- Critical Thinking
- Solving Problems
- Perceiving and Believing
- Constructing Knowledge
- Language and Thought
- Moral Issues
- Living Creatively
- Digital Stories
Welcome to Philosophy of Thought and Logic
Understanding the world through experience and reason.
Everyone has to think in order to function in the world, and this course will equip you with the tools to reason effectively in your pursuit of reliable beliefs and useful knowledge. Whether you are a budding philosopher searching for ultimate truths, a science student grappling with the nature of scientific proof, a new parent weighing conflicting childrearing advice, or a concerned citizen making up your mind about today's issues, the lessons you learn in this course will help you cut through deception and faulty reasoning to get closer to the essence of a matter.
This is equally a course in argument and in reasoning. While you will learn how to reason, you will also learn how to persuade others. And it teaches how to judge and answer the arguments of others and how they will judge yours. This is the very center of a well-educated mind.
Dr. Michael Thompson
By Trenton Ham
Thinking is a way of life, it is impossible to let a day pass without the brain coming up with a single thought. The average individual produces anywhere from 12,000 to 50,000 thoughts per day. Everyone claims they know how to think but in reality very little know how to think smart. Thinking smart is what you do instead of thinking hard. If you have the ability or experience to think smart you can identify a problem more quickly and solve it more accurately and consistently. In order to think smart while thinking about a problem you must follow these simple steps:
Step 1- Identify and understand the problem. In order to understand a problem you must be able to explain it in your own words and you must know what information is needed to solve a problem.
Step 2- Identify possible solutions. You must know how many solutions are needed to solve the problem or which one is best.
Step 3- Selecting the best solution. Once you have finished step two simply select the best solution to a problem.
Step 4- Look back. Once you have done your process in coming up with a solution look back and double check to see if it is the best answer and completely answers the question.
With these steps you can succeed in the thinking process and problem solving. They say they the older you are the wiser you get but anyone can be wise when it comes to thinking as long as they follow these steps and think to their advantage.
In life you can’t solve every problem at hand by taking the time to think and consider every possibility or solution. In very many cases a person has to think quickly. Quick thinking comes natural with experience and skill of a person.
Thinking is a huge way of life, it can produce maturity, success in social life, excelling in school and problem solving, and the ability to control the mind, temper, and conscious.
By Mike McLaughlin
This is by Ajan Raghunathan. He explains what thinking is and the purpose of thinking.
Thinking is the highest mental activity present in man. All human achievements and progress are simply the products of thought. The evolution of culture, art, literature, science and technology are all the results of thinking.
Thought and action are inseparable - they are actually the two sides of the same coin. All our deliberate action starts from our deliberate thinking. For a man to do something, he should first see it in his mind's eye — he should imagine it, think about it first, before he can do it. All creations— whether artistic, literal or scientific —first occur in the creator's mind before it is actually given life in the real world.
The Purpose of Thinking
The purpose of thinking, paradoxically, is to arrive at a state where thinking is no more necessary at all. In other words, thinking starts with a problem and ends in a solution. Thus, thinking is a tool for adapting ourselves to the physical and social environment in which we are in.
Can We Improve Our Thinking Ability?
Dr. Edward de Bono says that thinking CAN be improved just like any skill because thinking according to him is a skill. He has developed many useful techniques for training thinking skills.
By Mike McLaughlin
Critical Thinking is gathering information and using it to think about your facts.
Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness.
Critical thinking is a process of exercising purposeful judgment on information gathered from credible sources before making any conclusion. It is a broad and in-depth analysis that requires a set of skills to process information. It is characterized by rational and logical thinking of an individual or a group to develop a guide to decision making.
Thinking critically follows the scientific method applied by people every day, which involves asking a significant question, formulating a hypothesis, testing the hypothesis and gathering the required information, and coming up with a conclusion.
Critical thinking is using one’s mind for a certain goal, be it interpreting a criminal case, justifying an opinion, or proving a statement. It is primarily used to develop a guide to decision making. People engage in critical thinking to come up with the most sensible and justifiable conclusion possible that can hold up to the test of rational investigation.
The critical thinker then is one who constantly manages to use one’s mind for a certain purpose. He is one who is unprejudiced but skeptic. He recognizes viewpoints other than his own, but significantly merits these arguments through investigation. He carefully and skillfully evaluates judgments, including the suitability of its reasons, notions and credibility of evidence. He must be skillful and fair in analyzing various issues from as many sides as possible, looking for the pros and cons of the various facets analyzed. A critical thinker can also structure out and define analogies between judgments that are not profoundly evident. Most importantly, a critical thinker draws out and formulates a conclusion only when properly warranted by sufficient evidence and explanation.
We have many different levels of thinking. Some of the things that we do in our lives, such as breathing, walking, blinking, etc become almost instinctive and we really do not have to think much about them. Some things require more thought, such as deciding what to eat, or what to wear for a particular occasion. There are even higher levels of thinking and these include our critical thinking abilities.
There are even higher levels of thinking and these include our critical thinking abilities. Many scholars have noted that critical thinking is more of a skill than a process and it mainly consists of evaluating arguments. There are many different decisions that have been made because of thinking critically. For example when President Bush decided to send troops to Afghanistan and declare war in 2001.
Critical thinking is a skill, it’s an art. Not everyone can make an accurate decision in the pressure situations. There are just as many bad as good decisions made everyday, but these key situations in your life that need to be made because of thinking critically are not an everyday decision. These decisions are the ones that are most important in life and have to be made with maximum thought.
Critical Thinking in Everyday Life: 9 Strategies
Most of us are not what we could be. We are less. We have great capacity. But most of it is dormant; most is undeveloped. Improvement in thinking is like improvement in basketball, in ballet, or in playing the saxophone. It is unlikely to take place in the absence of a conscious commitment to learn. As long as we take our thinking for granted, we don’t do the work required for improvement.
Development in thinking requires a gradual process requiring plateaus of learning and just plain hard work. It is not possible to become an excellent thinker simply because one wills it. Changing one’s habits of thought is a long-range project, happening over years, not weeks or months. The essential traits of a critical thinker require an extended period of development.
How, then, can we develop as critical thinkers? How can we help ourselves and our students to practice better thinking in everyday life?
First, we must understand that there are stages required for development as a critical thinker:
Stage One: The Unreflective Thinker (we are unaware of significant problems in our thinking)
Stage Two: The Challenged Thinker (we become aware of problems in our thinking)
Stage Three: The Beginning Thinker (we try to improve but without regular practice)
Stage Four: The Practicing Thinker (we recognize the necessity of regular practice)
Stage Five: The Advanced Thinker (we advance in accordance with our practice)
Stage Six: The Master Thinker (skilled & insightful thinking become second nature to us)
We develop through these stages if we:
1) accept the fact that there are serious problems in our thinking (accepting the challenge to our thinking) and
2) begin regular practice.
In this article, we will explain 9 strategies that any motivated person can use to develop as a thinker. As we explain the strategy, we will describe it as if we were talking directly to such a person. Further details to our descriptions may need to be added for those who know little about critical thinking. Here are the 9:
1. Use “Wasted” Time.
2. A Problem A Day.
3. Internalize Intellectual Standards.
4. Keep An Intellectual Journal.
5. Reshape Your Character.
6. Deal with Your Ego.
7. Redefine the Way You See Things.
8. Get in touch with your emotions.
9. Analyze group influences on your life.
There is nothing magical about our ideas. No one of them is essential. Nevertheless, each represents a plausible way to begin to do something concrete to improve thinking in a regular way. Though you probably can’t do all of these at the same time, we recommend an approach in which you experiment with all of these over an extended period of time.
Critical thinking is the process or method of thinking that questions assumptions. It is a way of deciding whether a claim is true, false, or sometimes true and sometimes false, or partly true and partly false. Critical thinking is an important component of most professions. It is a part of the education process and is increasingly significant as students progress through university to graduate education, although there is debate among educators about its precise meaning and scope. Critical thinking has been described as “reasonable reflective thinking focused on deciding what to believe or do. It has also been described as "thinking about thinking. It has been described in more detail as "the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness. Critical thinking can be seen as having two components: 1) a set of information and belief generating and processing skills, and 2) the habit, based on intellectual commitment, of using those skills to guide behavior. It is thus to be contrasted with: 1) the mere acquisition and retention of information alone, because it involves a particular way in which information is sought and treated; 2) the mere possession of a set of skills, because it involves the continual use of them; and 3) the mere use of those skills ("as an exercise") without acceptance of their results. Everyone thinks; it is our nature to do so. But much of our thinking, left to itself, is biased, distorted, partial, uninformed or down-right prejudiced. Yet the quality of our life and that of what we produce, make, or build depends precisely on the quality of our thought. Shoddy thinking is costly, both in money and in quality of life. Excellence in thought, however, must be systematically cultivated.
Chapter 2 Critical Thinking
Thinking is the way in which we make sense of our world. Critical thinking is analyzing our thinking to make better sense of our thought. One must learn to critically think in order to fully understand the world. To be able to call oneself a critical thinker, one must do and be certain things. First, one must be open-minded. Being open minded means a person considers a variety of things before making a decision. Basically, one listens to the multiple sides in any argument. Open-minded people wait to hear all the facts and view points before making a judgment. A critical thinker is open to change if he/she comes across better evidence in the future. Open-mindedness promotes self awareness. To become a critical thinker one must have the ability to look at situations and be able to evaluate the situation through the lens of one’s bias. It is okay to have a bias, but one must be able to recognize when personal bias is clouding judgment. The next characteristic of a critical thinker is discipline. By being disciplined individuals are able to avoid making snap judgments. One needs this to keep them from getting stuck on irrational viewpoints. All critical thinkers must be knowledgeable, as one cannot argue a topic in a vigorous manner if he/she possesses little or no knowledge of the subject. To gain that knowledge critical thinkers must having a burning curiosity, a thirst for knowledge. One of the easiest ways to gain to knowledge is by asking questions. Asking questions helps the critical thinker formulate thoughts. Independent thought is essential to being an effective critical thinker. The most essential element for a critical thinker is having courage. Having a wealth of independent thought is worthless, if one does not have the guts to stand up for oneself and his/her beliefs. A critical thinker is confident in his/her abilities to defend his/her thoughts and beliefs.
The questions we ask in trying to solve complex issues are divided into six categories. Those categories are fact, interpretation, analysis, synthesis, evaluation, and application. Questions of fact set out to discover the basic information of any case. These questions set out to find the straight forward information by asking who, what, when, where, and how? The questions of interpretation set out to organize the facts and see how they relate. Examples include comparison and contrasts, time sequences, and cause and effect. Questions of analysis set out to separate out the different part of a problem and discover how they relate as a whole. Questions of synthesis coalesce multiple ideas to form a new end or conclusion. In this step one makes inferences to potential future events and creates new solutions. Questions of evaluation help one make informed judgments on issues. One makes these judgments by determining the relative value, truth, or reliability of things. Finally are the questions of application. The point of this set of questions is to help one take the knowledge he/she has obtained through the entire process and apply it to everyday life. In five hundred twenty words this is my essay on critical thinking.
Sources: Chaffee, John. Thinking Critically. Tenth. Boston, MA: Wadsworth, 2009. Print
Both personally and professionally, we make decisions everyday. Determining what to wear to work, which route to take to get there and even what foods we will eat are all decisions that have an impact on our lives. From a professional perspective, decision making is a key part of our jobs. Making the decision to hire or fire someone, whether or not to give someone an important project and deciding if we should launch a new product line, all impact our working lives and relationships in our organization. Decision making is defined as "the act of deciding between two or more alternative courses of action." (A Dictionary of Finance and Banking in Economics and Business, 1997). Being a good decision maker causes others to trust our abilities, whereas the opposite is true if we tend to make decisions hastily without carefully considering the ramifications of those decisions and their impacts across functional units.
It is obvious that decision making is a key component in our lives, but decision making without critical thinking gives us only half of the picture. It is these two components combined that result in successes both personally and professionally.
Sociology: Philosophy of Thought and Logic
By: Blake D. Steiert
Professor: Michael Thompson
Problem solving is a big part of everyday life for everybody like it or not. No one is passive enough to avoid all problems that come their way. In my lifestyle and being a collegiate competitor in college wrestling I have to face problems everyday whether it is my weight and making weight and deciding what I can allow myself to eat that day. Working out numerous times a day to ensure maximum shape while in competition. Keeping my grades and school business in order. Just the position alone that I hold has its own problems I continually have to deal with to be successful in my line of work.
I always stuck to a few tips and go-to moves when dealing with psychological issues and/or social issues, things to pull my mind and out of the gutter and dig deep for motivation. One thing is keeping a positive mind. Anyone who has done an extreme sport like wrestling know that keeping a positive mind in the face of negativity is a lot harder than it sounds, it’s a test of will and guts, a mental toughness check to the max. I like to recite quotes of motivation in my head over and over, maybe play an inspiring or pump-up type song while in a match, or better yet, fix my mistakes don’t repeat it and score points. The mindset is half the battle in life. I’m a firm believer in the statement that is….”I think I can do it, I know I can do it, I just did it.” The concept of confidence and character is strong in the human mind. The human body is capable of extrodinary things the only thing that can hold you back is yourself and your mental toughness.
In review I cannot stress enough how mental toughness is the key concept in dealing with solving problems not only in sports, school, but all around life. “Fall seven times, stand up eight” relentless forms of attitude and perseverance will find you success and ease in dealing with the problems life throws at you. No one ever said that life was an easy path, it’s a cut-throat place and you must be mentally tough or you will be dominated in everyday life and buried by your problems that you cannot solve due to weakness and lack of will and pride.
Throughout life, you are continually solving problems that are minor and major negotiating ways of a solution. As a student, you are faced with a problem of academic assignments, quizzes, exams and papers which are relatively known as minor problems and easy to solve without and organize approach.
Outside of the student life, you will be faced with difficult and complicated problems which will require more attention which are known as major problems.
According to the text Thinking Critically by John Chaffee, there is an organized approach to analyzing difficult problems. This approach has five steps which are:
1. What is the problem?
2. What are the alternatives?
3. What are the advantages and/ or disadvantages of each alternative?
4. What is the solution?
5. How well is the solution working?
The text talks about a major problem regarding a college student who has an alcohol and drug addiction and his friend feel powerless to help him. The college student who goes by the name Jack started drinking socially but then added drugs to the menu and becoming addicted.
In order to solve this problem and many other major problems like this, you must first be able to accept and acknowledge that the problem exists.
What is the Problem?
Using the organize approach, it is determined that Jack has an addiction problem to both drugs and alcohol which not only caused him to drop out of college but also places his job on the line.
It is also determined that Jack is also weak mentally as peer pressure at the college life seemed to have gotten the better of him as the student indicated that Jack is a wonderful person.
What are the Alternatives?
The text provides one alternative in dealing with the problem:
1. Speak to the friend in a candid and forceful way to convince him that he has a serious problem
2. Talk to the friend to slow down on the drinking and drug intake and to attend less parties or social events
3. Encourage the friend to enroll back into college so as to avoid the parties making his work load heavy
4. Invite him to attend consoling sessions or see a consular
In dealing with major problems, solving them sounds easy on paper, but are the hardest to accomplished because there are advantages and disadvantages of the alternatives
The text provides the advantage and disadvantage of its alternative.
Advantage: He may respond to my direct emotional appeal, acknowledge that he has a problem, and seek help
Disadvantage: He may react angrily, further alienating me from him and making it more difficult for me to have any influence on him.
Advantage: By talking to him, he might respond by not attending the parties and socials and slow down on the drinking and drug use
Disadvantage: He might party, drink and drug use even more because he would you would have now opening telling him he has a problem which he is in denial.
Advantage: He may enroll back into college and realize what he has been missing on to improve his life and would then realize he has a problem with drugs and alcohol.
Disadvantage: He may not enroll
Advantage: He might attend a consoling session or see a consular admitting that he has a problem
Disadvantage: He might go deeper into denial.
After examining each alternative and its advantages and disadvantages, it is determined that the best solution to the problem is to speak to the friend in a candid and forceful way to convince him that he has a serious problem and recommend consoling to him.
The final step is to review the solution and to see how well is the solution working.
You would see results with Jack enrolling back in college and his job is secured. Jack would show signs of remission by occupying his free time with other things rather than the old lifestyle.
Steps to Problem Solving
By Mike McLaughlin
According By Kendra Cherry in the About.com website, these are her statements about problem solving. She shows seven steps to problem solving and gives her definition of problem solving.
Problem-solving is a mental process that involves discovering, analyzing and solving problems. The ultimate goal of problem-solving is to overcome obstacles and find a solution that best resolves the issue.
The best strategy for solving a problem depends largely on the unique situation. In some cases, people are better off learning everything they can about the issue and then using factual knowledge to come up with a solution. In other instances, creativity and insight are the best options.
1. Identifying the Problem: While it may seem like an obvious step, identifying the problem is not always as simple as it sounds. In some cases, people might mistakenly identify the wrong source of a problem, which will make attempts to solve it inefficient or even useless.
2. Defining the Problem: After the problem has been identified, it is important to fully define the problem so that it can be solved.
3. Forming a Strategy: The next step is to develop a strategy to solve the problem. The approach used will vary depending upon the situation and the individual's unique preferences.
4. Organizing Information: Before coming up with a solution, we need to first organize the available information. What do we know about the problem? What do we not know? The more information that is available, the better prepared we will be to come up with an accurate solution.
5. Allocating Resources: Of course, we don't always have unlimited money, time and other resources to solve a problem. Before you begin to solve a problem, you need to determine how high priority it is. If it is an important problem, it is probably worth allocating more resources to solving it. If, however, it is a fairly unimportant problem, then you do not want to spend too much of your available resources into coming up with a solution.
6. Monitoring Progress: Effective problem-solvers tend to monitor their progress as they work towards a solution. If they are not making good progress toward reaching their goal, they will reevaluate their approach or look for new strategies.
7. Evaluating the Results: After a solution has been reached, it is important to evaluate the results to determine if it is the best possible solution to the problem. This evaluation might be immediate, such as checking the results of a math problem to ensure the answer is correct, or it can be delayed, such as evaluating the success of a therapy program after several months of treatment.
Chapter 3 Problem Solving
In problem solving one must first recognize there is an issue, then discern what the issue may affect, deduce if any good can come out of the issue, and if not, takes steps to remedy the issue. In the cleanest vernacular, it is the ability to solve problems.
In the problem solving process one usually ponders a series of questions. First, what is the problem, and then, what are the alternatives. After looking at the alternatives, then one asks, what are the pros and cons of each of the alternatives? After weighing the pros and cons a solution is enacted. Finally, the effectiveness of the solution is carefully analyzed.
The problem solving process can be examined more clearly by examining each step. What is the problem? Success can only be obtained if the problem is clearly defined as a problem cannot be solved if one does not know what it is. The problem, defined well, will be easier to solve as one is allowed to tackle specifics. Once the specific problem is defined, one can begin to examine alternatives. One should consider several alternatives but be willing to discard those alternatives which are clearly not feasible. There will usually be a wide variety of alternatives for each problem, so one does not have to worry about having limited options.
Narrow the alternatives to the 3 or 4 best choices and look at each one more clearly. One needs to look deeply at each alternative to discover the pros and cons. In some situations one may not be able to find a clear solution until all pros and cons have been carefully considered. After deciding on a course of action, one begins to take steps toward implementing that solution. One may think that they are done, but that is not the last step. One must review the solution and make sure it is working. If one does not review the effectiveness of the solution, then it becomes almost pointless to try to solve problems in the first place. If the solution is not working, ignoring it will ensure nothing gets accomplished. By continuing to monitor the situation one can keep track of the progress or the overall shortcomings of the solution.
Complex problems are a lot trickier. When faced with a complex problem, one may get frustrated. Getting frustrated leads to nothing getting accomplished as the individual may just give up entirely on the problem because they do not know where to start to look for a potential solution. Instead of feeling this way, the effective problem solver will think critically about the problem. The effective problem solver will analyze it in an organized manner by using the steps previously discussed. One must be able to accept that a problem exists before they can take steps toward solving it. In the Textbook it states that “to solve a problem, you must first be willing to accept the problem by acknowledging that the problem exists, identifying the problem, and committing yourself to trying to solve it” (Thinking Critically 104).
Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_solving, Chaffee, John. Thinking Critically. Tenth. Boston, MA: Wadsworth, 2009. Print
December 5, 2011
Perceiving is believing. Perceiving definition is to recognize, discern, envision, or understand, to become aware of, know, or identify by means of the senses: I perceived an object looming through the mist. I believe that perceiving and believing are indicial. Perceiving an event is to recognize or understand it and to make a choice to believe it or not.
Believe is to have faith, to trust the word of another to perceive an event and become aware of it. I’ve had a couple of instants of where I’ve had to make a choice on to believe the perception that I made. I feel that a I have a different perception on life, I view life in an optimistic view, my personality conflicts with people who view life in a pessimistic perception. Life is too grand to have a negative perception. I’m not sure how your belief can not holy and with an optimistic view.
I honestly do view perceiving and believing as the same thing. If believe in it then you will view it as a perception of belief not of a lie or false. For example, if you perceive an object looming through the mist you’re not going to go and ask it how it is doing. You believe that is something that frightens you, something that can cause harm or bring concern to you. So this is why I believe that perceiving is believing.
Sociology (Philosophy of Though and Logic) Wiki-Project #2
By: Blake Steiert
Professor: Michael Thompson
“Perceiving and Believing”
In a lot of circles Perceiving believes. When perceiving certain things the main key is to be able to differ between what is and what isn’t reality. One thing that must be taken into account is the relationship between delusion and confabulation, according to which some symptoms may qualify as both delusional and confabulatory. However a completely different approach to believing in many aspects throughout life is one of the most powerful human capabilities if mastered. It goes back to the argument that mind over matter plays in many situations in life that can help you deal with some of your most difficult times and confrontations in this world.
The power to believe can do extraordinary things. It can make a paralyzed person walk again, make a young man born with one leg win a division 1 national title, a young professional bike racer with 4 forms of cancer win the Tour de France 5 times, make a teenager say no to drugs and yes to an education, it can perform miracles that can shape your life into something greater than you could ever imagine. Underlying both spontaneous confabulations and other received delusions, we propose, is an inability to inhibit the prepotend tendency to upload and maintain experiential content (mnemonic or perceptual) into belief. There is no way the Spartans defeated the Persian empire without believing they could, or the Russians and the Americans defeating the Nazis In 1945, the only way to accomplish greatness like that is having confidence in what you’re going to attempt to accomplish. There must be absolutely no doubt in your mind. “He who hesitates has lost”. I lived by this quote at a very young age and it has me check myself and live on the concept of not holding back and not being afraid to go too far.
This is what I believe to be the concept of perceiving and believing. It’s all a mental game to me and a test of mental toughness. It’s a check for hard to find alloy called guts. I believe that I can be successful in college, sports and life therefore I am simply because I believe and know I can. This is in a nutshell what perceiving and believing is to me.
Everyone looks at the world differently. Personally, I look at the world like an observer. I noticed in high school, for instance, my classmates had a tendency to make themselves out to be the victims when they were having a bad day. Even though I was in the same age group as them, I didn’t think that way when observing. There’s also the way we look at ourselves. Depending on the person, we can think either very highly or very cynically of ourselves. Again, I’ll use myself as an example. There are some areas where I think pretty well of myself. And in some areas I’m very critical to the point of ‘beating’ myself up about it. You don’t want to be too much of either, because then you either get depressed, or you become very pompous.
Your perceptions and beliefs depend on your background, how you were raised, where you came from, and so on. Someone in poverty might rejoice at what someone wealthy might think nothing of. Perceptions can also influence what you do for your future, the daily decisions you make, and how you handle situations. You may see your town as boring, so you may move when you’re old enough. You may think a certain brand is better to use. If you think someone is behaving meanly for a justifiable reason, you will have more patience because of sympathy or pity.
What’s so great about being different is because we can experience new things, get new opinions, and it makes it interesting.
Theory of Thought and Logic
Perceiving and Believing
To perceive something is to “Become aware or conscious of something by the use of senses, esp. sight.” This means to see something means that it is real and there, you perceived it to be true. In this picture do you see a man’s head or do you see a tree, with a lady walking and some buildings in the back? Either answer is right. Both are a form of perception but just because you do not see one of them does not mean that it is not there. “Perception depends on complex functions of the nervous system, but subjectively seems mostly effortless because this processing happens outside conscious awareness.” Sight is the biggest form of perception but hearing and smelling also play roles in how you perceive. What you perceive is also what you end up believing, if you see a lady walking you believe that is the only picture there and it makes it harder for you to see the man’s head. “We tend to internalize the beliefs of the people around us during childhood. Albert Einstein is often quoted as having said that "Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen." Political beliefs depend most strongly on the political beliefs most common in the community where we live. Most individuals believe the religion they were taught in childhood. People may adopt the beliefs of a charismatic leader, even if those beliefs fly in the face of all previous beliefs, and produce actions that are clearly not in their own self-interest. Is belief voluntary? Rational individuals need to reconcile their direct reality with any said belief; therefore, if belief is not present or possible, it reflects the fact that contradictions were necessarily overcome using cognitive dissonance. The primary thrust of the advertising industry is that repetition forms beliefs, as do associations of beliefs with images of sex, love, and other strong positive emotions.” So what you see and what you are taught through your years is what you perceive and ultimately what you believe.
Perceiving and Believing
By: Runell Gordon
Perceiving and believing is a natural part of the human life. As defined by the online dictionary reference website; perception is “the act or faculty of apprehending by means of the senses or of the mind; cognition; understanding.” Speaking simply it’s the way that we, as humans, experience everything around us through our senses. Now believing, as defined by the same dictionary reference, is to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or their liability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so: Only if one believes in something can one act purposefully. To be simple, once again, believing is what people do when they whole-heartedly understand that something is right. So how do the two work together, in unison?
Perception is how we shape the world. Perception is how we take in the world through our senses and try to piece together and make sense of the things that go on around us. But by themselves they are not whole, or even on the money. Because when we take things in we see them with our own bit or personality. We see things as we, as individuals, understand them. This is how we begin to form beliefs!
These very beliefs are even more used in understanding the world, and they are more of a guideline which directs you in how you should perform as a member of society. Our beliefs represent an interpretation, evaluation, conclusion, or prediction of the world.
“I believe that the parable of the prodigal son was a reference to how God will always love his children regardless of how they squander his gifts.” – Interpretation
“Violent video games should be banned because they’re teaching the youth of America that problems can be solved through violence.” – Evaluation
“I would say that the reason people are so quick to make rash decisions which only benefit themselves is because they’re geared toward survival and person comfort, much like any other living, and thinking thing on this planet” – Conclusion about selfishness
“If some new form of population control isn’t implemented, I believe that this country will become over populated within the next few generations.” – Prediction
The complex relationship between Believing and Perceiving is a crazy and interesting one. Perceiving helps to determine what we believe. Believing helps to shape how we perceive the world around us. A twisty-turning relationship of two things that are practically the same! So the question now is, do you believe a word I’ve written, or have you already perceived that this thing is just too long to read?
Thinking Critically: by John Chaffee
In The Eye of the Beholder
Two people can look at the same scene and see completely different scenarios. Depending on your life experiences and personal beliefs, you can possibly see the glass half full instead of half empty. Each of us views the world through different “lenses.” Each prescription of “lenses” is custom made for us through how we have been influenced by parental nurturing, relationships, training and education.
Our perceptions are how we view the world. By themselves, our perceptions can’t be a reliable and an accurate way to view the world. Because our perceptions are so much influenced by our beliefs, they can be twisted and manipulated into what we want to believe and maybe not what is true.
To think critically, we have to try on a different pair of “lenses”, to accurately evaluate a situation that we may be totally biased about due to our own prejudice. Maybe follow the old adage about walk a mile in someone else’s shoes to see a different perspective besides our own.
Ultimately, if we try to perceive less and think with objectivity our world will open up tremendously. Take off the prescription “lenses” and try to perceive what another person is seeing through his lenses. Just like beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is one’s perception.
Language and Thought
When we think about Language and Thought, we wonder what the meaning of this is and we begin to think right away what it could be. Every time we use language, we send a message about our thinking. When we speak or write, we are conveying ideas, sharing feelings, and describing experiences. At the same time, language itself shapes and influences thinking. When language use sloppy, vague, general, indistinct, imprecise, foolish, inaccurate it leads to the same sort of thinking.
Can you imagine a world without language or a world where everyone spoke it the same way? What if you suddenly loose your ability to speak, write or even cannot read can you imagine that?
As human beings, we are able to communicate with each other because of our ability to symbolize, or let one thing represent something else. Words are the most common symbols we use in our daily life.
When we travel around the world and think about language, our thoughts kick in right away. People express themselves using different languages that we may not know such as Dutch, German, Spanish, French, Italian and even body language which we often see use by children.
During times of war and conflict, the text Thinking Critically states that languages takes on special significance and political leaders take great care in selecting the key words related to the conflict.
Even in our own households, we use language in our arguments and in our conversations. Suddenly when it is over, it has us thinking right away about what we have said which we call our “thoughts”.
In our everyday life when communicating, we use different languages that are only understood by the people we speak to for social communication. According to the text, these are known as:
Language is always used in a context. That is, you always speak or write with an audience, whether a person or a group of people, in mind. The audience may include:
Or even yourself
In our working environment, we tend to use a different language style being more formal than what we would be at home or with friends. Although we interact with our co-workers and employers daily, somehow we stay formal.
Whenever we know people and become more relax with them, we start to use a different language which is known as ‘Slang
“Hey bey wassup, how are things going with you”
We often use a slang to express ourselves to friends and family to cut the conversation short.
Another form of Language is Jargon which is made up words, expressions and technical terms meanly used by professionals like pilots, police, and firefighters naming a few.
Breaker 1-9. Com’on, Little Frog
Roger and back to you Charley
Climb to flight level 1600
For many of us mainly Caribbean or Island people speak with what is known as a Dialect.
Dialect is a form of an accent in the voice and the chopping of the English Language. Rather than saying “you’ll” some would say “ya’ll”.
No matter how we communicate, we use Language and Thought to express ourselves in different forms and culture.
Concepts of Philosophy: Absolute Philosophy
By Bert Guzman
Examples of religions and philosophies which embrace the concept of the Absolute in one form or another include Hermeticism, Hinduism, Jainism, Taoism, Islam, some forms of Jewish philosophy, and existential or metaphysical forms of Christianity. Terms which serve to identify The Absolute among such beliefs include Wu Chi, Brahman, Adibuddha, Allah, Para Brahman, God, the Divine and numerous other appellations. In East Asia, the concept of the Tao, and in South Asia, the concept of Nirvana is synonymous in description to the attributes of the Absolute as used in the West.
The human vital essence - soul, spirit, spark of awareness, is said to have originally derived in each case from the Absolute, and to be indestructible after the nature of the Absolute, and to be capable of returning to its source. This returning is the goal of those Eastern religions that have such a concept.
The general commonalities between the various versions of the Absolute are: infinity, indescribability, formlessness, transcendence and immanence. An additional commonality is that one must renounce and/or transcend physical existence and its distractions, in some cases even to the point of extinguishing identity and individual awareness, in order to understand or co-exist with the Absolute. Uniformly, human passions and vices are regarded as barriers to spiritual advancement, and such virtues as humility, charity and righteousness or pacifism are felt to help pave the way toenlightenment.
Parallels may be drawn between such traditions and Judeo-Christian
Islamic monotheistic (i.e., Abrahamic) thought. The concept is of a universal subconsciousness, undivided and incapable of being depicted through gods or icons, parent to the individual souls of men, and to which men strive to return. This sought-after return is impaired by evil thought and deed, and facilitated by altruism. In addition, the traditions share a general value system that discourages worldliness and encourages seeking higher, more intangible principles, such asrighteousness, justice, and good deeds done for their own sake.
Roughly, the Absolute may be distinguished from the following concepts, although there is debate of the synonymity between them:
Thing-in-itself, an actual object and its properties independent of any observer.
The noumenon is a posited object or event that is known (if at all) without the use of the senses.
However, rather than distinguishing from the relative, the thing in itself is used to distinguish an actual object from phenomenon (the appearance of things-in-themselves to the senses).
By Mike McLaughlin
My definition of concept is the main idea of something. You have to have a concept on what you did or planning on doing.
John Locke's description of a general idea corresponds to a description of a concept. According to Locke, a general idea is created by abstracting, drawing away, or removing the uncommon characteristic or characteristics from several particular ideas. The remaining common characteristic is that which is similar to all of the different individuals. For example, the abstract general idea or concept that is designated by the word "red" is that characteristic which is common to apples, cherries, and blood. The abstract general idea or concept that is signified by the word "dog" is the collection of those characteristics which are common to Airedales, Collies, and Chihuahuas.
John Stuart Mill argued that general conceptions are formed through abstraction. A general conception is the common element among the many images of members of a class. "…[W]hen we form a set of phenomena into a class, that is, when we compare them with one another to ascertain in what they agree, some general conception is implied in this mental operation" (A System of Logic, Book IV, Ch. II). Mill did not believe that concepts exist in the mind before the act of abstraction. "It is not a law of our intellect, that, in comparing things with each other and taking note of their agreement, we merely recognize as realized in the outward world something that we already had in our minds. The conception originally found its way to us as the result of such a comparison. It was obtained (in metaphysical phrase) by abstraction from individual things" (Ibid.).
By Bert Guzman
Organize: to arrange and plan things so that they can be found or used easily and quickly. Organize, organized, and organization are three of the most commonly used words in the college society. The majority of college students will agree that organization and time management are key to being successful college students. In order for a student to maintain a successful environment in the classroom as well as in life in general, the student has to be somewhat organized. Along with organization comes responsibility which is a key factor in maintaining an organized lifestyle. Organization includes: keeping a reasonable and responsible schedule, keeping track of important dates and information, and knowing where you place your belongings.
Keeping tracked of a schedule would help tremendously with organization and it is a great tool to help succeed in the classroom. Using a calendar or an agenda are some of the tools that can help with this part of organization. With these tools you will be able to prioritize your day and know what time appointments, class times and what homework you have for the day are some examples that an agenda can be used for . This is essential to keeping up with school work and knowing what the day holds for you!
For the second part of organization is keeping track of important information. In order to do so you must keep track of papers present and pass. the easiest way to do this is using something simple: folder, three ring binder, computer and a USB drive to keep all your papers in order and filed. Knowing this and being able to do so will benefit you in the long run, when u need it such as a final or midterm as well as studying.
Going on to the third step of being organized, is knowing where you placed your belongings. I believe that everything has a certain place to be and it needs be somewhere where it is easy access and easy to find. putting things in there place every time allows you to remember where it is and if the opportunity arises, that you need something right away, such as a pen, eraser, remote etc., u will know right away where its spot is and will make your life easier and easy to priorities from there moving on. Being organized is a great habit to have as a college student and this habit applies to many other things in life and will help with further values as you become better with it. Whether its getting a job or organizing your house it will reflect your character and people will respect how hard you work to do so.
By Trenton Ham
Organization is a common way of living that adds balance to ones life. A person who is organized is minimizing time looking for things or thinking of what to do next instead of planning ahead. Living as an organized person is essential for time management and convenience. I myself have always been a fairly organized person and over the years I have learned that it provides me with easy access to anything I need at any time. The reason people may be unorganized is because it takes effort to be organized and tidy. I stay efficiently organized by simply taking the time to put something back from where I get it from.
Organization doesn’t just include objects like files in a filing cabinet it also includes something like organizing activities in a day to manage your time wisely. You can organize a day simply by laying out some clothes the night before. One of the most essential reasons to be organized is money management. The average American wastes around $3,000 a year from disorganization alone. Some tips for organizing money is carrying around a minimum amount of pocket change. By doing this you can keep more money on a credit or debit card and the average individual obviously tends to spend more cash when he or she has more cash at hand. While a person who puts money in the bank has a safe and organized place to store it. The benefits of organization are obvious enough that it is worth the hassle. If you are not an organized person it’s not hard to become one if you stick to a plan. If you are organizing your room for instance you can take some time to clean and place things where they are easily accessible and don’t take up space. Once you take something out of its normal place like a book for instance to remain organized the only thing to do is put it back in its original spot. Organization comes into play with many aspects of life and it is only beneficial to people. I plan to remain the organized person that I am and continue to manage my time, money, and space wisely for as long as I can.
Philosophy thought and logic
I recently watched a special about the 32nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade. It included interviews with advocates, lawyers, women, and clergy. The only religious leaders were men opposed to abortion rights. It echoed much of the discussion about moral values following the election: to be against the right to choose an abortion is mostly presented in the media as the religious and moral position.
It is not.
For more than fifty years, many religious leaders from diverse denominations have affirmed the moral agency of women. Before Roe, courageous and compassionate clergy counseled millions of women faced with unintended pregnancies and helped them obtain abortions. More than thirty years ago, many religious denominations passed resolutions in support of women's right to legalized abortion. During the past thirty-two years, our religious commitment to women's right to abortion remains the same: women must be able to make their own decisions based on their personal conscience and faith. It is a commitment that is shared by millions of people of faith across the country.
Today, the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing releases a new "Open Letter to Religious Leaders on Abortion as a Moral Decision." Written by diverse theologians representing Jewish, Protestant, and Catholic traditions, the Open Letter outlines the religious foundations for affirming abortion as a morally justifiable decision. It affirms women as moral agents who have the capacity, right and responsibility to make decisions as to whether or not abortion is justified in their specific circumstances. It addresses such emerging issues as services for adolescents, provider conscience clauses, and bans on specific medical procedures.
The theologians who developed the statement once again considered how to articulate their respect for human life, including the life of the developing fetus, while affirming their support for the right to choose an abortion. They concluded that it is precisely because life is sacred that it not be created carelessly – people must have access to sexuality education and information, contraception and high quality prenatal care. They recognized that poverty, social inequities, sexism, and racism must be collectively addressed, for far too many women are virtually powerless to address individually the circumstances that result in unintended pregnancies. The theologians noted that religious traditions have different beliefs regarding the value of fetal life, usually according greater value as fetal development progresses, but affirmed a fundamental teaching of most religious traditions: the health and life of the woman take precedence over the life of the fetus.
Although many progressives agree that "abortion should be safe, legal, and rare," the Open Letter goes further, maintaining that we have a moral imperative to ensure access to abortion services. The ability to choose an abortion should not be compromised by a woman's economic, educational, class or marital status, her age, her race, her geographic location or her lack of adequate information. Current or proposed measures that limit women's access to abortion services – by denying public funds for low-income women; coercing minors to obtain parental consent and notification instead of providing resources for parental and adolescent counseling; denying international family planning assistance to agencies in developing countries that offer women information about pregnancy options; and banning certain medical procedures – are harmful to women's lives and well being.
The Open Letter recognizes that in a pluralistic society, the government cannot privilege the teachings of one religion over another. No single religious voice can speak for all faith traditions on abortion, nor should the government take sides on religious differences. More than 40 religious denominations and organizations support the right to safe and legal abortion. It is unconscionable to legislate specific religious doctrine concerning abortion for all Americans or for the women of the world.
Ultimately, the decision to continue or to terminate a pregnancy is intensely personal. Every parish-based clergy person in America works with women, couples, and families struggling with unintended pregnancies or very wanted pregnancies that become threatened by fetal abnormalities or women's dire health conditions. The Open Letter calls on leaders of all faiths to prepare themselves to minister compassionately, competently, and justly to individuals and families faced with pregnancy decisions.
When I became involved with the abortion rights movement over 30 years ago, I did so out of a personal concern for my life and future. Today, I do so out of a personal concern for my daughter, her friends and my congregants, but also out of my passion and commitment to relational and reproductive justice. Standing up for our moral values requires nothing less.
Our Moral Compass
As human beings, we all have some sort of moral intuition, you know that little voice in your mind that tells you not to run the stop sign or to go ahead and help the little old lady across the street. We all have seen the cartoon characters of the angel sitting on one shoulder and the devil on the opposite shoulder, both trying to influence us to be good or evil.
Morality is one of the reasons we are human. According to UCLA research psychiatrist Jeffrey Schwartz, who noted at the What Makes Us Human? Conference in Los Angeles in April 2008, “our minds are built for decision making, not programmed or hardwired to behave a certain way. We have the capacity “to look inside,” Schwartz said, and “cognitively reframe and reappraise” our actions in ways far beyond simple “Skinnerisms.” –Mark Hauser, Moral Minds: How Nature Designed Our Universal Sense of Right and Wrong.
I understand that morality is what separates us from animals, but if we all have the capacity to make decisions, why do some people choose to make “moral” ones and others choose the other extreme? According to Hauser, the ability to observe, then bring our perceptions to conscious focus, is certainly a key attribute of what makes us human. We are able to judge ourselves, evaluate our behavior and willfully change, to repent of one way and turn to another. Hauser is quoted, “Even if biology contributes something to our moral psychology,” Hauser also notes finally, “only religious faith and legal guidelines can prevent moral decay. These two…..must step up to the plate, knocking back those self-interest impulses.”
So what I understand from Mr. Hauser is that religion or a belief in a higher power can contribute to one’s moral compass, pointing a person in the right direction so to speak. Although I somewhat agree with his viewpoint, I do feel that people use religion as a scapegoat and can be very hypocritical and hide behind their religious morality and yet break moral and ethical norms. Fallen pastor of The New Life Church in Colorado Springs comes to mind with his accusations of sexual misconduct and illicit drug purchases.
According to the textbook, “Thinking Critically”, John Chaffee says being a moral person is a choice. “To achieve an enlightened moral existence in your life, you need to choose to be a moral person struggling to live a moral life. You need to value morality, to aspire to an enhanced moral awareness, to exert the motivation and commitment required to reach this lofty but reachable goal.” (397)
Choosing to sharpen your moral compass in today’s unmoral world of free internet porn, reality TV, and sexual imagery can seem like an impossible task. When athletes, rock stars, and women posing nude in magazines are held up as our cultures hero’s, morality doesn’t hardly stand a chance anymore. Case in point is Hugh Heffner and his “Girls Next Door” show. Two out of the three women in that TV show now have their own reality show. Why have we as a society, embraced making nude models into cultural icons?
When America is tuned into shows such “Bad Girls Club” or “Jersey Shore” where fighting, drinking and random nightly sexual escapades are the norm, how can a young person who is trying to tune their moral compass make a correct choice? My answer is for parents to take a stand and be very proactive in their children’s lives. As a country we need to take back our country’s morality. Elect moral officials; elevate moral people to hero status instead of rock stars, porn stars, and athletes. If we all do this, our country may be elevated back to the once great nation we were in the past.
Our morals are formed by personal beliefs and experiences. That is why what someone thinks as despicable, someone else might think of as alright. Take abortion for instance… Some people think that it’s perfectly alright. Others think there’s no excuse to kill a developing baby. There’s also varying degrees of “somewhere in the middle” to take into consideration. Homosexuality is another major controversy. Some are very liberal in thinking, while others tend to be conservative in their thoughts.
The moral issue I have the biggest issue with is premarital sex. Some may reason that it’s okay because of several possible reasons; love (wanting or showing), “shopping around”, peer pressure, ect. I don’t buy this. It’s premarital sex that can lead to a broken home, immature ‘parents’, abortions, birth complications, a higher probability of marital dissatisfaction, sexually transmitted diseases, ect. Condoms and birth control aren’t always guaranteed to work. It can also lead to a lot of broken hearts. I’ve heard it put this way “you give your heart away, little by little, and when you finally meet your partner, you have nothing to give”. It may sound like ‘fluff and nonsense’, but wouldn’t you like to say to your one that you waited for them, that they’re your ‘first’? I know I would. However, in today’s society, it seems as though abstinence is a dying ideal. In a study in 2002, 95% of those asked, said they had premarital sex. 93 of the 95% said they did so before they turned 30. To me, that’s disconcerting. However, there is a bit of hope.
“Contrary to pop-culture wisdom, those who do choose to save sex for marriage are not doomed to a second-class sex life. Rather they typically report higher levels of sexual satisfaction and marital contentment. Moreover, early sexual experience has been linked to marital dissatisfaction, low self-esteem, and greater incidence of Divorce.”(Hooten)
My mind’s already made up. How about your’s?
Theory and Thought of Logic
Moral is a synonym with good, or right. If one has a moral issue they are obviously dealing with an event, idea, or thought that conflicts with what they believe is good or right. Moral issues is more of a personal way to deal with situations then a whole country can feel. My neighbor next to me could have different ways of viewing things; say that they oppose the death penalty because to them it is immoral. Where I do not feel any moral issue, because the person who is getting the needle did something bad enough to deserve death penalty. Moral issues is what you and your conscious can handle on a day to day basis. If you do something and you remember it daily and get a bad feeling, you have done something against your morals. The definition of moral is “Of or concerned with the judgment of the goodness or badness of human action and character.” This means that anyone with a moral issue has a problem with the way an action is harming another person or how a non-action can harm someone. Moral issues have and will always exist because people will never agree 100% on how to handle a situation. If you do something one way you might see it as ok but others can disagree to the fullest. This disagreement of your views is a moral issue for the other person because they see it as wrong and it will not sit well with them.
The Ten Commandments Controversy:
A First Amendment Perspective
The Anti-Defamation League believes that the increasing call by private citizens and public officials for the government to post the Ten Commandments in schools, government buildings, courts and other public places — while often well-intentioned — is bad policy and often unconstitutional. Governmental posting of the Ten Commandments can lead to the kind of religious divisions within otherwise harmonious communities that our founding fathers sought to avoid by constitutionally mandating the separation of church and state. Before embracing this easy fix for some of society’s most intractable problems, communities should consider its consequences for one of America’s most precious traditions: religious tolerance.
Prohibitions on Display of the Ten Commandments
The Supreme Court has long held that the government may not take any action that endorses a specific religious belief. All of the Court’s decisions banning government support for religious activity have rested on the First Amendment’s requirement of separation of church and state. Over the years, this precept has led the high court to ban such government practices as organized prayer in public schools, the inclusion of creationism in public school science classes and the sponsorship of nativity scenes by government agencies.
In the majority of cases considering official posting of the Ten Commandments, the Court has extended this prohibition. In its 1980 (Stone v. Graham) decision striking down a Kentucky law requiring that a copy of the Ten Commandments be posted in every public school classroom, the Court said:
The pre-eminent purpose for posting the Ten Commandments on schoolroom walls is plainly religious in nature. The Ten Commandments are undeniably a sacred text in the Jewish and Christian faiths, and no legislative recitation of a supposed secular purpose can blind us to that fact. The Commandments do not confine themselves to arguably secular matters, such as honoring one's parents, killing or murder, adultery, stealing, false witness, and covetousness. Rather, the first part of the Commandments concerns the religious duties of believers: worshipping the Lord God alone, avoiding idolatry, not using the Lord's name in vain, and observing the Sabbath Day.
The Court recently issued two decisions concerning official display of the Ten Commandments with differing results. In McCreary v. ACLU of Kentucky, the Court considered county courthouse displays of the Ten Commandments in Kentucky. Similar to the Stone decision, it again recognized that the Ten Commandments is “… an unmistakably religious statement dealing with religious obligations and with morality subject to religious sanction.” The Court ultimately decided that the displays were unconstitutional because their history and context demonstrated a clear religious purpose and intent on the part of county officials.
In Van Orden v. Perry, the Court considered a 40-year-old granite Ten Commandments monument on the Texas capitol grounds — one of 17 monuments on the broad plaza. Reaching an opposite result, the Court decided that this display is constitutionally permissible. However, Justice Breyer, who cast the deciding vote in the case, characterized the display as “borderline” and found that it served “a mixed but primarily nonreligious purpose.” Significantly, as with the McCreary decision, a majority of the Justices indicated that displays in public schools likely will be unconstitutional. In other situations, a display or posting’s location, history and context will be critical in determining its constitutionality.
These recent decisions mean that — outside the school context — there is no bright-line test for Ten Commandments cases. Rather, the legality of these displays will be decided on a case-by-case basis. Many of them will be found unconstitutional.
Of course, the First Amendment protects the right of any citizen to post the Ten Commandments on private property and to engage in other kinds of private religious expression. There are many places in this country where the Ten Commandments would be welcome and appropriate — houses of worship, private schools and universities, and private parks. Yet supporters of Ten Commandments initiatives are willing to engage in lengthy, costly and divisive legal battles. They ignore Justice O’Connor’s recent warning in the McCreary case that:
Allowing government to be a potential mouthpiece for competing religious ideas risks the sort of division that might easily spill over into suppression of rival beliefs. Tying secular and religious authority together poses risks to both.
True religious liberty means freedom from having the government impose the religion of the majority on all citizens. It is precisely this point that advocates of posting the Ten Commandments are missing.
Damage to Religious Tolerance
Even if posting of the Ten Commandments in public schools, courthouses and other government property was uniformly constitutional, it would still do great damage to religious tolerance in America. Advocates of such proposals assert that these Biblical injunctions are values universally accepted by all Americans. These proponents fail, though, to take into account two crucial facts. First, not all Americans subscribe to religions that follow the Bible or the Ten Commandments. Millions of Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists (among others) in America adhere to religious, ethical and moral traditions that draw from a variety of texts other than the Bible. Second, those religions that do adhere to the Ten Commandments follow very different versions of the laws. The language in the ancient Hebrew text followed by Jews is not the same as the language found in the King James Bible version accepted by some Protestant churches in America today. Further, Catholics and Lutherans follow yet another text altogether. The assumption that government-ordered posting of the Ten Commandments in public places would honor the beliefs of all Americans is itself an act of religious intolerance.
Argument for Posting Based on False Premises
Naturally, in times of crisis, people look to religion for answers. In the wake of the tragedy at Columbine High School, for example, an outcry arose across the country calling for a return to the moral values embodied in our nation’s great religions. Many commentators have suggested that those murders took place because our schools and, more broadly, our nation no longer value the teachings that so many of our religions share: a belief in God, a dedication to prayer and knowledge of the Bible. They argue that if public schools taught these universal values, and if the government affirmed them through legislation, horrific acts such as the Columbine murders would never have taken place.
Many of those promoting government advocacy of religious values have focused their efforts on state-sponsored posting of the Ten Commandments in public places. In 2005, prior to the Supreme Court decisions, Indiana, Mississippi and South Dakota had laws authorizing the posting of the Ten Commandments in public schools or on public property. Furthermore, at least nine states had introduced legislation that would allow — or even require — the Ten Commandments to be posted in public schools, courts, government buildings and other public places. More legislative initiatives may follow the Court’s rulings.
Supporters of government-sponsored posting of the Ten Commandments often base their arguments on false premises. First, they claim that, because of separation of church and state, “it is illegal to pray in schools” and God is not allowed in the public schools. While the First Amendment prohibits organized or coercive prayer in public schools, it protects the right of every student to engage in private personal prayer while on campus. Further, to suggest that God is somehow banned from the lives of public school students and teachers is both logically and theologically ridiculous.
Second, many critics of separation of church and state maintain that Americans no longer take religion as seriously as they used to. In fact, there is little evidence to suggest that religious observance is on the decline in the United States. Indeed, many studies suggest that America is one of the most religious countries in the industrial world.
Ten Commandments Controversies
Proposals to post the Ten Commandments often create wide divisions in communities that are already struggling with profound problems of their own. Opponents of these initiatives — many of whom are deeply religious themselves — are portrayed as being anti-religious freedom or even anti-God. School board meetings and local elections have become battlegrounds over religion rather than over practical issues such as juvenile crime and low test scores.
When an Illinois school board voted unanimously to post the Ten Commandments in public schools, the resulting controversy dominated local politics for months. After several months of acrimonious debate, the school board rescinded the decision in order to avoid a costly lawsuit. Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore posted the Ten Commandments in the state courthouse and refused to remove them even when ordered to do so. In defiance of federal authorities, then-Governor Fob James threatened to use military force to prevent their removal. Moore was eventually removed from the Court for defying the order.
Since federal law allows for religious symbols to be posted on government property if that property is opened to all religious expression, posting the Ten Commandments can have unexpected results. After a Pennsylvania school district announced its decision to allow the Ten Commandments to be posted in a display in school libraries, religious and non-religious groups began clamoring for an equal chance. In addition to the Biblical text, other documents chosen for the display included: a tract from the Wiccan religion; a document discussing gay rights; and an introduction to atheism.
Opposition to state-sponsored posting of the Ten Commandments does not arise out of hostility to the timeless values conveyed in Exodus 20:1-17. Rather, it arises out of a profound respect for the diversity of religions in America today — those that embrace Biblical law and those that derive their ethics and values from other texts. By adhering to the principle and spirit of separation of church and state we best fulfill the Constitution’s legacy of religious liberty for all Americans.
In our everyday life, we use arguments to get our point across even if it is right or wrong. When we win an argument, we feel that we are on top of the world, and whenever we are on the verge of loosing an argument we tend to change the subject or make up things.
To construct an effective argument, you must be skilled in evaluating the effectiveness, or soundness, of arguments that have already been constructed. You must investigate two aspects of each argument independently to determine the soundness of the argument as a whole:
1. How true are the reasons being offered to support the conclusion?
2. To what extent do the reasons support the conclusion, or what extent does the conclusion follow from the reasons offered?
Let’s examine each of these ways of evaluating arguments separately then see how it will work together.
Truth: In an argument, you must first evaluate the reasons of truth that are being used to support a conclusion. Does each reason make sense? What evidence is being offered to support each reason? Do you know each reason to be true based on experience?
Reason: Track and Field Athletes should use performing enhancements as it does not give an edge over another.
Evaluation: This reason would need more evidence to support it as medically there are dangers to the human body from performing enhancements. Some may argue that there are no dangers or risk as other athletes in the past has taking performing enhancements and are alive today with a success past record.
There are two traditional types of argument, deductive and inductive. A deductive argument provides conclusive proof of its conclusions; if the premises are true, the conclusion must also be true. A deductive argument is either valid or invalid.
A valid argument is defined as one where if the premises are true, then the conclusion is true.
An inductive argument is one where the premises provide some evidence for the truth of the conclusion. Inductive arguments are not valid or invalid, but we can talk about whether they are better or worse than other arguments. We can also discuss how probable their premises are.
There are forms of argument in ordinary languages which are neither deductive nor inductive.
Here is an example of a deductive argument:
• Every event has a cause (premise)
• The universe has a beginning (premise)
• All beginnings involve an event (premise)
• This implies that the beginning of the universe involved an event (inference)
• Therefore the universe has a cause (inference and conclusion)
Note that the conclusion of one argument might be a premise in another argument. A proposition can only be called a premise or a conclusion with respect to a particular argument; the terms do not make sense in isolation.
The deductive argument is the one most commonly associated with the study of logic. Though it has a variety of valid forms, they all share one characteristic: If you accept the supporting reasons (also called premises) as true, then you must necessarily accept the conclusion as true.
Reason/Premise: All men are mortal
Reason/Premise: Socrates is a man
Conclusion: Therefore, Socrates is mortal
Argument is a form of thinking in which certain reasons are offered to support a conclusion.
Thinking Critically Tenth Edition by John Chaffee
To get a better understanding of a deductive argument let’s take a look at what an argument actually is. An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition towards an issue, which is a question that is answered by the conclusion of the argument. These statements are premises or reasons which give support to the conclusion of the argument, or the proposition the author is trying to prove. The premises can come in the form of statistics, metaphors, experiments, or analogies.
Deductive arguments are arguments where if the premises are true, then the conclusion of the argument must be true. What makes an argument deductive is the type of form it is in. The different forms of deductive arguments can be seen at www.siue.edu/~wlarkin/teaching/PHIL213/forms.html. All deductive arguments are also valid, which simply means that if the premises are true then the conclusion must be true, and the argument must also be in deductive form to be valid. The truth or falsity of the premise is actually irrelevant when determining if an argument is valid or not. To understand if it is an argument is really valid you must look at it in the sense of, “what if”. If the premises were true, would the conclusion have to be true? For example, you could say, “It is snowing outside, so it is cold outside”. Even if it were 80 degrees and sunny outside at the moment this would still be a valid argument because it does not snow unless it is cold.
In deductive arguments you want to make sure that the conclusion is guaranteed rather than just probable. If the argument is sound, then the truth of the conclusion will be contained within the premises. For an argument to be sound it simply must have premises that are true and be a valid argument. Often times mathematics, definitions, and rules of former logic are used in the premises of a sound deductive argument. While these are not the only pieces of information that can be used in the premises sound deductive arguments are often limited to these because they more commonly contain the truth of the conclusion.
If the premises in an argument only give some support but not definite support to the conclusion then the argument is an inductive argument. If the author of the argument does not definitely establish the truth through the use of the premises, then the argument is inductive. This is the main difference between a deductive and an inductive argument. There are five different types of inductive argument that are not seen in deductive arguments. These are generalization; extending observations of some to an entire class, analogies; showing that something easily understood is similar to something more complex in relevant ways, statistical; inferring that the qualities of the data adequately represent the qualities of the population, higher induction; intellectual reasoning that shows certain things are likely to be true, and hypothesis; systematic process by which a theory is inductively confirmed or falsified.
In conclusion, it is important to remember that what makes an argument deductive is the form of the argument. It is also important to remember that all deductive arguments are valid meaning that the premises of the argument are true so that the conclusion of the argument must be true. Deductive arguments are about proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the conclusion of the argument is true and that it is not just probable or an opinion.
By Daniel Martin
By Mike McLaughlin
Reasoning is using facts and logic to find a conclusion and to have a reason for your conclusion.
Reason is a term that involves the ability to use concepts and logic to form a conclusion. Example: If an individual is given a meaningless set of letters and asked to reorganize them into a word, reasoning is the process by which he or she determines the conclusion. "reason" may also be loosely referred to as thinking, cognition, or problem-solving. -Jackson Hardy
Research involving Neuroscience and Cognitive Psychology has provided the current understanding of "reason" and its origins. In the field of Psychology "Reasoning" is viewed as one aspect of human cognition and brain function that is subject to testing, assessment, and overall scientific explication. According to recent textbooks, "[reasoning] Involves mental processes that are used to form concepts, solve problems, and engage in creative activities."(Plotnik,305) Modern understanding is centered around "Reason" and the brain, noting the physiological nature of our ability to reason in order to further explain the brain and behavior. Reasoning is largely associated with the frontal lobe(part of the cortex). Because human beings have a larger and more highly-developed cortex than any other species, the ability to "reason"in the way we are capableis likely specific to humans. Although, some other mammals possess a cortexsuggesting the possibility for simple reasoning capabilitiesthis cortex is primitive and incapable of providing an experience comparable to the human capacity for "reason," suggesting that the ability to "reason" is quite possibly a specifically human quality, an "integral part of human-nature." -Jackson Hardy
Reason is a term that refers to the capacity human beings have to make sense of things, to establish and verify facts, and to change or justify practices, institutions, and beliefs. It is closely associated with such characteristically human activities as philosophy, science, language, mathematics, and art, and is normally considered to be a definitive characteristic of human nature. The concept of reason is sometimes referred to as rationality and sometimes as discursive reason, in opposition to "intuitive reason".
Reason or "reasoning" is associated with thinking, cognition, and intellect. Reason, like habit or intuition, is one of the ways by which thinking comes from one idea to a related idea. For example, it is the means by which rational beings understand themselves to think about cause and effect, truth and falsehood, and what is good or bad. reasoning that constructs or evaluates propositions that are abstractions of observations. It is commonly construed as a form of reasoning that makes generalizations based on individual instances. The words 'strong' and 'weak' are sometimes used to praise or demean the quality of an inductive argument. The idea is that you say "this is an example of strong induction" when you would decide to believe the conclusion if presented with the premises. Alternatively, you say "that is weak induction" when your particular world view does not allow you to see that the conclusions are likely given the premises. Inductive reasoning is also known as hypothesis construction because any conclusions made are based on educated predictions. There are three biases that could distort the proper application of induction, thereby preventing the reasoner from forming the best, most logical conclusion based on the clues. These biases include the availability bias, the confirmation bias, and the predictable-world bias.
Reasoning can be defined as the capacity human beings have to make sense of things, to establish and verify facts, and to change or justify practices, institutions, and beliefs. Being able to reason well can help you in a lot of different aspects in life such as arguing or basic day to day tasks. While arguing one must use inductive reasoning. While using inductive reasoning a person forms reasons or generalizations based on abstractions of observations or certain instances.
Inductive reasoning can allow for a conclusion to be false even though all premises in the argument are true. For example, if you were to watch a football game and see that there were no women players on either team you might use inductive reasoning to conclude that all football players are men. While this most likely not a true conclusion this is one example of probabilistic reasoning which is a weak type of inductive reasoning. In strong inductive reasoning however, it is still possible to have true premises and a false conclusion. If for example, you take into account Newtonian mechanics which is as follows: gravitational force between two objects= the gravitational constant x the product of the masses/ the distance between them squared. The conclusion of this argument is not absolutely certain, however in most cases that someone might use this equation this formula is pretty accurate except when it comes to certain instances and in that case it is not accurate at all. This is strong inductive reasoning because in most cases this formula would be used for it would remain accurate.
There are several different types of inductive reasoning. The first type is generalization. Generalizations are formed by sampling a portion of the entire population to make a conclusion about the whole population. The next type of inductive reasoning is statistical syllogism. Statistical syllogism uses a generalization of an entire population to form a conclusion about an individual. Another type of inductive reasoning is argument form analogy, which is the process of comparing two or more things and their similarities and then assuming that they share further similarities. Casual inference draws a conclusion about a causal connection based on the conditions of the occurrence of an effect. The last type of inductive reasoning is prediction. Predictions draw a conclusion about a future individual from a past sample.
Many people have attacked the idea of inductive reasoning for many, many years. David Hume argued that our everyday functioning depends on drawing uncertain conclusions from our relatively limited experiences rather than on deductively valid arguments. Inductive reasoning cannot be justified deductively and so the only way to justify inductive reasoning is to justify it inductively. This however, is impossible because it is circular to justify induction inductively meaning it is impossible to justify inductive reasoning.
By Daniel Martin
Seven Keys to Living Creatively in an Uncreative World
You are a Creative Professional – business executive, marketer, technologist, educator, designer, manager, small business owner, organizational leader, psychologist, writer, speaker, coach or consultant – you are today’s knowledge worker. You think and create for a living.You operate in every field and are a crucial part of the advancement of society. You don’t settle. You set higher standards. Driven from within, you strive to improve continually. Your job description may vary, but your mission remains the same: to find new solutions, better ways of being. Deeper meaning and clearer ideas drive you.Modern life, however, commands your attention. Turbulent times brought on by new communication devices, market volatility, the drive to succeed, and the continuous responsibilities of daily living block your natural creative flow.Awash in the current of day-to-day busyness, overwhelmed by the tidal wave of meetings, phone calls, text messages and emails, you unwittingly forfeit your most prized asset: your creativity.With distractions abounding, how do you avoid drowning in the sea of busyness?
Carve Out Creative Space. Modern life doesn’t support creativity. The more technology we have, the more distracted we become. The human mind favors a quiet space to create. Set up the conditions necessary for a creative, inspiring environment.
• Block off sacred “creative time” on your calendar, and honor that time like you would a doctor’s appointment or an important meeting.
• If you’re “creating” at your desk, close your email program and shut off your cell phone – and the ringer on your landline, too.
• If possible, shut your office door to mute the distractions of people stopping by or talking in the hallway.
• Plan escapes from your usual work environment. Corporate culture assumes that if you’re not in the office, you’re not working. But how many creative ideas come to you while staring at your computer in a cubicle or office? Perhaps there’s good reason why great ideas get sketched on paper napkins in coffee shops.
Welcome the Wanderer. Reflection need not be the exclusive enjoyment of poets and artists. Creative work requires an inner space for the mind to wander aimlessly. Occasional periods of reverie allow thoughts to incubate and form new connections, yet the value and significance of this reflective state is not acknowledged in modern culture. Our fanatical focus on constant activity stifles creativity, leaving the Wanderer no room to explore.Learn to simply stop and listen. Appreciate the innate beauty around you; feel grateful for your existence. Seek natural surroundings. Hear the chorus of rustling leaves, the cadence of people walking. Find your inner center. Allow your thoughts to sink into the ocean depths. Welcome the Wanderer and his creative renaissance back into your life.Elevate your Consciousness. Psychiatrist and consciousness researcher David R. Hawkins, author of the bestseller Power vs. Force, reveals that creativity comes from a higher level of consciousness. The works of “creative geniuses” tend to be aligned to powerful energy fields, the same fields associated with love, gratitude and devotion.How do you elevate your consciousness to align to fields that induce high-powered creativity? Live by basic spiritual dictums: Be kind to everything and everyone, including yourself; revere all life; approach all of life with humility. Devote time to something greater than yourself – your family, a loved one, humanity or divinity.Embrace Problems. Problems are the life force of creative endeavor, not the enemy. Without problems, we wouldn’t innovate. We have a tendency, however, to resist problems. Learning to let go of our resistance to problems allows us to harness creative tension. Learn to love the “unanswerable” questions. Embrace failure as a launching pad for success.
Revitalize your Physical Energy. The relationship between creative endeavor and physical energy is often understated. How can we expect to produce creative work when we’re sluggish or stressed?
• Take a break. Get up and stretch. Move. Stagnation hinders ideation.
• Breathe deeply and consciously – especially during your creative time.
• Drink water throughout the day. Many of us live in a continual state of dehydration. Physiological stress induced by dehydration makes it difficult to focus and think clearly.
• Sit up straight. Slouching collapses your diaphragm and leads to shallow breathing, disrupting the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide needed for relaxation. Before you know it, lethargy sets in and a nap becomes more desirable than creative work.
• Pay attention to your blood-sugar levels. When you feel your brain “check out,” have a piece of fruit, an energy bar or a handful of mixed nuts to give you some energy.
Praise the Muse. Creative geniuses generally don’t take credit for their work; instead, they credit a “higher power” as the source of their inspiration. William Blake called it “Poetic Genius.” Puccini said his greatest opera Madame Butterfly was “dictated to me by God.” Both Brahms and Beethoven appealed directly to the “Creator Himself.” And, in recounting his experience with the creative process, Mozart said, “What has been thus produced I do not easily forget, and this is perhaps the best gift I have my Divine Maker to thank for.”Creative professionals need not wrestle between the polarities of false modesty and overt narcissism. If your thoughts aren’t personal, can you take credit for them as “mine”? Humility is the trademark of creative genius – available to all, accepted by the treasured few. So praise the Muse, not oneself.Champion a Positive Attitude. In our culture of cynics and critics, the creative professional must guard their creative space and the rituals that support it. Naysayers ignorantly block the manifestation of creative thoughts. Rise above pervasive negativity to a domain where few travel. The domain of optimism is often barren of people, yet bountiful in creative inspiration. Creative ideas arise from minds that allow them. This doesn’t mean optimists can’t also be realistic – practical optimism serves an important function in ideation when combined with patience and perseverance. Trust that you’ll find creative solutions. Transcend negativity with a simple smile. A positive attitude may not make you popular with certain friends and colleagues, but it will help you foster a Creative Life of greater fulfillment.The Creative Life is calling to you and an ocean of potential with untold treasures awaits. Be the creative soul courageous enough to sail its waters and tame the aquatic beasts that rule the domain of busyness, demands and delusions.
Everything you need is within you. Your creative adventure lies ahead
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