Posted: April 10th, 2023

W4: Reflection Please reflect back on the first three weeks. Identify something

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W4: Reflection
Please reflect back on the first three weeks. Identify something you have learned. How will you apply what you have learned to enhance your education and/or your career?
This weeks reading
· Perceptions and decision-making styles
· Using language to influence
· Constructing arguments
Critical thinking comprises three recursive, interdependent dimensions: experience, interpretation and analysis. Therefore, self-development is crucial to developing critical thinking skills. Self-development includes self-knowledge, choosing a life plan, facing challenges and building healthy self-esteem. Critical thinking skills are required if democracy is to thrive as it allows citizens to effectively participate in and shape governance.
We need to overcome our personal obstacles to critical thinking. Obstacles include resistance, narrow-mindedness, rationalization, double-think, cognitive and social dissonance, and stress. We also need to integrate reason and emotion in a balanced way to enhance our critical reasoning resources and strengthen our ability to reach our goals.
The three main arguments related to reason and faith are fideism, rationalism and critical rationalism. Although this is a controversial issue, critical rationalism does not see reason and faith as conflicting concepts, as it balances doubt and belief by questioning claims about faith that are inconsistent with evidence and reason. Just because we cannot prove something does not mean it does not exist. This is the fallacy of ignorance. Just because we cannot prove God’s existence or if artificial intelligence has consciousness or emotion, does not necessarily mean they do not exist.
Topics covered include:
Critical thinking
Reason and emotion
Faith and reason

Using Language to Influence
Language influences our ability to make good decisions and solve problems. Language and the way we communicate greatly influence whether our message will have the desired effect or not. To make our argument accessible and logical, we must choose our words with clarity and precision. If we are unable to articulate and decipher meaning, it is likely we will be influenced into doing things that do not promote our own and others’ development and well-being.
Language and communication help us define meaning, direct our lives, and make sense of reality, because the ability to define terms and concepts forms the basis of critical thinking. Terms can be defined either connotatively or denotatively. How we define words depends on whether we aim to bring clarity to concepts, express ourselves or persuade others. We therefore need to be able to accurately evaluate the definitions that have been given to terms.
onstructing Arguments
Informal fallacies use emotional or psychological persuasion that induces illogical reasoning. To avoid fallacies, we need self-knowledge, self-esteem, listening skills, communication and writing skills, the ability to separate personal issues from the argument, awareness of body-language, a skeptical yet open mindset, and the goal of getting closer to the truth rather than winning an argument.
There are three main categories of informal fallacies. The first group is fallacies of ambiguity. Fallacies of ambiguity include equivocation, amphiboly, fallacy of accent, fallacy of division, and fallacy of composition. The second group is fallacies of relevance. Fallacies of relevance include ad hominem or personal attack fallacy, scare tactics or appeal to force, straw man, appeal to ignorance, popular appeal, appeal to pity, hasty generalization and red herring. The third group is fallacies of unwarranted assumption. Fallacies of unwarranted assumption include loaded questions, begging the question, false dilemma, inappropriate appeal to authority, questionable cause or post hoc, naturalistic fallacy, and slippery slope.

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