Write for 3 minutes on this quote.
We have talked about some important concepts concerning critical thinking.
- Egocentric Thinking
- Intellectual Empathy
We are going to add Bias to that list.
What is Bias?
Bias – prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.
So what exactly is bias and how does it connect to our class?
Chapter 2 was an introduction into critical reading. Critical reading is very important to critical thinking and writing. The two main points are:
- One should read carefully
- Making a summary helps one grasp an argument.
While these may seem obvious, they are also often ignored by students. Knowledge begins with reading carefully. Students that struggle with critical writing and argument usually have a difficult time because they failed to read carefully.
DO NOT ASSUME you know what they are talking about. You need to put in the time to read, follow, and understand others arguments in order to become a critical thinker and writer.
Writing a summary of a reading or an argument helps us to make sure that we understood it correctly. I ask you to summarize in your weekly journals, because I am looking for how you are reading something, if you are reading it correctly and understanding it. It is very easy to miss read something.
Chapter 3, Critical Reading: Getting Deeper into Arguments takes us further into critical reading. It is much more in depth and thorough.
Persuasion is to convince someone else to accept or adopt your position, which can be accomplished in a number of ways (80).
Argument writing or critical writing focuses more on the logos, or appeal to reason.
- Logos: appeal to reason
- Pathos: appeal to emotions
- Ethos: appeal to credibility or trustworthiness
Argument represents only one form of persuasion, one that relies on the cognitive or intellectual capacity for reason (80).
An argument doesn’t require two speakers or writers with opposing positions. They may, but you can write an argument, using appeals to reason with out setting it up as a dispute.
Dispute is a special kind of argument in which two or more people express views that are at odds (81).
Reason v Rationalization
Reason: the power of the mind to think, understand, and form judgments by a process of logic.
We can reason through induction and deduction.
Deduction takes beliefs and assumptions and extracts their hidden consequences/conclusions (106).
- Premise: Humans are mortal
- Premise: Socrates is human
- Conclusion: Socrates is mortal.
This statement is a syllogism. premise + premise = Conclusion
All premises must be true
The syllogism must be valid, premises support the conclusion.
Then, the argument is said to be sound.
Fallacies are kinds of invalid arguments.
Induction uses information about observed cases to reach a conclusion about unobserved cases.
If we see the train arrive at six am, several days in a row, we can reason that it will arrive at six am tomorrow.
Unlike deduction, induction yields conclusions that go beyond the information contained in the premises used in their support.
Rationalize means to devise a self serving reason.
We can come up with reasons and justifications to make ourselves feel better, but that does not mean that we are using reason. This is where the struggle will always be.
We can’t be sure we are not rationalizing, but we can seek to think critically, examine our beliefs, scrutinize out assumptions, look for counter evidence, and think if it’s reasonably possible to draw different conclusions (92).
We need to have sufficient sample size in order to reason effectively.
- Definition by Synonym: pornography is obscenity
- Definition by Example: a book is seen as obscene
- Definition by Stipulation: to bargain or agree on a definition
- Statement of Sufficient and Necessary Conditions: “Something can be called pornography is and only if it presents sexually stimulating material without offering anything of redeeming social value.”
Let’s define what “Good Writing” is.
Assumptions can be stated or unstated, explicit or implicit.
Implicit assumption is one that is not stated but, rather, is taken for granted.
An explicit assumption is one that is stated and given as evidence, also known as a premise.
Evidence: facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.
Different disciplines use different kinds of evidence. We can use a text, field research, or experiments as evidence.
Experimentation: science involves the systematic study of claims tested, designed to yield particular observations.
Examples: a previous sample used as evidence.
- Real events drawn from history.
- Artificial or hypothetical cases cannot be used for evidence but can be used for persuasion.
Analogies: a kind of comparison that asserts things that are alike in some ways are alike in others.
Authoritative Testimony: citation or quotation of authorities.
Statistics: numbers and data used to support claims.
- Graphs, Tables, Numbers
- Statistics can be misused and can be seen as misleading.
- Unreliable statistics, looks impressive but is insubstantial or irrelevant.
Satire: witty ridicule
Irony: contrasts what is said and what is meant
Sarcasm: the use of irony to mock or convey contempt.
Humor: being amusing or comical in writing or speech.
In arguments we appeal to reason. Sometimes emotional appeals can be used effectively to aid the reason. Appeals to emotions can distract from the facts of the case, but they can also make the audience care about the evidence.
Are emotional appeals fallacious?
You should focus on the facts and offer reasons, but you may also provoke appropriate emotions in the readers. Be careful.
- Do not falsify
- Do not distract attention from the facts
- Do think ethically about how emotional appeals may affect the audience.
Does All Writing Contain Argument?
No, but most does. Most writing uses reason to get the reader to agree with what the writer is saying.
In college, you should be using reason and evidence to support what you are saying. There should be a clear purpose and reason to your writing, hence it should be an argument.
Problem Solution Example
“The Danger of a Single Story” by Chimamanda Adichie.
To quote a CNN article on the Danger of a Single Story:
Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie believes in the power of stories, and warns that hearing only one about a people or nation leads to ignorance. She says the truth is revealed by many tales.
She illustrates this with a story about coming to the United States, as a middle-class daughter of a professor and an administrator, and meeting her college roommate. Adichie says that her roommate’s “default position toward me, as an African, was a kind of patronizing, well-meaning, pity. My roommate had a single story of Africa. A single story of catastrophe.”
Adichie also tells how growing up in Nigeria reading only American and English children’s books made her deaf to her authentic voice. As a child, she wrote about such things as blue-eyed white children eating apples, thinking brown skin and mangos had no place in literature. That changed as she discovered African writers, particularly the Nigerian Chinua Achebe.
This is a great quote that highlights some of the moves we need to do in our article. It summarizes her topic, problem she is addressing, and solution; including examples she uses.
Topic: Many people do not realize that they are getting only one story. A single story is incomplete and she says dangerous.
Problem: Having a single story about an issue or group of people leads to stereotypes and incomplete information.
Solution: To look for multiple stories of whatever issue or topic you are hearing. She recommends we get our news and stories from multiple perspectives.
Reasons and evidence: She gives examples from her personal life to highlight that she has a personal connection.
Background: She gives background information, citing quotes and examples that place her issue in a historical context. She also uses current examples to place the issue in a contemporary context.
Structure is very important to making an argument. It needs to be deliberate and well organized. You cannot come across as being all over the place. An argument needs order in order for the audience to follow along.
Here is one possible outline to use to build your paper:
- Position (thesis)
- Reason with evidence
- Reason with evidence
- Reason with evidence
- Reason with evidence
- Counterargument with refutation
- Conclusion with so what question addressing audience
- Rough Draft (2 pages typed for points)