Reading Reflection #10: Overcoming Obstacles to Critical Thinking

Based on your reading of ARQ chapter 12: “What Reasonable Conclusions Are Possible?”, respond to the following prompts:

  1. Summarize your understanding of dichotomous (also called black and white) thinking. Provide an example of a well-known social issue in which this type of thinking is often used.
    • Dichotomous thinking is the assumption that there are only two potential answer. For example yes or no, right or wrong, correct or incorrect. A well-known social issue would be the idea of abortion. Many people think abortion is either a yes or not, right or wrong action.
  2. According to ARQ, what are some dangers of dichotomous thinking? How does “grey thinking” and using “if-clauses” enable you to find the best possible solution to an issue or problem?
    • One danger of dichotomous thinking is that there is no deeper thinking of a topic they only think about what is there and present. Another danger is that people can get very heated when discussing dichotomous type topics (when a topic most often has a yes or no thought behind it). Grey thinking and if-clauses help individuals to explore the options of answers deeper. They also create multiple conclusions rather than only two and you then arrive to a conclusion that is deeper in thought without pretending that more is known.

Self Reflection

  1. Based on the readings, discussions, and assignments you’ve completed for HONS 250, describe how your thinking has changed since the beginning of the semester.
    • My thinking has changed for the good. I believe that I know want to know more about the reading and find myself asking questions about what I am reading as I read. I have a greater appreciation for thinking deeper and a better understanding of what critical thinking is and how it can deepen my understanding to take full advantage of the information that is given to me. 
  2. What have you learned about yourself as a result of taking HONS 250?
    • I have learned that I need to slow down when reading in specific. I find that I would read the information so fast that I would only understand the bare minimum when I should be slowing down to understand all parts.
  3. What are some ways you will continue practicing your critical thinking skills beyond this semester?
    • I will continue my critical thinking skills to help me better understand what I am reading and evaluating. I will also use critical thinking on other papers and in other classes to evaluate the readings and information.

Reading Reflection #7: Evidence Part 1

  1. In class we have been working on identifying arguments in written material. You’ll remember that an argument must have both a conclusion and reasons. The next step in evaluating information critically is looking for the evidence that supports the reasons. Summarize, in your own words, the textbook’s definition of evidence (don’t forget to provide an in-text citation).
    • Evidence is defined as information that is backed up or justifies the dependability of a factual statement given by the communicator (Browne, M. N. 2018).
  2. Provide a brief definition of each of the four different types of evidence discussed in this chapter (personal experience, case examples, testimonials, and appeals to authority). What is a strength and a potential problem with the validity and/or reliability of each of the four types of evidence?
    • Personal experience use memories or past personal encounters as evidence to support a belief. A weakness of personal experience is that it is not a representative sample and may fall into a hasty generalization. A strength is that some outcomes may be possible and may be backed my multiple people. 
    • Case examples are detailed descriptions or stories that are based on observations or interviews that may be in depth or shallow that appeal to peoples emotions. A weakness is that they can appeal to peoples emotions and make people believe that it is proof rather than a story. A strength is they can create images with the details and help people relate to the concept in more depth.
    • Testimonials are personal experiences that provide statement of value that impact how much something should influence us. A weakness is that individuals differ in selectivity, personal interest, omitted information, and human factor. A strength is that it can be used to persuade individuals when used correctly, used most often in commercials, ads, and movies. 
    • Appeals to authority is using a professional, or expert, to have access to certain facts and qualifications to provide more facts. A weakness is that authorities often disagree on specific topics. A strength is that most professionals or experts spend lots of time researching the information they are experts on which makes their word stronger. 
  3. Briefly summarize the article and describe the evidence the author provides. How reliable do you think the evidence is, given the topic of the article, and why? Include an APA citation for the article.
    • The article I choose was 5 Ways Life Would be Better if it Were Always Daylight Savings Time from This article claims, through appeals to authority and case examples, that turning the clocks permanently forward would be better for Americans. They state that there would be decreased crime, less rush hour crashes resulting in lives saved, energy saved, improved sleep, and recreation and commerce flourishing. I believe that the evidence is reliable because of the amount of research the author has done, seen through the use of graphs and statistics to back up their research. The author also provides case examples to each your emotional side that builds their argument. 
    • Calandrillo, S. (2020, March 3). 5 Ways Life Would Be Better If It Were Always Daylight Savings Time. The Conversation.

Reading Reflection Post #3: Issues, Conclusions, and Reasons

Reading Reflection 3

  1. The first issue is descriptive issues. These issues reflect individuals curiosity about patterns or order in the world. The other issue mentioned is prescriptive issues and these questions touch on ethics and morals. Prescriptive issues touch on right and wrong, good or bad, and answer how things ought to be. You can tell the difference between the two issues by inferring from cues, researching the writer, and understanding which issue is which and how each of them are asked. 
  2. To determine the authors conclusion, ask “What is the writer or speaker trying to prove?” Or “what is the communicator’s main point?” To locate the conclusion, find the statement that the writer wants you to believe or the this, because of that statement. With that, anything that you infer is also a conclusion based on the understanding and reading you have read. The following clues may also help when finding the conclusion. 1. Ask what the issue is: know the issue and find the response. 2. Look for indicator words: listen for indicator words to prepare for a conclusion or summed up thesis. 3. Look in likely locations: beginning and end often mention the conclusion. 4. Remember what a conclusion is not: not examples, stats, definitions, or evidence. 5. Check the context of the communication and the authors background: know the author because they often write in similar positions of issues. 
  3. An argument is the combination of the reasons and final conclusion. There can be very few reasons or many reasons that are related to the conclusion. The characteristics of an argument are intent or hope to convince the reader, quality variance, and they have both a reason(s) and conclusion. 
  4. Why? Why does the writer or author believe this? (Or a similar form to the question.) Indicator words for reasons include: because, as a result of, is supported by, studies show that, for the reason that, and because….
  5. Identify (a) the overall issue discussed, (b) the author’s conclusion, and (c) the author’s reasons that explain why we should believe the conclusion. (A) The issue of the article is how can intellectual humility make you a better person. (b) The conclusion is that intellectual humility involves more than what we know. It involves listening to others while applying some empathy and talking time to expand our knowledge and accept, at times, what we think may be wrong. (c) One reason for this conclusion are the studies done and the research found by the University of California. They have proven that listening to others helps to increase our long-term intellectual process. Another reason is people strive for wisdom and they want to know more. Reason three includes the more intellectually flexible people are, the more people have to gain.

Reading Reflection #1: Critical Thinking

Manner of Asking the Right Questions,” think about and respond to the following questions:

  1. What are some characteristics or values of a person who is a critical thinker? Which, if any, of these themes did we suggest for our Classroom Agreement on Tuesday?
    • Characteristics of people who are critical thinkers are those who have self-confidence and open-mindedness. Critical thinkers are also flexible to other opinions while being curious. On Tuesday, we talked about being open to listen to others and to new suggestions while feeling safe and confident about sharing our own opinions in front of our peers.
  2. How do strong sense and weak sense critical thinking differ? Why is strong sense critical thinking usually so much more difficult than weak sense critical thinking?
    • According to the reading Asking the Right Questions, weak sense critical thinking is resisting opinions and thoughts that are different from your own. Those who are weak sense often disagree with others and apply their critical thinking skills only when talking to their “opponents”. Contrary to weak, strong sense is applying critical thinking whenever possible. Strong sense critical thinkers take any and all opportunities to apply their critical thinking skills to not only others but also their own beliefs and opinions. Strong sense critical thinking is often more difficult because it helps individuals to assess facts, evaluate arguments, and understand others in a deeper sense. Critical thinking helps create more open mindedness and help increase understanding.
  3. When we talk about an “argument” in this class, what do we mean? How is the book’s definition different from an argument we might have with our parents or friends?
    • An argument in Hons 250 is the reasoning behind what we think and believe and why. Asking the Right Questions defines argument as, “a combination of two forms of statements: a conclusion and the reason supporting it.” An argument with parents or friends is often the exchange of opposite viewpoints, but argument as defined in the reading is the partnership of conclusions that we have and how or why we have those reasons.
  4. Why, do you think, is it so difficult to find the “right answer” to many questions about human behavior and society?
    • I believe that it is difficult to find the “right answer” because there is no right answer. People have different values and beliefs that help form individuals into believing what creates the right or correct way human behavior should be and how a society should be or act.

Based on your reading of “Why Questioning?,” think about and respond to the following questions:

  1. How does this chapter relate to your experiences? What role has asking questions had in your life?
    • I agree with many points from the reading. I do believe that questioning is linked to innovation and that many individuals, including myself, are on autopilot when asking questions. Personally, I don’t ask as many questions as I should, and I believe that it can and does hinder mt learning. When reading, I noticed that I agreed with more than I thought I would. I often find myself wanting to ask questions but think what will others think of me? Does this make me look like I don’t know what I am doing? When at work or in the classroom the fear of being judged or viewed as lower than I am scares me, but in reality, I should be using the time to ask questions to help benefit more from class, work and personal life. When I do speak up and ask questions, I find that I understand things more and spend less time on simple tasks because I know fully what is expected and what must be done.
  2. Why do you think children stop asking questions? Why do some people (like Bezos or Jobs) keep questioning?
    • I think many children stop asking questions because adults don’t acknowledge them and answer the questions like we should. Many people get annoyed when instead we should be answering and encouraging children to ask questions. Others continue to ask questions because they are continuously curious. I also believe that individuals with higher intelligence tend to ask more questions. I do not know why, but when in class it seems that individuals who are smarter or who want to increase their learning as much as possible will always ask questions.
  3. As a college student, what role does asking questions have in your education? What role does questioning have in your future profession and work environment?
    • As a current college student, asking questions helps to understand the information deeper. When we ask questions, we are wanting to know more and want to better understand the concepts and teachings. I also ask questions when I don’t understand something or want to know more. When I am curious about something I tend to want to know more for my own enjoyment. In my work environment, questioning is very important. Asking questions can help myself and other employees do what we are supposed to and in the right way. I believe that questioning yourself and others is what helps people gain the most knowledge and understand when in any situation.