One of the advantages of learning logic and critical thinking is that it can benefit all areas of oneâ€™s life. The ability to research all sides before arriving at a position on an issue, the humility to consider opposing points of view in a fair-minded way, the wisdom to evaluate the quality of reasoning for and against positions, the capacity to recognize and avoid logical fallacies, and the skill to be able to construct effective reasoning all can benefit us by helping us to arrive at positions that are most justified by the evidence (and therefore most likely to be true).
These habits, when applied, can also help us to make decisions based on a more comprehensive understanding of different points of view, to better appreciate other peopleâ€™s perspectives, to be clearer and more persuasive in our reasoning, and to avoid making decisions that are not rationally justified. The discussion this week is designed to assist us in this process of applying critical thinking to our daily lives.
Reflect: Think about experiences you have had that involved conflicts with others. What was the genesis of the conflict? Would it have been possible for the exchange to be more productive? Think about why disagreements often lead to fights rather than opportunities to learn from each other.
Write: Answer the following questions: What is an area of life in which you have experienced people treating arguments as a kind of war? What were the consequences of that approach? What is an area of life in which you have experienced people treating arguments as a kind of performance? Was that approach effective? Why is it better to treat arguments as a venue for learning? What traits of character does it require to be able to live according to that approach? What benefits can it have in our lives to take that approach? (please give a specific example)