Tag: critical thinking

The hidden hand

The Great Fire of Rome and the “hidden hand”

The Great Fire of Rome broke out on a hot summer night in July 64 AD.
The Chronic Desiderative Thinking

The problem with chronic desiderative thinking

“Yeah, I understand what you’re saying about Christianity. I’ve been there, a long time ago, but now that I’ve moved on, I have a different relationship with the universe and things are going much better for me on all levels.”

The end of the world, overlooked by philosophy

"Logic suffers from a great logical fallacy: it believes that reality itself is of a logical nature. If it encounters something that cannot be understood logically, it will claim that this something doesn't exist, but only appears to exist..." (Lucian Blaga, Horizons and Stages)
No matter what we do, we are merely puppets on a string. True or false?

No matter what we do, we are merely puppets on a string. True or false?

When it comes to conspiracy theories, the public quickly becomes polarised. On one hand, you have the “experts” who reel off reliable information with credible arguments from confirmed cases. On the other hand, there are the “uninformed,” completely disinterested in the subject or outright rejecting it as a myth.
Thinking girl

How much do the origins of our errors in judgement matter?

An article in the New Yorker[1] explains why we tend to not change our convictions, not even when faced with contrary evidence. 
thinking errors

Thinking errors: What do we do with destructive thought patterns?

What we think about ourselves, over time, becomes our reality. This is a good enough reason to identify thinking errors left running in the background and to seek out strategies for healthier thinking.

How to critically evaluate a text

Almost a century ago, writer Virginia Woolf noticed people’s tendency to approach books “with clouded and divided minds, asking fiction to be true, poetry to be false, biographies to be flattering and history to chime with prejudices.”

Thinking as self-defence

No one has ever seen a thought, not even a neurosurgeon. However, today we know more about the way we think than what we were able to visualise, yet still less than we would like to know.

The most arrogant of all sophisms: the false accusation of logical error

In practice, people often accuse each other of making logical errors, but sometimes the accusation is false. Such an accusation is made by someone who does not understand what logical fallacies are and how they work, or by a manipulative person who takes advantage of the ignorance of those in the first category.

Reading polls: How do we evaluate surveys carefully?

Many news programmes, speeches, or press articles refer to at least one poll. When designed and conducted well, polls are an excellent means of measuring public opinion on a particular topic. Unfortunately, not all surveys are well compiled, relevant, representative, or honest.

The false cause fallacy: Is dawn summoned by the rooster’s song?

From an early age I learned, from the advice of adults or from my own experiences—and sometimes the hard way—the relationship between cause and effect. It's simple: if you touch the hot oven door, you’ll get burned! Subsequently, I discovered that there are a multitude of pressing uncertainties all around us in daily life. To figure out what actually causes the things that go on around us is added to the long list of life’s complicated issues.

Accurate statistics and faulty interpreters

Even the most rigorously researched statistics are not immune from misinterpretation, and they can often be used in a way that obscures the truth.

The questionable cause fallacy: Correlation does not equal causation

The questionable cause fallacy, described by the Latin phrase cum hoc ergo propter hoc, is an error of thought which leads us to believe that one event causes another event simply because the two events occur simultaneously. This error can easily be reinforced if the simultaneity of the two events is often repeated.

Biased statistics and false truths

A few years ago, the American Statistical Association carried out research on the history of statistics, tracing their use throughout the course of human society’s development. The results of the study are displayed in the form of a chart called the Timeline of statistics, available on the association's website.

The false analogy: when the apple insists on being a pear

The false analogy or the faulty analogy consists of the incorrect use of the analogy argumentative scheme without first meeting the requirements of a correct comparison.