Week 4 assignment
Assignment 1: Conflicting Viewpoints Essay
Due Week 4 and worth 130 points
When looking for information about a particular issue, how often do you try to resist confirmation bias by seeking out sources that might contradict your own point of view? This assignment asks you to engage in this aspect of critical thinking. This assignment is divided into two (2) parts. In Part I of the assignment, you will read a book excerpt about critical thinking processes, review one (1) Website in order to gather information, and engage in pre-writing to examine your thoughts. In Part II of the assignment, you will write an essay geared towards synthesizing your ideas. As author E.M. Forster said, “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?”
Preparation and Pre-writing: Follow the steps below to explore an issue through reading and writing –
1. Read “The Believing Game and How to Make Conflicting Opinions More Fruitful” by Peter Elbow at http://www.procon.org/sourcefiles/believinggame.pdf. Devise strategies for playing the “Believing Game” and the “Doubting Game,” which are discussed in the Elbow article. According to the article, “the doubting game represents the kind of thinking most widely honored and taught. It’s the disciplined practice of trying to be as skeptical and analytic as possible with every idea we encounter. The believing game is the mirror image of the doubting game or critical thinking. It’s the disciplined practice of trying to be as welcoming as possible to every idea we encounter.”
2. Select one (1) of the issues from ProCon.org that your professor has approved as a topic choice for your essay. Go to www.procon.org, scroll to the list of issues, click on the issue you selected, and read the background information section on the issue.
a. To play the “Believing Game,” read either the Pro section or the Con section on the www.procon.org Website – whichever argument is in opposition to your position on the chosen issue. Consider at least three (3) of the premises (reasons) listed in that section. Apply the “believing” questions suggested by Elbow, such as “What’s interesting or helpful about the view? What would you notice if you believed this view? … In what sense or under what conditions might this idea be true?”
b. To play the “Doubting Game,” read either the Pro column or the Con column on the www.procon.org Website – whichever argument is in agreement with your position. Consider at least three (3) of the premises (reasons) listed in that section. Apply the “doubting” questions suggested by Elbow, such as the journalistic questions who, what, when, where, why, how.
Synthesizing and Writing: Now that you have examined your thinking about an issue by pre-writing about your ideas –
Write a three to four (3-4) page paper in which you:
1. Present an argument on an issue by stating your conclusion and identifying your premises.
2. Identify three (3) premises of the argument in opposition to your conclusion, and describe your reactions to these premises, based on the believing questions suggested by Elbow, such as “What’s interesting or helpful about the view? What would you notice if you believed this view? In what sense or under what conditions might this idea be true?”
3. Identify three (3) premises of the argument in agreement with your conclusion, and explain your responses to the journalistic questions you asked in order to probe these premises, based on the doubting questions suggested by Elbow, such as the journalistic questions who, what, when, where, why, and how.
4. Examine at least three (3) types of biases that you likely experienced when you read the premises on the Pro side of the argument and the premises on the Con side of the argument. (Note: Refer to the specific types of biases discussed in Chapter 2 of the Webtext.)
5. Describe whether or not your position on the issue has changed. Indicate whether or not your premises supporting the issue have changed. Explain why or why not.
The paper should follow guidelines for clear and organized writing:
· Include an introductory paragraph and concluding paragraph.
· Address main ideas in body paragraphs with a topic sentence and supporting sentences.
· Adhere to standard rules of English grammar, punctuation, mechanics, and spelling.
Assignment 2: Problem Solving
Due Week 9 and worth 150 points
When faced with a problem, what do you do to solve it? Assignment 2 asks you to apply a systematic approach to problem solving. This assignment is divided into two (2) parts. In Part I, of the assignment, you will read three (3) articles that present variations on step-by-step problem solving strategies and then select one (1) of these strategies; you will engage in pre-writing to develop a solution to a problem scenario. In Part II of the assignment, you will write a paper that presents a synthesis of your ideas about solving the problem.As Voltaire said, “No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking.”
Preparation and Pre-writing: Follow the steps below to explore a problem through reading and writing –
1. Choose one (1) of the problem scenarios as a topic choice for your paper (Note: Your professor must approve your topic choice before you begin work on the assignment.).
Scenario 1: You have worked at your company for eleven (11) years. You have returned to college to earn a Bachelor’s degree in order to increase your chances for a promotion. You are nearly finished with your degree; a supervisor’s position in a competing company becomes available in another state. The start date is in two (2) weeks, during your final exam period for your courses. The position offers a $15,000 per year salary increase, a car allowance, and relocation expenses. Your former supervisor works for the company and is recommending you for the position based on your outstanding job performance; if you want the job, it’s yours. All of the other supervisors at this level in the company have Master’s degrees. You know that you would be expected to earn your Bachelor’s degree and continue on to a Master’s degree. Your present company offers tuition reimbursement, but the new company does not.
Scenario 2: Your child comes home from school with an assignment sheet for a school project. He / she is very excited about the project and begins work immediately, doing research on the Internet and gathering materials. You read over the assignment sheet and notice that your child is not including all of the required items in the project, and you have some ideas for how to improve the quality of the presentation. You recently read an article in a parenting magazine about the importance of a child developing responsibility for his / her own learning. You recall the many ways in which your parents took over your school projects. You, on the other hand, want to encourage your child’s confidence in his / her ability to complete a project independently. The next day, you are at the grocery store when you see a parent of a student in your child’s class. That parent has spent over $30 in supplies for the science project and is taking a day off of work to put the pieces of the project together.
Scenario 3: You have two jobs—one during the week from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, and one on Saturday from 3:00 pm to 11:00 pm. You are taking two classes—one that meets from 6:00 to 10:00 pm, and one class online. You have two kids—one who plays soccer, and one who is in band. You have two elderly parents who no longer drive. You have two siblings—one who lives two (2) miles away, and one who lives in another state. You have two (2) papers due in your classes the same week that one (1) of your children has a soccer tournament, and the other child has a band concert. You are coaching the soccer team, and you are in charge of fundraising for the band. You have a goal to complete your degree in two (2) years. Your doctor tells you that your blood pressure, your cholesterol, and your weight are too high and recommends several medications that cost you nearly $200 per month after your insurance co-pay.
Scenario 4: You are a sales representative for a company that encourages staff to log time in the field and away from the office. You are expected to begin and end your day at the office. You notice that each day when you arrive and return another co-worker is already there, and you wonder whether this person spends most of his / her time at the office. At your weekly sales meeting, you are informed of your co-workers’ outstanding sales performance. You suspect that this co-worker is spending more time flattering the boss instead of working leads in the field, and as a result is getting the best client referrals. Your own sales numbers have steadily decreased since this other sales representative was hired.
2. Go to the Internet, and read the following articles:
“Einstein’s Secret to Amazing Problem Solving (and 10 Specific Ways You Can Use It)”, located athttp://litemind.com/problem-definition/.
“The Problem Solving Process”, located athttp://www.gdrc.org/decision/problem-solve.html.
“Interpersonal Conflict and Effective Communication”, locatedhttp://www.drbalternatives.com/articles/cc2.html.
3. Select one (1) of the step-by-step problem solving strategies outlined in one (1) of the articles. Using the chosen problem solving strategy as a model, brainstorm ideas for each of the steps to develop a solution to the problem scenario you chose.
Synthesizingand Writing: Now that you have developed a solution to the problem by pre-writing about your ideas –
Write a four to five (4-5) page paper in which you:
1. Analyze the problem scenario that you have chosen, and organize your analysis into sections that correlate to each step in the selected problem solving strategy.
2. Apply each step within the selected problem solving strategy to related elements of the scenario that you have chosen.
3. Suggest alternative actions to the situation(s) within the scenario that correspond to each of the steps within the selected problem solving strategy.
4. Speculate on whether or not the same problem-solving strategy would be effective if used with different scenarios.
The paper should follow guidelines for clear and organized writing:
Include an introductory paragraph and concluding paragraph.
Address main ideas in body paragraphs with a topic sentence and supporting sentences.
Adhere to standard rules of English grammar, punctuation, mechanics, and spelling.
Your assignment must follow these formatting requirements:
Be typed, double spaced, using Times New Roman font (size 12), with one-inch margins on all sides; citations and references must follow APA Style format. Check with your professor for any additional instructions.
Include a cover page containing the title of the assignment, the student’s name, the professor’s name, the course title, and the date. The cover page and the reference page are not included in the required assignment page length.
You should follow these submission guidelines:
Submit the paper draft to Turnitin.com and then submit the originality report with the draft to Blackboard.
“Critical Thinking in the Workplace” Please respond to the following:
· The video clip “Thinking on the Job” in the Webtext this week illustrates the importance of critical thinking, especially in work contexts. Define the concept of critical thinking in your own words. Discuss a time in either your work or personal life in which you needed to be able to use critical thinking to either solve a problem or acquire a skill.
· Determine the manner in which you would show a potential employer that you possess solid critical thinking skills. Give your opinion on whether or not you believe that individuals can increase their critical thinking skills. If you believe that they can, explain certain steps that individuals can take to improve this skill.
“Understanding Barriers to Our Own Thinking” Please respond to the following:
· From the www.procon.org Website, read the Pro section and the Con section on your topic. Choose 3 reasons listed under the Pro section and 3 reasons listed under the Con section.
o The Believing Game is “believing” what you don’t believe. To play the Believing Game, read either the Pro section or the Con section on the www.procon.org website – whichever argument is in opposition to your position on the chosen issue. Ask the “believing” questions suggested by Elbow, such as “What’s interesting or helpful about the view? What would you notice if you believed this view? … In what sense or under what conditions might this idea be true?”
o The Doubting Game is “doubting” what you do believe. To play the Doubting Game, read either the Pro column or the Con column on the www.procon.org Website – whichever argument is in agreement with your position. Ask the “doubting” questions suggested by Elbow, such as the journalistic questions who, what, when, where, why, how.
“Understanding and Analyzing Arguments” Please respond to the following:
· Take a position on the following statement: The minimum driving age should be raised to 18. Develop a premise that supports your argument in a valid argumentative form. Ensure that your argument is devoid of any syllogistic errors.
· Based on your position in part 1 of this discussion, indicate whether your argument is either primarily inductive or deductive, and give your opinion on which type of argument you perceive to be more persuasive. Explain why it is important that the form of the argument be so rigidly developed. Determine whether or not the evidence itself is enough to provide a valid argument. Explain why or why not.
“Fallacies and Errors in Sound Reasoning” Please respond to the following:
· From the e-Activity, identify the fallacy used in the selected advertisements, discuss the primary reasons why you believe that the advertisers have used the fallacy in question, and examine whether or not their use of this type of fallacy is effective.
· From part 1 of this discussion, consider alternate strategies that the advertisers could have used in order to develop a more sound and persuasive argument. Explain the main reasons why you believe consumers ignore these errors in reasoning.
“Identifying Misleading Information in an Argument” Please respond to the following:
· Consider the following argument: There are many arguments for the elimination or modification of current U. S. drug laws, but one of the most persuasive involves what negative effects drug laws are having on society in comparison with the effects of the drugs themselves. In the past ten years, most forms of drug use have dropped significantly, especially among teens. Despite this, non-violent drug offenders accounted for 21.1 percent of the federal prison population. First time drug offenders serve, on average, a sentence three months longer than kidnappers, nine months longer than burglars, and thirty-three months longer than sex abusers. In 1992, the average cost of keeping an inmate in either state or federal prison was about $20,000 per prisoner per year. The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, with 455 prisoners per 100,000 population. It is maintaining these prisoners at great expense in an environment where they are unlikely to develop a socially constructive attitude. Perhaps it is time that we reconsider our attitudes toward those who choose to use drugs; failure to do so may cost society even more than it already has.
o Determine whether or not the argument uses any deceptive statistics. Give your opinion on whether or not the argument has persuaded you. Explain why or why not.
o Determine the primary ways in which statistics or authority are used in your current position in developing persuasive arguments, and provide examples of such use.
“Identifying Truth or Fiction” Please respond to the following:
· The video clip ‘The Baloney Detection Kit’ in the Webtext this week discusses the many ways in which an effective critical thinker assesses the claims made by others. Explain what you believe is the real difference between ‘science’ and ‘pseudoscience’.
· Examine the key reasons why so many people might seem to be attracted to more pseudoscience-type claims. Describe at least two (2) such claims that you have heard people make, and analyze the main reasons why such claims do or do not meet rigorous scientific methodology standards. Determine at least two (2) ways in which the material discussed this week has changed your own thinking.
Understanding the Complexity in Simple Arguments” Please respond to the following:
Consider this scenario: Mr. Brown and Mr. Green have argued several times about which one of them has the slower horse. They have swapped stories, each telling of the races that his horse has lost. However, each man also has failed to convince the other that his horse was the slower one.
Create the best solution for solving the problem of who owns the slower horse. Justify your response.
Explain the main reasons why you believe your solution would solve the two men’s problem of who owns the slower horse. Provide a rationale for your response.
Describe a dilemma of your own with a problem similar to the one in the “Slower Horse” scenario.
“The Relationship Between Language and Thinking” Please respond to the following
From the e-Activity, examine whether or not it is possible to think without using language. If you believe it is possible, describe the primary ways in which a person might enact so-called “languageless” thinking. If you believe it is not possible, describe what you foresee as major problems with languageless thinking.
The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein once stated that “The limits of my language are the limits of my life”, for more information on this important and influential philosopher, feel free to check out this video
Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889—1951) The Limits of Language
User: pangeaprogressredux -Added: 8/20/11
YouTube URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgW_PFl-Xs4
“Ethics and Trust in Critical Thinking Decisions” Please respond to the following:
· Imagine you are seeking information on a new car that you are thinking of buying. Determine the level of trust that you would place in information provided by the following: a salesman at the car lot, the dealer’s Website, social media (i.e. Facebook), an associate from work, and finally a close friend. Discuss the key factors involved in assessing the amount of trust that you put into each.
· If you were in a position to persuade another person, explain whether or not you would slant information in such a way as to make your point seem more credible if you sincerely believed that your position was correct. Discuss the primary ethical dilemmas that this scenario could cause for both you and the person whom you are trying to persuade.
“The Value of Critical Thinking” Please respond to the following:
· Give your opinion on whether being an effective critical thinker makes decision making easier or more challenging. Justify your response.
· Consider the following statement: “The major difference between a successful person and one that is not successful is that the successful person, over time, tends to make better decisions than the less successful person.” Discuss whether or not you believe this statement to be true. Explain the fundamental ways in which effectively applying critical thinking concepts has helped you to become more successful.
“Reflection” Please respond to the following:
· Reflect on what you have learned in this class. Describe the significant ways in which you would be able to utilize critical thinking in your personal and professional life.
· Discuss at least two (2) key concepts that you felt were most impactful to you this term and the manner in which you might use these concepts in the future.
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