Debating problems

Debating problems

Many well-known problems of human reasoning disappear once you get a group of people together and let them talk about it.

It's a good way to see your ideas refuted or let stronger ideas win the day. Although there’s a risk of group think and conformity pressures, if you take a large and diverse enough group, you’re more likely to be exposed to the best reasoning, which will tend to win out over the majority opinion.

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Problem Solving


  • Create contexts that enable smart decisions: recognize what you’re actually doing when you’re reasoning about things and use this knowledge to try to avoid making common mistakes
  • Absorb lots and lots of knowledge about the world and integrate it through practice making decisions:  more you know about things, the better you can reason about them.
  • ...doesn’t happen because you’ve studied some abstract logical form and come to valid deductions.

     It happens because you know enough about how the world works to rule out certain possibilities as being unlikely or impossible.

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    Six levels of critical thinkers

    Researchers identified six predictable levels of critical thinkers:

    • The unreflective thinker
    • The challenged thinker
    • The beginner thinker
    • The practicing thinker
    • The advanced thinker
    • The master thinker

    Using your mind more effectively is not automatic. Moving up on this pyramid of thinking is dependent on developing your critical thinking skills.



    Describing critical thinking

    Critical thinking is described as a mode of thinking where the thinker improves the quality of their thinking by skillfully analyzing, assessing, and reconstructing it.

    Another definition describes critical thinking as a way to examine assumptions, discern hidden values, evaluate evidence, and judge conclusions.

    Employers need critical thinkers, but they cannot find them.

    Focussing on knowledge only in college does not seem to help. Neither does it help to only focus on intellectual and cognitive skills.

    Critical thinking is learning how to use knowledge.

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