PHL1010 Columbia Southern Unit IV Becoming a Good Thinker Paper Unit IVAssignment Becoming a Good Thinker The goal of this assignment is to progress as a questioner and, therefore, as a thinker. For this assignment, select an important problem faced by society today (e.g., income inequality, gun violence, online privacy), and construct three questions that will result in critical thinking using the assignment template. In the template, under the first column, provide your own original questions related to your chosen important problem. In the second column, identify the domain of thinking. Examples of these can be found on pages 139–140 of your textbook. In the third column, list the intellectual standards and element of thought that relates to your question. Briefly explain why the question is important in this context (i.e., the elements of thought or reasoning that led you to this thinking). The eight elements of thought can be found beginning on page 62 of your textbook. The intellectual standards are on page 58 of your textbook and are defined on page 103. In the fourth column, label your question as fact, preference, or judgment. This information can be located on pages 126–127 of your textbook. Name:
Example Important Problem: Ocean Pollution
Domain of Thinking
Example: What is the
leading cause of
pollution in the world’s
oceans and its impact
on ocean life?
The intellectual standard
related to this question is
clarity because in order to
understand why the
oceans are polluted, it is
important to be specific
about what is polluting
them. The element of
thought would be
information since the data
and facts of what causes
ocean pollution would
lead to further ecological
questions about when
enough data is
understood, and the goal
of cleaning them up can be
Fact, Preference, or
Focus Your Questions on Prior Questions
disciplining our thinking is to construct prior questions
Whenever we are dealing with complex questions, another tool that is useful
question, “What is multiculturalism?” we should be able first to settle the question
to answer before we can answer a more complex question. Hence, to answer the
the factors about a person that determine what culture he or she belongs to? When
“What is culture?” To settle that question, we should settle the question, “What are
you learn to formulate and pursue prior questions, you have another important
To construct a list of prior questions, simply write down the main question
you are going to focus your discussion and then formulate as many
questions as you can think of that you would have to answer before you could
answer the first. Then determine from this list what question you would have to
“idea” you can use to develop your ability to learn in any context.
answer to answer these questions
. Continue following the same procedure for
As you construct your list, keep your attention focused on the first question
on the list as well as on the last. If you do this well
, you should end up with a lie
of questions that probe the logic of the first question. As an example of how to
construct logically prior questions, consider this list of questions we would need
to answer to address the larger question, “What is history?”
What do historians write about?
What is “the past”?
• Is it possible to include all of the past in a history book?
. How many of the events during a given time period are left out in a history of
that time period?
Is more left out than is included?
How does a historian know what to emphasize?
Do historians make value judgments in deciding what to include and what to
Is it possible simply to list facts in a history book, or does all history writing
involve interpretations as well as facts?
• Is it possible to decide what to include and exclude and how to interpret facts
without adopting a historical point of view?
How can we begin to judge a historical interpretation?
How can we begin to judge a historical point of view?
The best questions are
those that keep us focused
on achieving our most
whenever you need to answer a complicated question. You will notice you
significant goals and
e practiced formulating prior questions to complex ques-
tions, you will begin to develop a Socratic questioning tool you can use
mind coming up with questions that are inherent in other questions. You are
unpacking questions to answer them better. You should also then begin to
recognize when others are failing to consider the complexities in a question
ASK QUESTIONS THAT LEAD to Goo THINKING
6.9 Think for Yourself
CONSTRUCTING A LIST OF PRIOR QUESTIONS
ormulate a complex question to which you would like to find an answer. Then use the
in light of the prior questions you formulated.
Afterward. see if you have gained insight into how the first question has to be thought through
procedure of constructing prior questions until you have a list of at least 10 questions.
Focus Your Questions on Domains of Thinking
of thought, you can target your prior questions by figuring out the domains of
thinking inherent in the question. Does the complex question, for example, include
dimension of thinking inherent in the question, you can formulate questions that
cal, ethical, psychological, religious, historical, or some other dimension? For each
an economic dimension? Does it include a biological, sociological, cultural, politi-
force you to consider complexities you otherwise may miss. Consider the follow-
questions imbedded in those domains.
ing question, some of the domains imbedded in the question, and some of the
Complex question: What can be done about the number of people who abuse
Domains inherent in the question, along with some questions we would
have to address within each domain before we could answer our complex ques-
What economic forces support drug use?
• What can be done to minimize the influence of money involved in drug
• What possible solutions to drug abuse are politically unacceptable?
• Are there any realistic solutions that the power structure would accept?
To what extent does the political structure exacerbate the problem?
• What social structures and practices support drug abuse?
How does gang membership contribute to drug abuse?
” How does membership within any group contribute to the problem or,
conversely, insulate group members from abusing drugs?
How do factors such as stress, individual personality differences, and
childhood traumas support drug abuse?
What role, if any, does human irrationality play in drug abuse?
EXHIBIT 4.4 All thinking is defined by the eight elements that comprise it.
Eight basic structures are present in all thinking: Whenever we think, we think for a purpose within a
and theories to interpret data, facts, and experiences to answer questions, solve problems, and resolve
point of view based on assumptions leading to implications and consequences. We use concepts, ideas
we act, e
Point of View
frames of reference, goal,
that which follows
data, facts, reasons
embodies a point of view
Let us now examine, at least provisionally, each of these crucial concepts
will be using them throughout this book, so it is essential for them to becom
a comfortable part of your own critical thinking vocabulary. As you read the
initial explanations, see whether you can elaborate upon them in your own won
with an example drawn from your own experience.
By reasoning, we mean to make sense of something by giving it some medias
in one’s mind. Virtually all thinking is part of our sense-making activities. We ha
scratching at the door and think, “It’s the dog.” We see dark clouds in the skran
For example, all the sights and sounds about me have meaning for me
think, “It looks like rain.” Some of this activity operates at a subconscious leve
my explicitly noticing that they do. Most of our reasoning is unspectacular
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