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Forces that Influence Critical Thinking

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Considering the Basic Guidelines for Intellectual Standards from Critical Thinking Chapter 5, discuss the forces (people, organizations, things, etc.) that systematically influence your critical thinking and how?

Chapter 5: Brief Guidelines for Using Intellectual Standards

As we have emphasized, all reasoning involves eight elements, each of which includes
a range of possible mistakes. Here we summarize some of the main "checkpoints" that
the best thinkers use in reasoning. You should use these same checkpoints.

1. All reasoning has a purpose.
- Take time to state your purpose clearly.
- Choose significant and realistic purposes.
- Distinguish your purpose from related purposes.
- Make sure your purpose is fair in context (that it doesn't involve violating the rights of others).

2. All reasoning is an attempt to figure out something, to settle some question, solve some problem.
- Take time to state the question at issue clearly and precisely.
- Express the question in several ways to clarify its meaning and scope.
- Break the question into sub-questions (when you can).
- Identify the type of question you are dealing with (historical, economic, biological, etc.) and whether the question has one right answer, is a matter of mere opinion, or requires reasoning from more than one point of view.
- Think-through the complexities of the question (think-through the question deeply).

3. All reasoning is based on assumptions.
- Clearly identify your assumptions and determine whether they are justifiable.
- Consider how your assumptions are shaping your point of view.

4. All reasoning is done from some point of view.
- Clearly identify your point of view.
- Seek other relevant points of view and identify their strengths as well as weaknesses.
- Strive to be fair-minded in evaluating all points of view.

5. All reasoning is based on data, information, and evidence.
- Restrict your claims to those supported by the data you have.
- Search for information that opposes your position as well as information that supports it.
- Make sure that all information you use is clear; accurate, and relevant to the question at issue.
- Make sure you have gathered sufficient information.
- Make sure, especially, that you have considered all significant information relevant to the issue.

6. All reasoning is expressed through, and shaped by, concepts and ideas.
- Clearly identify key concepts.
- Consider alternative concepts or alternative definitions for concepts.
- Make sure you are using concepts with care and precision.
- Use concepts justifiably (not distorting their established meanings).

7. All reasoning contains inferences or interpretations by which we draw conclusions and give meaning to data.
- Infer only what the evidence implies.
- Check inferences for their consistency with each other.
- Identify assumptions that lead you to your inferences.
- Make sure your inferences logically follow from the information.

8. All reasoning leads somewhere or has implications and consequences.
- Trace the logical implications and consequences that follow from your reasoning.
- Search for negative as well as positive implications.
- Consider all possible significant consequences.

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The forces that systematically influence my critical or high order thinking includes people, institutions and systems. People affect my critical thinking due to my association with them. Every individual is unique, coming from various backgrounds and different ways of looking at and doing things. Therefore, people's backgrounds such as race, age, ...

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