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For instance, lung cancer may have multiple causes (all of which are relevant) but smoking is probably the cause that is most significant.All of this may seem like “structured common sense” and in a way it is.
Politicians do this regularly, presenting only the conservative or only the liberal point of view.
At the same time, we may be narrow in our own thinking.
At the same time, our own thoughts may not be accurate.
So, we need external reference points that can help us validate accuracy.
If a statement is not clear, we can’t reason effectively.
The question, “What can be done about the crisis in the family? Useful clarifying questions include, – a statement can be clear but not accurate: “Travis is a genius.” Advertisers and politicians frequently make statements that are clear but not accurate.
For instance, a friend publishes the website Thinking Arizona, which provides “facts to inform the public discourse”. — a statement can be clear, accurate, and precise but not relevant. – a statement can be clear, accurate, precise and relevant but shallow.
I once explained to my boss just how hard I was working on a particular project. Here’s one: “If we just eliminated sex ed in high schools, teens wouldn’t get pregnant.” Well, maybe …
I teach a course in critical thinking and friends sometimes ask, “Well, what does that mean?
” Essentially, it’s a process of thinking about thinking in a structured, systematic way.