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How to think?


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4 replies to this topic

#1
Damian

Damian
  • 4 posts

What skills need to be mastered in order to become a good thinker and how to test wether we've mastered them?

 

The basic skills that I think are required to be a thinker are adherence to facts, logic and ability to recognize sophistry on the spot; though I don't now how to train them and test wether I mastered them. What do you think?

 


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#2
shirgall

shirgall

    Bacon

  • 2975 posts

What skills need to be mastered in order to become a good thinker and how to test wether we've mastered them?

 

The basic skills that I think are required to be a thinker are adherence to facts, logic and ability to recognize sophistry on the spot; though I don't now how to train them and test wether I mastered them. What do you think?

 

I find this essay to be pretty comprehensive: https://www.critical...al-thinking/766

 

Like writing, the way to get better is to practice it. Identify arguments. Make arguments. Find debatable topics, and build arguments for multiple potential positions around that topic.


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#3
Will Torbald

Will Torbald
  • 1003 posts
I think emotional awareness is very important. Often people assume being a rational thinker necessitates supresing your emotions (Plato recommended this, if I remember) but that's not a good idea. Usually our subconscious has already realized what's wrong with an argument before it can explain it with words. That uncomfortable feeling would then be supressed instead of exploring it and finding why it was wrong, but now explicitely.
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#4
RichardY

RichardY
  • 371 posts

Well if the opposite of thinking could be considered PANIC!!!! The thought of discipline comes to mind. So various "disciplines" generally follow.

 

Probably one of the most important questions you can ask yourself. (Can anyone else think of others?) Be very careful though with the answer you give yourself. Also don't Focus on too many disciplines, IMHO no more than 3, "maybe" 5 and be specific. i.e if I am going to be disciplined in Mathematics do I want Calculus or just be quick at Arithmetic, if so Darts maybe better. 

 

The environment is pretty essential, if the Titanic is going down and some people are still listening to the Violinists, drinking brandy or contemplating their probable imminent demise. I don't know what proportion of Brain activity is geared towards the more primitive survival, tribal side but I think its most of it, hence why emotion  is probably the most important consideration.

 

“You cannot serve two masters at the same time. You will hate one master and love the other. Or you will be loyal to one and not care about the other. You cannot serve God and Money at the same time.”

 

Maybe there's a Jedi Master out there somewhere so you can test yourself or when you can walk the rice paper without leaving a trace....


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#5
Rventurelli

Rventurelli
  • 85 posts

In my opinion you have to read! Read a lot of non-fiction and the most subjects the better! Usually the gateway is history, because you can picture things, you can what a historical movie, play a historical video-game and in a sense "relieve history". Start with topics that really interest you and expand like a knowledge tree. For example, if you are interested in philosophy, it is extremely important to fully comprehend it to read about history, economics, biology, religion, politics... Those are all connected and the biggest your amplitude of knowledge, the deeper as a person and intellectual you are.
 

If you focus on only two or three disciplines you are going to be the stereotypical American that only knows about two or three different topics a great deal and is totally ignorant and not curious about anything else.

I have been living in America for over two years and a half and yes, it is much, much better than where I come from, but this lack of curiosity, extreme pragmatism and specialization is by far the most annoying characteristic of the country, as you usually will have only one shared interest with the person and therefore can only talk about one topic, because if you switch to another one they know nothing about it and will either stop the conversation, come back to the original topic or just look at you saying "yes", "interesting".

As an example, I am kind of a gun nut and you have no idea how frustrating it is to see people with no amplitude of knowledge in their own field: I go to a gun shop and pick up a M1 Garand, a Mauser 1898 or Sturmgewehr 44 and the guy behind the counter knows everything about the mechanisms and so on and so forth. If I start talking to him about how those changed the nature of war, military tactics, engagement philosophy and whatever, they look at me as if I am a ghost and remain silent or say that they know nothing about it. Because of this damn specialization thing of focusing on two or three topics and caring about nothing else (for example guns, video-games and football). Or the continuity of art! Someone is a movie fan and after a while you switch the topic to music and they know nothing about it or vice-versa. Argh!!!


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