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Asking the Right Questions

Chapter 1
UI100 62 & 78
Asking the Right Questions
 We are constantly bombarded with
– What do you do with it?
– How do you process it?
Asking the Right Questions
 If you hear
something on the
news or read
something in a
magazine, do you
– always believe it?
– think about it
– never believe
anything you hear
on the news?
Asking the Right Questions
 What can help
us to make
Asking the Right Questions
 Critical Thinking:
– Consists of an awareness of a set of
interrelated critical questions, plus the
ability and willingness to ask and answer
them at appropriate times
Asking the Right Questions
 Two different thinking styles
– Sponge Approach
 Most commonly used thinking style
 Encourages “absorbing” as much
information as you are able
 Does not require strenuous mental effort

 Provides no method for deciding which

information to believe and which to reject
Asking the Right Questions
– Panning-for-Gold Approach
 Requires you to ask frequent questions
 Reflect on the answers

 Requires active participation

 Requires a question-asking attitude

Asking the Right Questions
 Turnto page 4 in your textbook
 We will read the gun-control
Asking the Right Questions
 If you apply the sponge approach,
what would you learn?
 If you apply the panning-for-gold
approach, what would you learn?
– What does author mean by
“overwhelming majority” or by “typical
– Were statistics provided accurate?
Asking the Right Questions
– What possible benefits of gun control
are not mentioned?
– Have important studies that disagree
with the author’s position been omitted?
– Is it legitimate to assume that because
some famous people own guns, then
owning guns is desirable?
– How many people are killed each year
by handguns who would not have been
killed were such guns not available?
Asking the Right Questions
 Meet the Press video clip
Asking the Right Questions
 The “Right Answer”
– With human behavior is there always a
right answer?
– Do you think that a right answer for me
may be a right answer for you?
– Why?
– Why not?
Asking the Right Questions
 Mostof you already have opinions
about personal and social issues.
– Abortion
– Gun control
– Welfare
 Youbring these initial opinions with
you to what you hear and read
Asking the Right Questions
 Youneed to use your critical
thinking skills to
– defend or
– evaluate and revise your initial beliefs
Asking the Right Questions
 Weak-sense critical thinking:
– When you approach critical thinking as a
method for defending your initial beliefs.
– You use weak-sense critical thinking if
you are unconcerned with moving toward
truth or virtue.
Asking the Right Questions
 Strong-sense critical thinking:
– Requires us to apply the critical questions
to all claims, including our own.
– Does not force you to give up initial beliefs.
– Can provide a basis for strengthening those
Asking the Right Questions
 The skills you will learn as a critical
thinking will greatly improve your
writing and speaking.
 Critical thinking will enhance your
understanding of other people’s
 You must practice these skills!!
Asking the Right Questions
“Skill depends on practice, for it is
only with practice that one
becomes good at anything”
~Eleanor Roosevelt