. Psychological and physical events are linked. However, it does not follow that biological correlates of psychological events cause these events, or vice versa. 

Chapter 4: The nominal fallacy and tautologous reasoning 

Nominal fallacy: when we assume that we have explained a phenomenon because we have labeled it. 

Tautological reasoning: circular reasoning 

Chapter 5: Differentiating dichotomous variables and continuous variables: 

Dichotomous variables: phenomena that may be divided into two mutually exclusive categories. 

Continuous variables: phenomena that consist of a theoretically infinite number of points lying between two ends of a continuum. 

We have a tendency to dichotomize continuous variables. 

Theoretical and Clinical Applications:
Neo-Freudian application - splitting
Cognitive application...

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