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Critical Thinking, Assumption & Emotions

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Please summarize the following:

Assumptions: Critical Thinking and the Unknown
0 Recognize assumptions in various situations.
0 Compare and contrast necessary and unwarranted assumptions.
0 Develop methods of checking assumptions and creating alternatives.

Logic versus Emotion
0 Explain the impact of feelings on the critical thinking process.

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a. Recognize assumptions in various situations.

Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally (http://philosophy.hku.hk/think/critical/). Critical thinking is "the disciplined mental activity of evaluating arguments or propositions and making judgments that can guide the development of beliefs and taking action?(http://chiron.valdosta.edu/whuitt/col/cogsys/critthnk.html).

Critical thinking may seem at odds with assumptions, but people draw conclusions based on assumptions (consciously or unconsciously), WHICH NEED TO BE CRITICALLY EVALUATED, An inference is a conclusion you come to in your mind based on something else that is true or you believe to be true. Assumptions are part of your belief system, and often, something that you do not challenge or question. Your mind takes for granted that your assumption is true (http://www.achieving-life-abundance.com/assumptions-and-critical-thinking.html).

Let's look at some general inferences and assumptions, where a conclusion or inference is made, based on a belief and assumption about what is believed to be true based on prior experiences. It is important to consider these assumptions behind the inference or statement to accurately interpret the meaning of the conclusion (inference) statement. The critical thinking process helps to identify these assumptions, which can bias decision making when left unchallenged. For example:

1. Inference: We should reduce the penalty for drunken driving, as a milder penalty would mean more convictions.
Assumption: We should increase the number of convictions for drunken driving.

2. Inference: Moby Dick is a whale. So Moby Dick is a mammal.
Assumption: "Anything that is a whale is a mammal? or "If Moby Dick is a whale it is a mammal.?

3. Inference: Giving students a fail grade will damage their self-confidence. Therefore, we should not fail students.
Assumption: We should not damage students' self-confidence.

4. Inference: It should not be illegal for adults to smoke pot. After all, it does not harm anyone.
Assumption: Anything that does not cause harm should not be made illegal.

5. Inference: There is nothing wrong talking on a mobile phone during lectures. Other students do it all the time.
Assumption: If an action is done by other students (or people) all the time, then there is nothing wrong with it.

6. Inference: Killing an innocent person is wrong. Therefore, abortion is wrong. ...

Solution Summary

This solution summarizes the assumptions involved in critical thinking, including: recognizing assumptions in various situations, comparing and contrasting necessary and unwarranted assumptions, and; developing methods of checking assumptions and creating alternatives. Referring to logic and emotion, it also explains the impact of feelings on the critical thinking process. Supplemented with an article on critical thinking and why is it important.

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Questions and answers

1. Critical thinking is a natural process which requires no effort.
A ) True
B ) False

2. Critical thinking skills are important in...
A ) school
B ) home
C ) civic life
D ) work
E ) all of the above

3. Logic is
A ) useful in winning arguments
B ) a fallacy
C ) the study of arguing clearly and without error
D ) all of the above

4. Perception is reality.
A ) True
B ) False
C ) Only in the eyes of the perceiver

5. The perception process is typically outlined through the following
three steps:
A ) input, output, action
B ) psychological, physiological, social
C ) see, hear, act
D ) selection, organization, interpretation

6. Since older people have more life experiences from which to draw,
their perceptions are more accurate.
A ) True
B ) False

7. Which one of the following statements is true?
A ) Assumptions are explicit rather than implicit
B ) Assumptions must be avoided at all cost
C ) Assumptions are the same as stereotypes
D ) Assumptions can be corrected

8. Assumptions will generate new ideas that will help expand our
A ) True
B ) False

9. Once we have accepted a viewpoint as sound, we should
A ) hang on to it and take for granted that it works in all
B ) periodically think about possible alternatives.
C ) constantly question it, because we can't believe in the truth of
D ) none of the above

10. When engaged in critical thinking, it is best to leave out emotions.

A ) True
B ) False

11. Our critical thinking skills are often vulnerable because of our
A ) True
B ) False

12. Ambiguity refers to
A ) two or more possible meanings.
B ) a characteristic of informative language.
C ) a and b

13. The best way to present our reasoning is by using...
A ) emotive language.
B ) persuasive language.
C ) informative language.
D ) all of the above.

14. One of the following statements is an issue to be argued. Which
A ) He moved to Detroit because his mother lives there and she needs
daily care
B ) Oscar Wilde's play An Ideal Husband first appeared in 1895
C ) Beethoven's symphonies are the best music ever written
D ) She accepted a $90,000 a year offer to work at a prestigious
software company

15. Identify the conclusion in the following argument:
He is an inconsiderate person because he damaged my reputation unjustly
and he refused to repay the money I had lent him.
A ) he is an inconsiderate person
B ) he damaged my reputation
C ) he refused to repay the money I had lent him

16. The scientific method is based on
A ) induction
B ) deduction
C ) both

17. In inductive reasoning, a hypothesis is a tentative conclusion that
helps us organize ideas until we can come to a definite conclusion.
A ) True
B ) False

18. In deductive reasoning, a hypothesis is a tentative conclusion that
helps us organize ideas until we can come to a definite conclusion.
A ) True
B ) False

19. In a fallacy, the conclusion is unwarranted by the premises.
A ) True
B ) False

20. Identify the fallacy:
I implore you to find Mrs. Bobbit not guilty for mutilating her husband,
since her home life was so horribly traumatic.
A ) non sequitur
B ) ad hominem
C ) post hoc ergo propter hoc
D ) slippery slope
E ) appeal to emotion

21. Identify the fallacy:
Since the ancient Egyptians did so much excavation to construct the
pyramids, they were good archeologists.
A ) non sequitur
B ) ad hominem
C ) post hoc ergo propter hoc
D ) slippery slope
E ) appeal to emotion

22. It is impossible to completely avoid biases, prejudices, and
stereotypes in the critical thinking process.
A ) True
B ) False

23. When we are being defensive, we believe the most important thing
A ) to solve the issue at hand.
B ) to win the argument.
C ) to gain new insight.
D ) to keep an open mind.

Directions: Each questions or group of questions is based on a passage
or set of conditions. In answering some of these questions, it may be
useful to draw a rough diagram. For each question, select the best
answer choice given.

24. In the 1950's sixty percent of treated cancer patients lived at
least five years after the detection of the disease. Now, sixty percent
live at least seven years after detection. This fact demonstrates that,
because of improved methods of treatment, cancer patients now live
longer after they contract the disease than cancer patients did in the
The conclusion of the argument above depends on which of the following

A ) In the 1950's only sixty per cent of cancer patients received
treatment, whereas now a substantially higher percentage does.
B ) Free medical treatment is more likely to be available now to
people who have no health insurance than it was in the 1950's.
C ) Detection of cancer does not now take place, on average,
significantly earlier in the progression of the disease than it did in
the 1950's.
D ) Physicians now usually predict a longer life for cancer patients
after detection of the disease than did physicians in the 1950's.
E ) The number of cancer patients now is approximately the same as it
was in the 1950's.

25. Four people, A, B, C, and D are to be seated at a round table.
There are six chairs equidistantly spaced around the table.
A must sit two seats from B.
C must sit next to either A or B, or both.

If D sits next to A, which of the following must be true?

A ) A sits directly across from an empty chair.
B ) D sits directly across from an empty chair.
C ) D sits two seats from an empty chair.
D ) A sits next to an empty chair.
E ) C sits next to an empty chair.

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