Lecture Notes.
 
  

 
Module Three: Session One

Developing a Critical Thinking Attitude

Introduction(1)

  • When you hear a message that you don't agree with, how do you respond? How do you respond when you hear a message with which you do agree? Are your responses different? If you are like most people, then your reactions will be quite different.
  • Now ask yourself why you react differently? What is the result of your attitude?
  • Chances are that if you already have a propensity for agreeing with the message, you will let your guard down. You will tend to accept the message uncritically. On the other hand, if you have a propensity to disagreeing with a position at the outset, then you will mentally "shut down." You won't even hear the message, much less consider the possibility that it has merit.
  • Let's test this.
    • What do you do when the Jehovah's Witnesses come to your door? Have you ever listened to what they say? Could they be right? How do you know? How could you know?
    • What do you do when you hear an environmentalist speaking? What if the person is a Republican? What if they're a Democrat? What if the person is speaking against abortion? What if they are speaking in favor of legalized abortion?
    • Now consider your feelings as you read across the list of questions. Those feelings are interfering with your ability to reason fairly about these things.

What this module will cover.

  • Psychological Barriers to Logical Thinking, including...
    • Egocentrism, Ethnocentrism, and Sociocentrism
    • Egocentrism
  • Resistance to Change and its affect on reasoning, including...
    • Insecurity and Fear
    • Fear and Tradition
    • Conformity
    • Pressures to Conform
    • "Groupthink"
    • Face-Saving
    • Rationalizing

    Ruggiero, Vincent, Beyond Feelings (Mountain View: Mayfield, 1995).
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