Critical Thinking and Understanding Arguments | Fadi Khoury, MSc | Skillshare

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Critical Thinking and Understanding Arguments

teacher avatar Fadi Khoury, MSc, Business & Technology Professional

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

18 Lessons (29m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. What is critical thinking

    • 3. What makes it important

    • 4. It's not negativity

    • 5. Mindset

    • 6. Cognitive Bias

    • 7. Cognitive bias types

    • 8. Reducing Bias in yourself

    • 9. Critical thinking process

    • 10. Understanding randomness

    • 11. Question everything

    • 12. When it's out of your control

    • 13. Alternatives and opportunity cost

    • 14. What is an argument

    • 15. Standard form argument

    • 16. Purpose of arguments

    • 17. Argument analysis

    • 18. Wrap up

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About This Class

In this course you will learn the fundamentals of Critical Thinking, the mindset of a critical thinker, and the process used when analyzing arguments.

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Fadi Khoury, MSc

Business & Technology Professional


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1. Introduction: Hello, everyone, and welcome to the scores on critical thinking and understanding arguments. We will be discussing interesting points on what makes a critical thinker and how you can become one. Critical thinking is one off the top five most wanted skills in 2020 that employers would look for when searching for candidates. I have boiled it down to its a sense. So I hope you enjoy this lesson and walk away with a lot off new things that you can apply in real life. So here's the high level overview about what we will be discussing. First, we will define critical thinking. Then we will talk about why it's so important toe have such skill. We will then discuss the critical thinkers mindset, then move to discussing the bias. This is a very important component in critical thinking. Finally, we will talk about arguments and their purpose. I'm really, really excited, So see you next to start our course 2. What is critical thinking: Hello again. So what is critical thinking? By definition, critical thinking is the analysis off facts toe for a judgment that is done by following a specific process. We will discuss the process later in Destructor. But there's one thing that a critical thinker needs to watch out carefully, and that is the bias when in the reasoning process you have to keep the bias as low as possible. But he doesn't think philosophic ing speaking. Performing 100% critical thinking is impossible because off that by us. So what a critical thinking I think I can do is to pull himself out of that box and look at the big picture from far. I actually do this trick when in meetings I imagine the meeting room as a tissue box. Don't ask me why a tissue box because I have no clue and we are all sitting in it. Then I imagine myself getting out of it and looking at everyone from the outside, that really helps me formulate a more rational approach to the situation. You can try it the next time you are in a meeting, discussing a specific subject with many opinions on the table We will go through the bias during this course and see how we can minimize its effects. Thank you for watching and see you next. 3. What makes it important: Hello again. So why is critical thinking so important? According to many studies in the top 10 most Wanted skills for 2020 critical thinking comes second after complex problem solving so and which, by the way, requires critical thinking to you can't solve a problem without critical thinking right. By becoming a critical thinker, you will be able to understand the logical connections between ideas, then identify and construct arguments which argument actually makes sense and which doesn't detect inconsistencies. The reasoning. This is my favorite. I love detecting inconsistencies. Reasonings were listening to someone and then decide whether it makes sense or not. Then critical thinking will help you solve problems systematically and identify the importance off ideas. So as you can clearly see, having the ability to think critically gives us a big advantage to perceive things differently. Thank you for watching and see you in the next video 4. It's not negativity: hello and welcome to this video. Many people confuse critical thinking with negativity, and that's a big mistake. They might even confuse it with being judgmental, mostly due to the interrogation a critical thinking does and the amount of questions he might ask, which is often negatively perceived. But think about it for a moment. Don't we always need to make a judgment? Mind you, the judgment here is not like judging people. The real meaning here is a proper, informed, well or analyzed conclusion to a situation. Many times when we had approached with an idea, for example, we are expected to just say yes, that's a great idea and accept the idea without questioning. When we start questioning, many would interpret questioning as being negative. Don't be afraid of that and always explain why you are asking so many questions. A critical thinker triggers the thinking process in others as well, and nothing is as good as asking the right questions. To do that. I usually start my questioning process by saying the following Well, allow me to play the Devil's Advocate for a while. I want to ask few questions just to make sure that I'm helping you out. Validate your idea. Is that okay? Doing this will allow you to accomplish three things. One to actively seek all sides off the argument. That's the soundness of the claims made. And that's the soundness off the evidence used to support the claim. This has always worked for me. Maybe you can try it. Thank you for watching and see you in the next video. 5. Mindset: Hello again. So what makes a great critical thinker? This is what we are going to discuss. In this lesson, critical thinkers have a very unique mindset with five essential thinking skills that gives them the ability to reach two solid conclusions. First, they are curious and always seek the truth. You know that even Albert Einstein, who was one of the greatest minds that ever existed, said about himself. I'm neither clear, clever, nor especially gifted. I'm only very, very curious. That makes a lot of sense, right? Because curiosity needs to questions and questions need toe research and research leads to answers. So everything starts with a question. Second, there are objective in that evaluation. Now, absolute objectivity does not really exist. But a critical thinker will try to separate himself from anything that could skew his reasoning. Thirdly, he can connect ideas. I'm sure you had many discussions where you were like, huh? What in the world is this guy talking about? You felt a great disconnection between the ideas discussed. They just did not connect. Well, A critical thinker knows how to connect his ideas to formulate a strong argument. Fourth, a critical thinker has an open mind and a willingness to put his ideas and believes toe the challenge. He doesn't just hold on to his position for the sake off, proving that he's right and finally, a critical thinker basis. Any decision he makes on evidences, he carefully analyzes arguments to make objective conclusions. So those are the five essential thinking skills for the critical thinkers mindset. Thank you for watching and see you next. 6. Cognitive Bias: Hello again. In this lesson, we will discuss the cognitive by us, and that's something we must learn how to deal with if we want to become critical thinkers . Remember the video where we defined critical thinking? We mentioned the by us with three red lines under it, and that's because it's super important. So what is cognitive bias as defined in Wikipedia? A cognitive by us is a systematic pattern off deviation from north or rationality in judgment. Individuals create their own subjective reality from their perception off the input. An individual construction off reality, not the objective import may dictate their behavior in the world. So in other words, it's when individual constructs his own reality by ignoring objective inputs and solid facts. Let's take an example. Have you heard off the flat Earth Society? If not, those are people who still believe that Earth is just flat, basically deny that anyone has actually made it to space to prove that Earth isn't flat. Please note that this is for the sake off an example as discourse is not intended to prove the shape of earth. An argument with a flat earth believer is highly deviated by what is called a confirmation by us, and that's because the person is not seeking objective facts or interprets information just to support his existing beliefs. He remembers details that uphold his beliefs and ignore solid facts that challenge his believes once by us, critical thinking doesn't exist anymore, and that's why we need to watch out from the bias all the time. Thank you for watching and see you next. 7. Cognitive bias types: Hello again. We have learned in the previous lesson about cognitive by us, and now it's time to see some off its types. There are multiple multiple types off by us. So for the sake off simplicity, we will explore five of them. The first is the climbing by us, and that's when a person's position is based on what someone else said. Remember that as a critical thinker, you must question and analyze everything, regardless off whose statement it is, even if the person is the world's subject expert. The second is the confirmation by us, and that's when the person looks for anything that supports what he believes to be true or force. Thirdly, comes the affinity by us. So this is when we are by us towards people like ourselves. This regarding objective facts. Fourth is the self serving by us, and that's when someone takes responsibility for success. Only failure is not his fault, so any information evaluation has to be beneficial to him. Finally, we have the belief by us, and as the name suggests, that's when someone believes dictate over anything else. Thank you for watching and see you next 8. Reducing Bias in yourself: Hello again. In this lesson, we will talk about the steps that you can take to reduce the bias in yourself during your reasoning process. The first thing toe always do is to hit the post button for a moment and ask yourself the question. Am I being affected by anything? Is my reasoning being deviated? This is how you spot it by us trigger. Once the bios triggered is spotted, you need to understand its nature and develop an awareness about what could be causing it. Is it because of your beliefs on any other type of by us that we discussed earlier? Once done, you will then decide toe correct the bias, followed by an assessment of the magnitude and direction off this bias. Now it's time to apply the biasing using a device ing technique before formulating your final judgment. Thank you for watching and see you next 9. Critical thinking process: Hello, Wigan. We will now talk about the process to formulate a critical thinking approach. This is a five steps process that starts with identification. The first step in the critical thinking process is to identify the situation or problem as well as the factors that may influence it. Once you have a real clear picture off the situation and the people groups or factors that may be influenced, you can then begin to dive deeper into the issue and its potential solutions. Second is the analysis. Now you have identified the factors and the people, so it's time to move to analyzing situation. The cause is possible outcomes and effects. Thirdly, it comes the reflective thinking, John the way an American philosopher and psychologists suggest that reflective think thinking is an active, persistent and careful consideration off, believe or supposed form of knowledge off the ground. That's supposed that knowledge and the further conclusion toe, which that knowledge leads. In other words, this is the step where we consider our beliefs and their impact on our conclusions. Fourth is the timeto evaluate here. You examine your arguments by weighing them based on hard facts, and lastly, you can now reason to conclude with a final decision or judgment. This is the complete process off critical thinking. You can start using it to make better arguments. Thank you and see you in the next video. 10. Understanding randomness: when come again. I can't imagine critical thinking without area understanding or friend Numbness. I have a published book on Kindle on Amazon that talks about randomness. So what is it with randomness? And how does this connect to critical thinking? I think that a critical thinker must be aware off all the circumstances. What effects? What and how they affect takes place. So what are the main factors off randomness that we should be aware off as critical thinkers? Our actions are subject toe end number off random events that manipulates the end result, including our mood and our state of mind. At any point, a change in the initial state or in any off the following states doesn't necessarily lead to a change in the end result. So please keep those in mind. Thank you and see you in the next video. 11. Question everything: hello again. Are you a kind of a person who questions things around or you just tend to accept them as they are? Albert Einstein, Saiz The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing questioning. Is the court that critical thinking is built around? When you question, you do two important things. First, you trigger the thinking and reasoning process in yourself and in others, mind you, that many people hate this trigger to go off. I have been in conversations where the other side pulled out because of questions that I raised and he couldn't answer or reason. I like it because a simple question can either set you toe a whole level, often interesting conversation. Or it would just save you a valuable time that could have been just wasted. Second, questioning Gilles assumptions. And that's the beauty here because when you question, you should expect an answer, and answers save you from making false assumptions. So don't put any barriers that could stop you from seeking answers, because if you do, you are no longer performing critical thinking. Thank you for watching and see you next 12. When it's out of your control: Hello and welcome again. A critical thinker must realize that not everything can be controlled. And that's by understanding the effect off randomness that we discussed earlier. Dwelling on uncontrollable situations is a pure time mood and health killer. So let's have a look at the three spheres off control to explain that the first fear is everything that we can control. Now you can argue that nothing can be under our control in its absolute meaning. But let's keep it this way for the sake off demonstration. Second is the larger area off things that we can influence. They're not totally controlled by us, but we can certainly have a degree off influence on their outcome. Finally, the largest fear contains everything that is out of our control. No matter what we do, there are some things that won't change. They're completely out off our control zone. Our objective is to stay focused on what can be controlled, and that would eventually lead to a satisfactory outcome. Yes, we should account for risks that could occur from uncontrollable events. But when in our thinking process, we should separate controllable things from the uncle troll a bill in a way that our thinking efforts are pointing at what we can control or at least influence. I hope you like the video and see you the next one. 13. Alternatives and opportunity cost: hello and welcome again. In this video, we will talk about how to evaluate alternatives and explain the opportunity cost with an example. So let's start with alternatives evaluation Whenever we want to make a decision, we always have alternatives to decide upon right. So which by should we should me take? And what decision is the most beneficial to us? Well, the first thing always to do is to list all of the options that you have probably the most realistic options and not every single option possible. Then start a comparison. Could be quantitative or qualitative toe. Identify the most suitable ones by eliminating those that are not really considered beneficial. So now we are left with few options to make a decision, and it's time to go for another, another round off evaluation to pick the best option with the final decision. So now that you have made your decision, let's talk about the opportunity cost. Let's say you're deciding on where to spend two hours off your time. You have listed many options, but your top three at the end where first studying or something to get better grades. Ah, second is toe. Have some fun or to spend them learning in your skill. Based on this ranking, we can plot the following graph with the top two options. Since you have decided to spend the two hours studying your opportunity, Europa City cost is nothing but the next best alternative for gun, which is in this case, the loss off Two hours off leisure and fun. Hope this example have to better understand Thank you and see you in the next video. 14. What is an argument: hello again. In this lesson, we will talk about arguments and how to understand them. Arguments are key in critical thinking as many things evolved around them. It all depends on whether your arguments are strong or not. Let us start with what arguments are. Not way. We often use the word arguing to describe a situation when a husband and wife are having a terrible fight. Needless to say, this is not an argument. Also, arguments his are not defined by verbal abuse. So what is an argument? Well, let's tackle it with an example. Here's the question. Do you think computers would take over the world in the next 50 years? We have two possible sets off arguments here. It's either a yes, because they know because So what do you think off? Yes, because they can compute really fast or no, because there are just a piece of metal. Those are not really arguments, right, because those are facts that we all know and don't really formulate a good reasoning. Instead, here's what an argument could look like. Yes, because of the following. Looking at the pace at which machine learning capabilities is progressing and looking at the could I see a big possibility off that happening? Look at driverless cars. We could give away our steering wheels in a decade. Imagine how that would look like 50 years from now. What? No, because I don't see a sign off Machines being ableto totally imitate the humans thinking. Yes, machine learning and artificial intelligence have taken us to a complete new level, but I don't see that happening at a large scale. It will remain just bits and pieces. You are right about driverless cars, but that just doesn't say anything about taking over the world. It's just about computing power. How we leave a link to a funny video about arguments. Please make sure you watch it. It really explains what is an argument and what it is not in a very pleasant and funny way . I hope you like this lesson and see you in the next one 15. Standard form argument: Hello and welcome again. In this lesson, we will talk about how a simple argument is usually structured. So let's have a look at an example. The example is about domestic mathematicians. You know, pretty much that everyone in the world assumed that mathematicians are smart, right? So we can say all mathematicians are smart to John is a mathematician. Therefore, John Smart notice how the argument is structured. Here we have what we call the prophecies, and we have at the end, the conclusion when our argument is written this way, we call it a standard for there's another way to right this same argument by saying, is John Smart? Of course he's a mathematician, isn't he? So notice here how much easier it is to see the structure off the argument when it's written in a standard form. Compared to the second way off writing where you need to infer the conclusion. Hope this example explains the standard for arguments and their structure. Thank you and see you next 16. Purpose of arguments: hello again. So now we understand what arguments are. But what's the purpose off arguments? That's what we are going to discuss in this lesson. So let's take an example off a move by phone. A salesman would try to persuade you to buy this phone. Using some arguments like this is the best in the market because off its camera speed processing power, etcetera. Now those arguments don't have to be necessary. Truth the salesman might use to or false or maybe a mix off arguments to get you to buy the phone. So that's the first purpose is to persuade the 2nd 1 is toe Justify. This could be, for example, your friends telling you why you should or should not by the phone. He helped to just a final decision, and he might use the same arguments the salesman used, but for a whole different purpose. Lastly, is the explain. You might as well use arguments to explain something. The difference between explain and justify is that you explain something that you and the other side agree on it as a fact. For example, the phone is was selected the phone of the year by a major Tech Journal. You could explain why the journal came to this conclusion using your arguments. So those are the three purposes off arguments. Thank you for for watching. See you next. 17. Argument analysis: Hello and welcome again and this. Listen, we'll talk about the argument analysis. So what steps should be taken to analyze arguments? Let's start with the 1st 1 So first we need to read the arguments and instructions carefully. Then we look at identifying claims and assumptions, So we need to identify the arguments, claims conclusions and or the light underlying assumptions. Then we need toe evaluate their quality. After that, we have to think off what specific additional evidence might weaken or lend support toe those claims. And lastly, don't forget to ask yourself what changes in the argument would make the reasoning ward sound. I hope you like this lesson. Thank you and see you in the next one. 18. Wrap up: Hello again. With this wrap up, we conclude this crash course. So what did we learn? We have defined critical thinking and spoke Why it's so important to possess this skill today with them. Looked at the critical thinkers mindset with the five essential thinking skills. If you remember, then we moved to discussing the most important component in critical thinking. And this is the bias. This is something you need to learn how to deal with. If you learn how to control your by us, you are definitely on the right path towards becoming a great critical thinker. After that, we went through the process off critical thinking. If you remember, identify on allies, reflect, evaluate and at the end is the reasoning to reason before finishing up by talking about arguments and there types. I hope you have learned a lot off new things in this course and thank you again for taking