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Chapter 1

Don’t Believe Everything


You Think!

CRT 301
Chapter Objectives
• What is Thinking and Critical Thinking?
• Barriers to Critical Thinking
• Key terms related to Critical thinking:
– Facts and Opinion
– Subjective and Objective Claims
– Biases
– Relativism
– Argument (Premises and conclusion – Briefly)
What is Thinking and Critical Thinking?
Dr. Edward de Bono divided thinking into two
categories. One, "vertical thinking," which uses
the processes of logic--the traditional, historical
method. (Thinking)
The other, "lateral thinking," which involves
disrupting an apparent thinking sequence and
arriving at the solution from another angle.”
(Critical Thinking)
Key Terms
Facts and Opinion
• A fact is a statement that is true and can be
verified or proved. Thus, a fact is true and
correct no matter what.
• An opinion is a statement that holds an
element of belief; it tells how someone feels.
An opinion is not always true and cannot be
proved.
Key Terms
• OBJECTIVE AND SUBJECTIVE CLAIMS

• An objective claim is a statement about a fact.


It can be proved true or false.
• A subjective claim, is not a factual matter; it is
an expression of belief or opinion.
Objective Claims & Facts

• An objective claim may be true or false; just


because something is objective does not
mean it is true.

– Taipei 101 is the world's tallest building.


– Five plus four equals ten.
– There are nine planets in our solar system.
Subjective Claims & Opinions

Subjective claims cannot be proved true or false.

• Trout tastes better than catfish.


• Touching a spider is scary.
• Venus Williams is the greatest athlete of this
decade.
Barriers to Critical Thinking
• Culture
• Close mindedness
• Belief system/emotional blocks
• Biases
• Claims without evidences
• Opinion without Facts
• Weak Argument (will study more in the next
chapter)
Relativism
• The belief that different things are true, right,
etc., for different people or at different times.

• The theory that value judgments about truth,


beauty, or morality, have no universal validity
but are valid only for the persons or groups
holding them.
Emotional Blocks to
Thinking
• Biggest fear: fear of being wrong: tied to perception of how
people will think of us. “What if I am wrong?” or “What if
people think I am stupid?”

• Emotional block: inability to tolerate confusion, uncertainty


and ambiguity. Periods of confusion are necessary for
breakthrough in thinking.
Biases
• Tendency to think that our side of an issue
must be the correct side.

• Act of referencing only those perspectives that


support our pre-existing views, while at the
same time ignoring or dismissing opinions —
no matter how valid — that threaten our
perception.
Examples
• If you are on a non-carb diet, you will believe
that all carbs are bad for you, even though
scientists say some carbs are necessary for a
balanced diet
Bandwagon
Effect
Bandwagon Effect: tendency to align one’s
thinking with that of other people. The
bandwagon effect is potentially a
powerful source of cognitive distortion.

e.g. Social media.


Overconfidence
Effect
Someone believes subjectively
that his or her judgment is
better or more reliable than it
objectively is. Refers to a biased
way of looking at a situation.
For example, a person who
thinks he is invaluable to his
employer will be demanding
and demanding.
For example, a student who
thinks he is smarter than he is,
will demand grades from his
instructor when he has not
shown the aptitude.
Argument

• An argument is a conclusion based upon


evidence (i.e. premises)

• An argument is defined as "...giving of


reasons, evidence, or support for the claim
that something is true."
Components of Argument
• There are 2 major components of an
argument:
1. Premises: Each reason, piece of evidence,
and each bit of data used in an argument in
support of the conclusion is called a premise.
2. Conclusion: The conclusion of an argument is
the point that the rest of the argument is
supposed to show to be correct or true.
Any Question?