All entries for Sunday 06 April 2014
April 06, 2014
Workshop Tutor: Lisa Faulkner
In the Critical Thinking Workshop, we were shown the importance of thinking critically at MA level. We were shown that critical evaluation was perhaps the key aspect of a Masters Degree.
In order to practice our critical skills, we were firstly given example job adverts to scrutinize. After that, we were given passages of texts that described human behaviour in different species of birds. Our task was to decifer what was plausible and what was not plausible.
We were then taken through example exercises of logical or illogical statements. Bearing in mind the validity of arguments, our task was to work out what was a logical statement and what was an illogical statement. We learnt that even if an argument were invalid, it coud still be logical as long as the conclusion followed its premises. In order to challenge us further, we were shown even more complicated examples which could be construed in different ways. In a similarly difficult manner, our next task was to work out the premises and conclusion of an argument from a passage, no matter how muddled it was.
The workshop ended by showing some of the most common logical fallacies people use in everyday arguments and discussions. We left the workshop with a sheet of example exercises to do at home, in order to improve our critical deciphering of illogical arguments.
I believe the workshop gave a good summary of the importance of critical thinking in a Masters degree and in every day life in general. The workshop gave us the critical and analytical tools in order to evaluate what are strong and weak statements as well as what are logical and illogical arguments.
My First Action Point will be to see how writers construct their arguments and to see whether or not they are always logical in the next 3 to 4 weeks.
While reading and researching for my remaining essay and dissertation, in the next 3 to 4 weeks I will try to critically evaluate how history writers construct and argue their points and whether they do it effectively or not.
My Second Action point will be to complete the exercise sheet on logical fallacies and try to identify these in every day debates over the next 4 to 5 weeks.
My Third Action Point will be to analyse and challenge political debates and discussions on tv and radio over the next 5 to 6 weeks.
Closely linked to my Second Action Point, I will try to challenge the arguments I read in history books and the arguments I hear on the radio and tv. By challenging arguments such as political debates, I will be able to see if they really stack up and then conclude whether or not they are strong or weak arguments.
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