Essay Summary of Critical Thinking

1. Analyze yourself based on the nine positive intellectual traits found in your textbook. Which of these do you possess? Which could you improve upon? Defend your answers for each of the traits. The nine positive traits as discussed in the book, Critical Thinking, 2nd edition written by Richard Paul and Linda Elder, are the interconnected characteristic that according to the authors are somehow common to all individuals.
These character traits serves as a reflection of oneself, since it is through these traits that one’s thinking capacity and methodology could be judge by other people. The first of the nine traits is integrity which is treating others in the same way that one would like or would probably treat oneself. In doing this, a person who has integrity admits his own mistakes and weaknesses. This person would not have special treatments for himself or for other people. In short, the person shall look at people in the same level, equally.
The second trait would be humility; it involves knowing one’s boundaries and limitations. It is being able to asses and admits that one does not posses all knowledge, thus the person would be willing to learn from other people. The third trait concerns inhibiting a “sense of justice” which according to the authors, could easily be determined through an impartial assessment of the different ideas, suggestions and on judgment; that is, removing personal emotions and interest in assessing the issue or the situation at hand.

The fourth concerns perseverance which is a trait that could be determined by the willingness to battle with the different intellectual difficulties, determining the right answer to controversies and confusion. The fifth trait is fair-mindedness, which involves having the capacity to interpret the different views with recognition that there could be other ideas that could oppose or in contradictory to the one which the person has. The sixth is about having confidence in reason.
This could be seen in a person who advocates his/her organizational interest through a personal conviction to the rationality of the organizations values, position and belief through an encouragement of rational discussion and discourse that would best serve the organizations interest. Courage is the seventh trait which is about having enough guts to challenge fallacious or illogical statements even if it is not a common belief. The eight is by understanding others ideas by putting oneself in that person’s shoe.
In short it is what the authors called as a display of intellectual empathy, where the person would have to consider the perception or belief of another person using the same sets of assumptions that that person used. Finally is the concept of intellectual autonomy which is basically a form of control over one’s own ideas and beliefs. Honestly, I personally consider myself to posses all of the intellectual traits that were mentioned above.
However, I do believe that I tend to put a higher importance to integrity, perseverance, courage, empathy and confidence in reason, more than I do with, humility, sense of justice, fair mindedness and autonomy. I believe that I personally posses integrity as a personal intellectual trait since I do not see my self to have a higher level of knowledge and opinion than those people that surrounds me, I posses perseverance in the sense that I have been trying my best to find out the truth behind the different information and possible action that I received.
For this reason, I also believe that I have enough courage to acknowledge if ever the belief or perspective that I am holding would be dismissed as fallacious or wrong. I also posses empathy in the sense that I am willing to take into account the different ideas that other people have despite the fact that these ideas may contradict or overthrow my personal values and beliefs. Lastly, I posses confidence in reason, I believe that even those people who have seemingly silly views could actually lead to a more justified and rightful action.
Such person would not have thought about certain ideas if such person does not hold enough evidence that could justify his claims, I posses humility in the sense that I admit that I do not know everything but this goes with the idea that everyone is not perfect enough to know all things. I posses a sense of justice, in that I do not mix reason and emotion in a rational conversation however, it would be hard to deny that I have made decisions which are highly emotional and/or personal.
I posses fair-mindedness, since I often not take things with bias, nevertheless, the action that I would act out would certainly hold some sort of bias, nonetheless, those biases are not absolutely my own. Lastly, I posses autonomy since I have the capability to look at things in such a way that I know that I understand how such things or issues shall be looked at or treated. However, there are certain times where people could not question everything out loud. 2. Briefly discuss how you see your current level of thinking. How skilled do you feel your thinking is right now?
Give recent examples in your own life where you have used first-order and second-order thinking. Personally I believe that I am currently in the third level of thinking. It is part of my career to be in a position that helps me realize that there are things which are not really accurate or that consist of certain discrepancies. At the current moment, I feel that my thinking skills are not yet fully developed since there are instances where I find my self still confused of the different possibilities and actualities that had happened is happening and might possibly be happening.
A recent example where I have used a first-order and second-order thinking was when I believe that in order to learn to shoot the sniper right, I just have to look through the scope and fire. Although I have heard of several considerations that need to be made, such as distance, air etc. I do not care so much since every time I use a sniper I am able to shoot the target accurately. Nevertheless when I have experienced training in a real field with a target that is almost 2 to 4 miles away, I have realized that my former assumptions were wrong.
This experience have thought me that I should not always rely to my ability but I should also check why my ability have not failed me before and why it have failed me in another situation. 3. List and define the nine intellectual standards discussed in Chapter 5. Give an example of each from your own life. The nine intellectual standards that were discussed in chapter 5 are clarity, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, significance, logical and fairness.
With regards to clarity, I have asked before our deployment here in Iraq about what can soldiers, like my self do in able to save Iraq, it seems that there are a great number of people who do not want our help anyway? I have checked for accuracy when I was told that there are weapons of mass destruction that are produced and reproduced in Iraq. When I received the order that I would be among those who would be deployed in Iraq, I’ve asked some of my friends, if they know where exactly in Iraq, we will be deployed. I have heard of comments from different people regarding the irrelevance of U. S. troops being deployed here in Iraq.
The complexity of the issue might be represented through the engagement of the United States to the war that happened here in Iraq. In breadth, it could be the case that the government only wants to take over Iraq or the government genuinely wants to help the country. A logical consideration that I have made in the past includes being able to justify the actions that are being made by the government based on the utilitarian principle, while most people se things in a pure black and white or either a conservative and liberalist view. I always look at things based on its premises before dealing with the conclusions that it has produced.
I employ significance as an intellectual standard since I often look whether an issue is worth of critical consideration or might as well be a bluff or just a theory that has no formal basis. If it has some significant effect on the society or the community, that’s the only time that I would deal with the issue more seriously. Lastly, the fairness as a standard enters my intellectual thinking skills, when I ask people about what they think about my suggestions. I do not just impose the things that I know to other people, instead I tried my best to learn and improve the information that I already posses.
This could reflect upon my experience in my high school years where I was tasked to become a leader of our group concerning a presentation. Then and there I have imposed fairness in thinking since I ask each and everyone regarding how they think shall the project start. I always consult them regarding matters that concerns our project and I have not take things on my own hands; in other words, I did not manipulate or control the situation. 4. Provide personal examples of the differences between taking in information, inferences, and assumptions. Provide two examples of each from your past experience.
An example of taking information is just seeing the objects per se, without giving any further meaning but just knowing that the action or the object really exist. An inference on the other hand is an action made by the mind that from previous experiences concludes that there are certain actions that could be true in the presence of something that is true. While an assumption is a part of our values or the beliefs that we held, thus, it was commonly presupposed or thought to happen or to exist if there is something else that has a connection to it is present.
An example of this in my past experience includes seeing something that is like a long shinny cord that is moving slowly at the door of our tent. Since when I was little I was exposed to the different animals such as snakes and cobras and knowing that I am in a desert, I concluded that it could be a rattle snake or a sidewinder that have caught itself onto something. This is under the assumption that the snakes that live on desert are rattle snakes and sidewinder snakes and the cord is a snake since it was shaped like a snake.
Nevertheless, I when I opened the light it was just a piece of shinny clothing that was being carried by the wind. Another example is back when I was walking with my mother on the busy Christmas streets in downtown when there was a man who stands like my father, and has a long brown overcoat like my father with a black cap. I run towards the man hugging him from the back. My mother called me and asks for an apology to the man, in my disappointed, the man was in fact not my father. 5. There are eight elements of reasoning always present in human thinking. Give an example of each as it pertains to your normal daily activities.
Begin with a discussion of your `typical day` and then include each of the eight elements and how they play into your own experience. The eight elements of reasoning are purpose, point of view, assumptions, implications and consequences, data, facts and experiences, concepts and theories and finally answering the question or solving the matter at hand. In my typical day, I woke up with a purpose of acknowledging that there are training routines. In my point of view this is how a soldier should start his day right in able to refresh his system and as a means of exercise and for additional knowledge.
This is then based on the assumption that if I stop training for even one morning without any significant reason, my body would find it hard to bring back to my normal routine. If this would be the case, I would not be able to perform well in serving my duties to my country and my family. In reasoning I have learned all the above possibility through the different facts and experiences in my life that have thought me honor, self-righteousness and personal discipline as guiding principles. From these, I gather how I create judgment on the people whom I come across with.
For instance if the man is cheating on his training, I would most likely to believe that the person does not have enough honor in himself and has a poor personal discipline. These are then based on the concepts and theories that are concerned with the connections between the experiences, facts and data. Lastly, I would know if indeed the person has personal discipline or is just sick as of the moment through personal inquiry. The previous facts that I have gathered plus the assumptions and judgments that I have made would later result or could later be used to resolve the conflict that is present or could possibly arise.
6. What does `Questioning the Depth of your Question` mean? List and define the three types of questions. Give three examples of each. Questioning the depth of one’s question implies that the questions that we used to gather information from other people mostly tell something about our purpose of asking those questions. As, things almost always have basis and purpose. The three categories of questions are: questions of fact, questions of preference and finally questions of judgment. Questions of fact are those that ask for something, an object or a reason in a certain situation.
A question of preference is to know or to want to know some subjective preferences. Lastly, questions of judgment are something that requires so much evidence and reasoning that involves overlapping systems. While questions of facts are objective and could be answered, questions of preference were so subjective, thus it is hard to asses. Questions of judgment were offers value judgments such as right and wrong, good or bad. Examples of questions of fact involve, what is the color of the light? How does the hydrothermal power plant works? What is the I. D. number? Questions of preference are Is this beautiful?
Does it taste good? Should I pick red or green? Questions of judgment are those that are more likely ethical ones, should the person be persecuted based on his faults? Is the person innocent? Should we stop the war? 7. Select a subject you are currently taking (or have taken), and show the links between the most basic concepts within the subject. State in your own words how each idea is linked to every other idea. Your thinking will be something like this: To understand `a`, you must understand `b`, and to understand `b`, you must understand `c`, and to understand `c`, you must understand `d`, and so on.
Elaborate on each idea as you go so that you can see the connections between them. Biology consists of ideas such as life, relationships, habitats, body systems, organs, tissue and cells. To understand the importance of biology, the instructor has made every participant to understand the value of life. The audience was asked regarding their relation at home, with their, peers and friends and to the world beyond them. The there was a mention of habitats, of why certain animals could only survive in certain regions.
The there was a study of the body systems which is mainly responsible for most reactions made by the body, which is traced back to the functions of the different tissues and finally of the cells down to its minutest components such as DNA and amino acids. 8. Discuss the differences between the logic of college as it is now and the logic of college as it should be. The logic of college as it is now is more of a spoon feeding tradition that assesses a child or a person intellectual capacity through the stuffs that could be memorized from the book.
With this in mind, the students could pass the curriculum if they are able to memorize things easily. Nevertheless, this kind of studying would most likely fail since after several days or months after the exam most of the children who are comfortable to pass their grades through memorization, find them forgetting those which they have studied before. Due to this fact the logic of college shall teach them to learn how to think in a more critical manner that shall equipped them with a thinking skill that they could be use even if they have forgotten most of the facts that their books talks about. 9.
Write out the logic of a course you are now taking or have taken in the past using the elements of reasoning. The logic of the course of psychology could easily be described as follows: Its information was derived from the current available latest edition textbooks. The purpose is to identify what are the various psychological problems that may affect a person’s judgment. The inference would be that most of the information regarding psychology could best be found in the most recent published books and journals. The key question is what would are the different aspects that might affect one’s behavior, judgment.
Intellect, or in short what are the aspects that helps shape the person. The assumption is that there are certain behavioral patterns or other sociological patterns that affects the different characteristic of a person. The essential concepts that could be use in psychology are the different studies made in the past and in the current generation regarding behavior, intellect and the social aspects that affects human beings. The implication and consequences of psychology is a fuller understanding of the process and influences that affects the behavior and the learning abilities of a certain person.
In a point of view, a psychological study could open up different perspective and explanation regarding things that are commonly taken as natural by many others. 10. Transform one of the text`s model descriptions (pages 157-167) into a set of questions you can use to assess the quality with which you are learning the logic of your major. Samples might include: a. Am I gaining command over a range of thinking skills and abilities that I use to acquire knowledge? b. Is my work clear, precise and well-reasoned? c. Am I gaining command of the key terms?
d. To what extent have I developed the ability to identify and solve fundamental problems? In answering these questions, state your answer, and elaborate upon it and provide an example to demonstrate your point. With regards to the question, am I gaining command over a range of thinking skills and abilities that I use to acquire knowledge, I would have to answer yes. Since for a period of time, and through the different lessons that was discussed in the course, I have somehow anticipated a command over how I think and why I am thinking of such things.
Like the reason for my thinking that when there are people dressed in a weird way and is bulgy, I suspect that the person has a gun or a bomb in his body. This kind of thinking would not be the same if I am not a soldier. And since sometimes, this kind of thinking becomes prejudicial rather than a simple precautionary as I should have intended, it would nevertheless stays that way for the most part since I am in a situation where there is chaos and constant threat despite periods of peace. However to acquire additional knowledge, I have learned to look at this people more keenly and not to judge them at once.
Regarding my reasoning and my work, I believe that it is clear since I often try my best to clarify vague things for my self and for the receiver of the message to avoid any point of misunderstanding that is never tolerable in my current situation. I create my work in a precise manner and only include what are the things that are needed and it is well-reasoned or supported by arguments and facts. In gaining command of the key terms, I believe that most of the key terms that I have defined are mostly from the books.
Nevertheless, I tried my best to define them according to my own perspective and my personal use of the work parallel to how it was usually defined in the books in able to have a general agreement regarding definitions and terminologies. I have developed my skills in identifying problems and solving them through the process of critical thinking. By seeing things and weighing the different data, facts and experiences in a critical and a logical manner, I have been able to identify that certain problems could actually lie on the inferences that where made and not on the actual information.
Since inferences are usually subjective from one person to another, it would be better for any one to look at what the actual information first before jumping into conclusions upon basing judgment on inferences and using unjustified assumptions. References Paul, R. and Elder, L. (2006). Critical Thinking. 2nd ed. Person Prentice Hall. Richardson, B. (2006). Theme of the Month: The Tyranny of the “Fifth Constraint”: Taking Your Thinking Off Autopilot . allPM. com. Retrieved on November 24, 2007. Retrieved from the World Wide Web: http://allpm. com/modules. php? op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=1580&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0.

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