Project #35469 - critical Thinking

Handout 5

NYFA

Chapter 4 

Reasons for Belief and Doubt

Do exercises 4.2, 4.3 and 4.4

Writing assignment: #1 on p. 167

 

 

 

  1. What does it mean for two claims to conflict? 

 

 

 

 

  1. What should we do with a claim if it comes in conflict with another claim we have good reason to believe?

 

 

 

 

 

  1. What does the author mean by “background information”?

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Here is claim:  Some babies can bench-press a five hundred pound weight.  Why might you reject this claim out of hand?

 

 

 

 

 

  1. How does background information constrain the kinds of claims we are willing to serious consider?

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. What does it mean to proportion of belief to the evidence?

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Why is it legitimate to rely on the information that comes from an expert in a particular field of inquiry?

 

 

 

 

  1. Here is a principle:  If a claim conflicts with expert opinon, we have good reason to doubt it.  Do you agree with this principle?  Why?

 

  1. What is the fallacy known as “the appeal to authority”?

 

 

 

 

  1. Are medical doctors “experts”?  Yes and no.  Explain. 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. What are some ways in which we might regard a non-expert as an expert?

 

 

 

 

 

  1. What are some bad consequences that have resulted from people giving credence to the pronouncements of a non-expert as if he or she were an expert?  P. 126.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Tom Cruise famously claimed that psychiatry is a harmful pseudoscience and that psychiatric drugs do not work.  What is the problem with putting too much credence in his claim?

 

 

 

 

 

  1. What are two indicators of someone who is truly an expert in a particular field of inquiry?  P. 130.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. When our senses are impaired, we have reasons to doubt it.  Explain. 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. What does it mean to say that our perceptions and memory are constructive?  Why is this a reason to doubt what the senses or memory tell us. 

 

 

 

 

  1. The astronomer Schiaparelli reported observing canals in Mars.  Were these reports correct?  If not, what explains this astronomer having “seen” them?

 

 

 

Handout 6

Chapter 4 (cont)

Philosophy 150

Write a 2-page rebuttal paper against essay 5 (p. 497)

What is the author’s main claim?

What are his arguments?

What is your response to his arguments?

 

 

  1. Is personal experience reliable in revealing the truth?  Explain your answer.  (p. 134)

 

 

 

 

 

  1. What are some ways in which our perceptual powers can become impaired?

 

 

 

 

 

  1. What is the phenomenon known as pareidolia? (p.138)

 

 

 

 

 

  1. How is seeing Jesus on a tortilla an instance of pareidolia?

 

 

 

 

 

  1. According to the author, if a class has 23 students, what are the chances that 2 of them will have the same birthday?  Why do people usually get the answer to this wrong?

 

 

 

 

 

  1. What is the gambler’s fallacy?

 

 

 

 

 

  1. What is the lesson we should take from the fact that we are so bad at figuring out probabilities?

 

 

 

 

 

  1. We are all guilty of fooling ourselves and not giving evidence its due.  One common way we fail to give evidence its due is by resisting contrary evidence.  Why might someone resist evidence contrary to their most cherished beliefs?

 

 

 

 

 

  1. George W. Bush claims that he knew that the right thing to do concerning Iraq was to invade it.  He said he knew it because he felt it in his gut.  Is that a way one can know things…by feeling it in the gut?  Explain your answer. 

 

 

 

 

  1. What is confirmation bias?  How can confirmation bias lead us astray?

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. What is the availability error?  

 

 

 

 

 

  1. How is voting to convict a suspect because he looks menacing an instance of the availability error?

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. What is the error known as hasty generalization?  

 

 

 

 

 

  1. How has the drive to maximize profit made print and television news less reliable sources for information?

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. What is “passive reporting”?  Why is this type of reporting not completely reliable?

 

 

 

 

  1. In sorting out the news, we should look out for reporter slanting.  Explain what this is?

 

 

 

 

 

  1. We should always consider the source.  Explain. 

 

 

 

  1. We should check for missing information.  Explain. 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. We should look for false emphasis.  Explain. 

 

 

 

  1. In advertisement, we should look out for identification.  Why? 

 

 

 

 

  1. We should also look out for catchy slogans.  Why?

 

 

 

 

  1. We should always look out for misleading comparisons.  Provide an example of a misleading comparison. 

 

 

 

 

 

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