Socrates Cafe Louisville Message Board › A Personal Discourse and Essay on Criticism and Critical Thinking

A Personal Discourse and Essay on Criticism and Critical Thinking

Jeff
JS5000
Group Organizer
Louisville, KY
Post #: 154
I've got to add...

Critical thinking devises the means to exterminate 10,000 people a day. "Magical" thinking funds the creation of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
A former member
Post #: 8
Damnit, Jeff. You're going to make me work for this, aren't you?

:)

I'll get you a response, but it'll take a day or so, at least. The initial post took almost a week and you gave me a few more things to contemplate and consider, not to mention playing "catch up" on what I neglected and let slide.
Ed B.
Ed_Bridge
Louisville, KY
Post #: 71

Critical thinking devises the means to exterminate 10,000 people a day. "Magical" thinking funds the creation of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
Does it? I think this is a false dichotomy. Critical thinking only serves to determine whether an argument is valid or well supported. It doesn't, in itself, impel toward particulars. Magical thinking is simply one form of thinking shown to produce less than reliable results. It may be that more effective thinking makes people more capable of achieving objectives which is a double edge sword. That doesn't mean bad thinking should be encouraged.

It means that directing mankind's increasingly potent abilities toward constructive ends is increasingly important. Religion, a habitual user of magical thinking has resulted in disastrous ends as well as the Sistine Chapel. Indeed, I think far more of the former than the latter.
Ed B.
Ed_Bridge
Louisville, KY
Post #: 72
Damnit, Jeff. You're going to make me work for this, aren't you?
He may not be the only one.

It's kind of hard to know where to begin in discussing some of your points. You won't find many objections in our group to pointing out logical fallacies. While we do try to be civil, we've had some pretty heated exchanges at times. However, the question which you raised regard "respect" might be clarified.

If an argument is truly fallacious, that argument need not be respected. The person, however, who makes the argument, even if erroneous, does deserve respect.

So if you hear one of us making an invalid inference, please do point it out. And I'd venture a guess that you too, like all of us will occasionally make a mistake. We'll return the compliment.

However, I think when you look at most of our discussions, pure logic is rarely the issue. The topics we deal with often entail great complexity from a human standpoint and networks of interconnected facts that are difficult, if not infeasible, to verify. This is particularly true of issues of value and feeling. Philosophy, as we use the word today, differs from science in a number of ways. One important way is that it provides the intellectual basis for refining our understanding of fact, a debt of foundation that science owes philosophy.

Philosophy also addresses issues which science doesn't address, albeit it (science) can be enormously useful in providing factual input. The question, for example, asked in ethics "how should we live?" isn't one science is designed to address. Science is a wonderful method of determining fact and building conceptual models of how how reality works, but it has nothing to say outside of the world of fact. These are questions which are not principally logical, though logic can be used to evaluate propositions offered.

So, if you have particular statements or issues which you feel need elucidation do, by all means, bring it us here. We'll be glad to examine your points.
Ed B.
Ed_Bridge
Louisville, KY
Post #: 73

It became my task to educate myself regarding the nature of these obstacles since philosophy is ultimately about one single solitary purpose to me. It is not only the quest for knowledge, since that can come from education, but wisdom and ultimately truth, internal and external. Whatever individual, personal or universal truths there are to be discovered or recovered from the sands of time.
You may be asked to define what you mean be "truth" and to distinguish between "personal truth", "universal truth" etc. and how, when you've discovered it, you know it's truth?

I say that last part deliberately and specifically because it underscores an important point. George Santayana observed, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Its certainly a witty saying, but with due respect to remembrance of things past i.e. history its a bit too sweeping to be accurate. Certainly, there is much to be learned from history a narrative of how men and societies have behaved, but the circumstances of today are never quite exactly duplicated, so one mush proceed with caution. Human affairs are too complex to yield great certainty from historical induction. Many philosophers have been made to look foolish by doing so.

The other night, I believe it was Jeff who mentioned “wisdom” at one point. I define wisdom as the understanding that comes with perseverance. I’ll give an example. I’ve worked with some extremely educated and highly intelligent professionals. At one point during my career I was straddled with a young inexperienced engineer. The next thing I knew he started proposing breaking down and replacing equipment en masse.

When I inquired about his rationale and what reason he was proposing such a drastic and expensive overhaul, he cited erroneous data he’d collected based on a theory that simply didn't apply to our application. He had the credentials, education and knew the theory, but didn’t understand the application, which in turn caused him to apply the wrong theory.


So it would appear that his error was not in lacking persistence or experience but using faulty data and applying it incorrectly. My observations have been that experience is a source of data. How that data is used depends on the person and their disposition. Despite my be older I'm constantly battling technical people who are so frightened of change that they won't use newer techniques to improve performance. It's like my mother's explanation to my uncle who inquired why, considering that he practiced the piano more hours, she played far better. She replied "you're practicing in the mistakes".



At this point, I have to admit that my elation quickly turned to dismay as I not only witnessed one logical fallacy after another trotted out and openly asserted during my initial encounter and exposure to the group discussion, but was equally distressed as the vast majority went virtually unchallenged.
A concrete example would be welcome here. What statement was made which was based on what fallacy?
Frank L.
user 9615384
Louisville, KY
Post #: 14
...If an argument is truly fallacious, that argument need not be respected. The person, however, who makes the argument, even if erroneous, does deserve respect... [Ed B. to Mike H.]

ExACTly, Ed!

When I want to lecture, I teach a class.

When I want to be lectured-to, I take a class.

When I want abuse, I go to a Democratic Party rally and announce that I am a fiscally conservative Republican, or alternatively, I attend a Republican Party Rally and announce that I am a godless social liberal. biggrin

And when I want to peacefully and with mutual respect participate in thoughtful exchanges and discussions of ideas with folks of different experiences and backgrounds having different perspectives and viewpoints, exposing myself to the thinking of others and exposing my own thinking to the critique of others (for whatever great or small value doing such might have for me and for interested others), I attend a Local Area PHILOSOPHY MEET-UP.

There is a (perhaps subtle but vital) distinction between criticizing what we see to be fallacious and/or misinformed thinking and criticizing those whom we see to be fallacious and/or misinformed thinkers. Folks who recognize and understand that distinction and incorporate that understanding into their dialectical modus operandi are the folks to whom others pay attention and look forward to meeting-with again.

One may find some sort of personal satisfaction in unleashing pejorative sarcasm on others, but pejorative sarcasm never ever constitutes persuasive argument, not even if it is rightly deserved.

In my feeble, admittedly fallible present thinking at any rate.

Jeff
JS5000
Group Organizer
Louisville, KY
Post #: 155

Critical thinking devises the means to exterminate 10,000 people a day. "Magical" thinking funds the creation of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
Does it? I think this is a false dichotomy

Ed, have you no appreciation for rhetoric??
Ed B.
Ed_Bridge
Louisville, KY
Post #: 74

Critical thinking devises the means to exterminate 10,000 people a day. "Magical" thinking funds the creation of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
Does it? I think this is a false dichotomy

Ed, have you no appreciation for rhetoric??
Perhaps not. We've been sumerged in it of late, and the season is just getting started.
A former member
Post #: 332
MISTER VINN

CRITICAL THOUGHT: Memory|Associations| Patterns |Reason |Experience | Experimentation|Intuition
Hello!
My thoughts as I work through the Critical Thinking Conversation(s):

The above dialogue has articulated concepts that are leading us to
“Why “It” is ... the way it is.”

Are we not to include within that dialogue ideas that we are creative beings?

If the creative is to be dismissed , out-of-hand as “wishful and magical thinking” have we not dis-empowered ourselves in some way?

That is, by holding something outside of you- such as a structured biased thought- bigger than your experience that begins to control your life experience?

Might this type of thinking be destructive to the perfection of the human spirit and mind?

My Point: If we do not include conversations with the elements of creative ingenuity we do not create empowered conversations.

After all, do we not have the responsibility to teach one another how to manage the “thoughts and energies” that are within each of us- regardless of the individual’s belief system or personal circumstances?

My pithy comment:
When Perceptions and Perfection are One … we understand.

Questions that I hope are helpful:
How do we work toward understanding how the “world” is without falling into absolutism?
Or
Into a world of illusion or worse delusion?
Or
A position of who really cares?


Only the goodthings
robert
Frank L.
user 9615384
Louisville, KY
Post #: 15
...Are we not to include within that dialogue ideas that we are creative beings?... [asketh Robert]

Of course we quite demonstrably ARE "creative beings!" Beethoven, Bach, Pink Floyd, Leonardo da Vinci, Dali, Frank Lloyd Wright, J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling - - who the heck suggests that humans are not creative beings???

...If the creative is to be dismissed , out-of-hand as “wishful and magical thinking” have we not dis-empowered ourselves in some way?... [asketh Robert]

I guess I do not understand your question; do you mean to be suggesting that IF we can image an X (where X is any conjectured object or being or situation), THEN that X necessarily must be real and factually true or existential???

I do submit that nature (physical reality) does indeed "dis-empower" us in some ways -- there is no amount of creatively imagining that if we just flap our naked arms hard and fast enough we could soar like eagles we would be able to ACTUALLY fly like an eagle by flapping our naked arms (granted, we can AND HAVE created devices that let us fly, but surely you get my point).

...How do we work toward understanding how the “world” is without falling into absolutism?

Popperian fallibilism and theory of objective knowledge (an empirical epistemology-based approach to objective knowledge now known as "critical rationalism") is ANYTHING BUT "absolutism." If you have a real interest in learning about critical rationalism to see if it might make genuine good sense to you (as it surely does to me, for one), then give a thoughtful read of Karl Popper's book, OBJECTIVE KNOWLEDGE (that is the book I am holding in my avatar photo, and also I highly recommend Popper's CONJECTURES AND REFUTATIONS).

Or not (most people do not). -- Frank
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