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Published by: Ping Zhang on Jan 18, 2011
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PHIL1005 Critical thinking and logic

Kelly Inglis Office: MB 306 Office hours: by appointment Email: kellyinglis@yahoo.com

How to improve your thinking

Powerpoint courtesy of Joe Lau, with additions by Kelly

About this course: Course objectives

Study the basic principles of critical thinking  How to think clearly and rationally Examples from different areas Both theoretical & practical problems Show how the theory is applied   .

Information about the course .

WebCT   ( login through HKU portal ) Powerpoint files Other online readings .

Check .

hku.   course web site Link: http://philosophy.hk All the information you need about the course Check updates and announcements .

Assessment ± see course web site .

60% coursework + 40% final exam .

Coursework .

35% portfolio mid- . 15% mid-term. 10% tutorial.

Final .

or if you let others copy your work. T/F MC questions (about 1 hr) If you copy from others. exam Short questions. . then you will be punished. and you might be expelled from HKU.

Copying  .

About 6 meetings. Signup through through mysignup.com after next week¶s session (January 21) .Group tutorials Weekly tutorials.

Check course web site announcements. Tutorials begin in about two weeks. .



Tutors:      Tim Li Lam Ka Ho Irwin Chan Derek Lam Me (Kelly) .

What is critical thinking? .

What is critical thinking? = Clear & rational thinking .

Meaning .

Logic .

consistency) reasoning (e.g. use data to test hypothesis) . definitions) (e.g. Scientific analysis (e. deduction.g.

Strategic thinking (e.g. making rational decisions) .

Why study critical thinking? .

Critical thinking has two primary uses: 1) Finding out the truth 2) Persuading others to believe what you believe is the truth Which one is more important to you might depend on whether you¶re a philosopher or a lawyer! .

Essential workplace skill .1.

Better   presentation skills Explain things more clearly and systematically Better at convincing clients and boss .

Better  at solving problems decisiondecision-making Rationality and logic increase efficiency Highly important for managers and CEOs .

Better  .

They all test your critical thinking « .

The HKSAR Civil Service .

The Common Recruitment Examination includes an aptitude test on logic and critical thinking. .

GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) .

GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) .

LSAT (Law School Admission Test) .

LNAT (National Admissions Test for Law) .

´ . Google ³Our interview process evaluates your « analytical thinking skills.

Essential life skill .2.

Making decisions     Buying stuff Evaluating claims in ads. etc. university places. choosing between rival products Deciding between jobs. apartments to rent. Making decisions about medical treatments ‡ Making sense of reports about scientific studies ‡ Evaluating the importance of world events .

Understanding the news Not being conned or manipulated .

Evaluating ³weird things´ .

How to think about weird things: Critical Thinking for the New Age´ on 1-day reserve in main library 1- .

There is always room for improvement Good training improves performance. . Thinking is no exception.3.

We are not born with all the concepts for precise thinking in the modern world. .


4. Many people are actually bad at thinking .

g. Psychologists tell us people have certain in-built biases. e.g. e. confirmation bias .g.. scope neglect. affect bias. hindsight bias. e. gamblers¶ fallacy Repeat the same mistakes in reasoning. they tend to in   OverOver-estimate their abilities Make bad decisions.

Common sense is not common! .

The Wason Card Problem Which cards do you need to turn over to determine whether or not the following hypothesis is true? Hypothesis: If a card have a vowel on one side. . it has an even number on the other side.


Avoid confirmation bias Look for evidence that can disconfirm your hypothesis. Don¶t be skeptical only of what you already doubt Be skeptical of what you believe! .

Randomness Which sequence of numbers is more likely to win the lottery? a) 123456 4 9 10 17 20 25 b) .

Cluster effect Which of these two patterns more resembles a typical random distribution of particles? .

.The clustering effect bias leads to imbuing random clusters with meaning and underestimating the role of chance. Is Town A a healthier place to live than Town B? Maybe. Imagine two towns: Town A has 5 new cases of cancer in one year. maybe not. Town B has no new cases of cancer in the same year.

Warren Buffett Famous investor & philanthropist .

. Richest person in the world in 2008.

´ . There are always going to be times when humans act irrational and this is time to make your money. I could make 50% or more a year. The key is rationality. I¶ve made a career of cashing in when people act irrational. ³with a small sum like a million dollars.

We¶re in the knowledge economy .5.

Global competition .

Fast changes everywhere .

Highly complex problems .

Information explosion .

Living a meaningful life ³The unexamined life is not worth living.´ Bertrand Russell .´ Socrates ³In all affairs it¶s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.6.

Some misconceptions about critical thinking .

A misconception .

Critical thinking is against creativity. .

. But .Critical thinking can distinguish between good and bad ideas.

´ Member of the Legislative Council of HK .Anson Chan ³Critical thinking and creativity are the engines of human progress.

Former Chief Secretary of Hong Kong .


Thinking skills Critical thinking Creativity CORRECTNESS clear & rational thinking ALTERNATIVES Generating new & useful ideas .

Another misconception .

. Critical thinking is being critical of others.

But   Critical thinking need not be confrontational. Critical thinking can be constructive. .

Yet another belief .

who are often emotional. Critical thinking ignores real people. . irrational. and manipulative.

.Being rational is not the same as talking about reasons all the time. But .

So how to improve critical thinking? .

The TAP method Learn the Theory Watch your Attitude Constant Practice    .

Theory .

Studying. reading. and reflection .

in order that it becomes natural and automatic. Develop conscious awareness of a technique. .

Attitudes (1) ± thinking style .

Independent thinking vs. follow the crowd .

³just do it´ . Acting on reasons vs.

superficial . Intellectually curious vs.

Open-minded vs. inflexible Open- .

Attitudes (2) ± emotions .

Tolerant of criticisms .

An appropriate level of confidence .

Emotions aligned with judgments .

The TAP method Learn the Theory Watch your Attitude Constant Practice    .

. practice.How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice. practice.

From research in the psychology of expertise .The 10-year rule Performance at world-class level in an activity requires continuous and deliberate practice for a period of at least ten years (10000 hours).

Talent is less important than dedication and method .

Chess. « . surgery. sports. science. music.

Even so-called ³child prodigies´ and ³geniuses´ so.


What you need .

The .

. right method Some high school athletes can now achieve mid 20C Olympic records.

Regular    practice Read good quality material Learn from role models. friends (and enemies) Apply to your daily life .

The fourfold path .

does it mean? . What Mobile phones cause brain cancer.

Is it reasonable? .

Why is it important / relevant? .

What are the alternatives? .

both dispense with the necessity of reflection.´ Jules Henri Poincare .³To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions.

hk .hku.Get this file and other information from the course web site Find the link here: http://philosophy.

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