The Humanists of Minnesota is pleased to sponsor an integrated series of sessions--in essence, a course--entitled “Thinking Critically, Thinking Effectively.” Conducted by Jerry Smith, a professor at the University of Northern Iowa, this course consists of ten sessions, to be offered one per month beginning in September. It is based on a course he teaches to undergraduate business majors at UNI. As suggested by its title, the course covers traditional “critical thinking” topics, but it also addresses topics like creativity, problem solving, and decision making. Thus, broadly understood, it’s about “effective thinking.”
This month's session considers the role of language in thinking. It will address such topics as the nature of concepts and how they can be defined, threats to conceptual clarity, and ways language can mislead. A discussion of unclear discourse leads into a concluding exercise in discourse analysis/critical reading.
The formal presentation will begin at 3pm but participants are encouraged to come any time after 2:30pm to socialize. Sessions are typically held on the second Saturday of the month at the Hamline-Midway St. Paul Public Library, but please watch for scheduling variations due to some unforeseen conflicts over the course of the year.
Critical thinking is an essential skill for the humanist lifestance, and many of us are quick to credit ourselves with that attribute. But critical thinking is also a habit that needs to be practiced and reinforced. This in-depth "course" that emanated from the Habits of Humanism series last spring will help attendees foster good mental habits more consistently. While there is some “content-dependency” across sessions—later sessions might refer to material covered in earlier ones—interested parties can benefit from and are welcome to attend any sessions that fit their interests and schedules.
For more details on this course and a brief synopsis of each of the ten sessions, check out the Habits of Humanism page on our website at: http://www.humanistsofmn.org/habits-of-humanism.