May 03, 2014

Update to Action Point 1 of Critical Thinking

Follow-up to First entry on Introduction to critical thinking from David's blog

My First action point for the Introduction to Critical Thinking Workshop was to critically analyse historians' arguments within my research.

I have just completed my Spring term essay on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the beginning of the Summer Term. Having written 5,000 words on the subject, a lot of research went into my work which in turn allowed me to compare and contrast many different historians' points of view. My essay tried to answer whether or not the declaration was a document inspired by good human sentiment or whether it was a mere conservate power tool.

With the origins and motivations behind Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 being a highly contentious historical issue, my research comprised of hugely contrasting sources. Because the UN Declaration and its political organs are so hotly contested, it seems human rights historians had very polarized views on the same issue.

These two camps of historical analysis allowed me to compare one historian's take of the declaration to another. Likewise I could compare historians within the same historical camp and see how their arguments resembled each other or differed.

By doing this comparison, I found similarly constructed arguments with similar logical steps. I also found out which arguments were the most effective and logical on both sides of the argument. Moreover by comparing the best arguments from both sides of the argument, I found out how to effectively argue different points of view from the same issue.

This comparison of historical arguments has taught me how important it is to take a different perspectives on one subject. Furthermore, by comparing and engaging with conflicting arguments, I found that my final conclusion (that the Universal declaration was indeed a product of a conservative order but still contained deeply felt human sentiment) was a more accomplished, balanced and logical ending to my overall thesis. Arguments are strongest when they have been scrutinized and been through critical analysis from different angles of thought.

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  1. Lisa Faulkner

    Hello again David,

    It’s great to see that you’ve been able to analyse and compare such a range of arguments over the past few weeks and that this has helped you to understand how you can build stronger arguments yourself. It sounds like you’ve made really good progress against your first action point.

    I look forward to reading your next entry to hear how you’re getting on.

    All the best,

    09 May 2014, 15:42

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