This is my notes & summary of "Critical Thinking (The MIT Press Essential Knowledge series)" written by Jonathan Haber.
First, on the principle of charity: This is unfortunately rare in most discussions. I was just reflecting on several recent examples where:
All these are easy and an easy way to score points. What is hard is helping people build a strong version of their argument, then verifying our understanding of it, and finally debating.
[...] The process of charitable translation requires you to act as if you were going to present your logical translation of another person's argument to that other person and ask them if you properly and honestly captured what they were trying to say before proceeding to debate the topic. Such a process requires empathy, the ability to enter the mind of another person to discover what they believe and why they believe it.
Lastly, I was thinking about this question while reading about holding ideas tentatively:
1When was the last time you changed your mind on a deeply held idea?
Using this technique, you pose a question, propose an answer to it (called a "hypothesis"), and then hold the
hypothesis as tentativewhile you gather evidence to support or disprove it. Hypotheses that withstand such scrutiny become "theories" that, while still not declared to be forever and unquestionably true, are considered a strong enough foundation to use as a basis for further inquiry.
1* All **P**'s are **Q**'s (called an A statement).2* No **P**'s are **Q**'s (called an E statement).3* Some **P**'s are **Q**'s (an I statement).4* Some **P**'s are not **Q**'s (an O statement).
1* `Premise 1`: All _dogs_ are _animals_.2* `Premise 2`: All **collies** are _dogs_.3* `Conclusion`: Therefore, all **collies** are _animals_
1* a major premise (the first statement) — includes the major term (in italics in the example above) which appears in one premise and serves as the predicate of the conclusion.2* a minor premise (the second statement) — includes the minor term (in bold) which is also in one premise and appears as the subject of the conclusion. A middle term (underlined) appears in both premises but not in the conclusion.3* The conclusion (the last statement).
1* `Premise 1`: If **P**, then _Q_.2* `Premise 2`: **P**.3* `Conclusion`: Therefore, _Q_
1* `Premise 1`: If **Socrates** is a _man_, then **Socrates** is _mortal_.2* `Premise 2`: **Socrates** is a _man_.3* `Conclusion`: Therefore, **Socrates** is _mortal_.
1* `Premise 1`: If **P**, then _Q_.2* `Premise 2`: _Not_ _Q_.3* `Conclusion`: Therefore, _Not_ **P**.
Premise 1: If Erica graduated college, she would have a diploma.
Premise 2: Erica does not have a diploma.
Conclusion: Therefore, Erica did not graduate college.
Premise 1: If P, then Q.
Premise 2: Not P.
Conclusion: Therefore, not Q.
According to Richard Alum and Josipa Roska in their popular 2011 book Academically Adrift:
Gains in critical thinking, complex reasoning, and writing skills (i.e., general collegiate skills) during the first two years of college are either exceedingly small or empirically nonexistent for a large proportion of students.
This is despite the fact that, per a report cited by the authors
99 percent of college faculty say that developing students' ability to think critically is a 'very important' or 'essential goal of undergraduate education.