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Critical Thinking Tutorial: Summary of How Reasoning Fails

This tutorial will empower you with valuable critical thinking skills that are essential for your university education.

Avoiding Pitfalls

In this module, you learned about fallacies, statistical misrepresentation, and cognitive bias, all of which demonstrate how logical reasoning can fail. Fallacies are flawed patterns of reasoning that undermine the logical validity of arguments, while statistical misrepresentations involve manipulating data or presenting it without proper context, leading to misleading interpretations. Additionally, cognitive biases are based on personal beliefs or prejudices that influence our thought process, compromising objectivity and resulting in subjective judgments. Together, these factors highlight the potential pitfalls that can compromise our ability to think critically, make sound judgments, and arrive at accurate conclusions.

As a critical thinker, being aware of these concepts and the pitfalls they represent, can help you effectively evaluate arguments, claims, and data, enabling you to make informed decisions and communicate persuasively.

This video provides a succinct summary of the concepts covered in this module, emphasizing in particular, how capable we are of incredible intellectual feats but also of tremendous failures. The video is worth watching from beginning to end, but for the purpose of this summary, it begins at minute 3:30 and ends at 9:46.

Source: Cognition - How Your Mind Can Amaze and Betray You by Hank Green of CrashCourse on YouTube


Engaging in Critical Reflection

In the next module, you'll gain insights into the creation, dissemination, and manipulation of information, learn to identify trustworthy and untrustworthy sources and understand the importance of critical thinking in preventing the spread of misinformation.

Before moving on, complete the self-reflection exercise that follows. This process will allow you to gain a better understanding of yourself and how your existing knowledge and experiences shape your perspectives. By actively challenging your beliefs, values and attitudes, you are engaging in a double-loop process that will ultimately prepare you to think more critically, make informed judgments, and adopt new ways of thinking and doing.