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Weekly Discussion #1: The Value of Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is the most vital skill you will develop in this course and is arguably the single most important skill you will gain from a college education. The purpose of this exercise is to:

  • Reflect on some reasons why critical thinking is so important.
  • Motivate yourself to improve your critical thinking skills.

Assignment Instructions:

Watch ALL of the videos below. After you watch them, choose one to write about. Write three paragraphs addressing the following:

  1.   What was the video about?
  2.   What was the most important thing that you learned from the video?
  3.   Why do you think critical thinking is important?

Here is the podcast from the section called “self-defense” to  defend yourself against faulty reasoning from, say, advertisers. Think about why you need to defend yourself against irrational thinking. Provide examples in your response.

http://criticalthinkeracademy.com/courses/what-is-critical-thinking/lectures/51609 (Links to an external site.)

Weekly Discussion #2: The Right to Your Opinion

Critical thinking requires the view that not all opinions are created equal. Some opinions are true or close to true, while other opinions are false or obviously mistaken. The idea that all opinions are equal is a dangerous one and is obviously mistaken.

We seem to be no longer capable of distinguishing between the phrase “you’re wrong” and “you’re stupid.” This is a mistake. We should not identify ourselves with our ideas. It is not shameful to make a mistake and getting something wrong does NOT mean you are stupid. Without the ability to admit that we are mistaken about what is true sometimes, we will never be able to change our mind to what is true. 

To disagree with someone seems is not an insult them. If you correct someone else when they are mistaken, you are not a “hater.” To refuse to acknowledge obviously crazy or inane ideas is not to be “close minded.”  

In his article Jamie Whyte argues there is a sense in which we do not have a right to our opinions. Our opinions must be supported by good reasons and evidence. The purpose of this assignment is to:

  • Critically Reflect on the idea that we have a right to our opinion
  • Respectfully discuss this idea with your peers.

Assignment Instructions:

Read Whyte’s article, The Right to Your Opinion carefully. Is Whyte correct? Do we have a right to our opinion? Why or why not? What do we mean by a “right to our opinion” in the first place?

Write at least one well developed paragraph (100 words or more) on this topic. You must address Whyte specifically. Be sure to use quotation marks when quoting him or any other source.

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