Thought and Knowledge: An Introduction to Critical Thinking

By Diane F. Halpern | Go to book overview
Considering how overly optimistic assessments bias the selection of alternatives.
Recognizing arguments that are based on entrapment and considering why the costs have been high.
Being mindful of the way liking can affect the evaluation of alternatives.
Evaluating positive assessments of alternatives that are based on reciprocity or familiarity.
Seeking information to reduce uncertainty when making risky decisions.
Preparing a decision-making worksheet for important decisions.
Understanding the distinction between the quality of a decision and its outcome.
Understanding the way emotional states like reactance and anger can affect the way we evaluate alternatives and behaving in ways that minimize their effects.
Recognizing that hindsight analysis of a decision is usually biased and of limited value.
4. Have You Reached Your Goal? The process of making a decision could, theoretically, go on forever. Most decisions, however, have deadlines. After you have carefully considered various outcomes, you need to take an overview of your decision and then follow through and act on it. Does the decision seem right? Are you satisfied with the process and outcome? As stated in the chapter, because of the uncertainty inherent in decisions, sometimes good decisions will have poor outcomes. When this happens, scrutinize the nature of the outcome. Was there a consideration that you failed to consider at the time the decision was made? Can you learn from the negative outcome? Can you imagine the consequences of an alternative you rejected?
CHAPTER SUMMARY
1. Decision making is an active process that begins with a clear definition of the decision and a set of alternative solutions from which to choose.
2. One way to improve on the way in which decisions are made is to frame the decision in several ways. Additional alternatives can emerge by changing the focus of what is being decided on.
3. Because few people have ever received formal instruction in thinking skills, even trained professionals commit common decision-making fallacies.
4. A common error in decision making is the failure to seek disconfirming evidence.
5. People often rely on heuristics or "rules of thumb" to help them make decisions. The availability heuristic or reliance on events that are readily recalled is a common decision-making heuristic.
6. Because of the widespread but erroneous belief that the laws of chance are self-correcting, many people believe that "random-looking" sequences of outcomes are more probable outcomes of a random process than orderly sequences of outcomes.
7. Unwarranted optimism can also lead to poor decisions because it prevents realistic assessment of both desirable and undesirable consequences of a decision.
8. People often fall prey to entrapment. They find it difficult to reverse their decision after having invested large amounts of time or money.
9. Decisions are often biased by emotional states like psychological reactance (the resistance to a loss of freedom), mood, and liking induced by reciprocity and familiarity.
10. Risky decisions require special care. There is often a tendency to downplay the likelihood of a disastrous outcome.

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Thought and Knowledge: An Introduction to Critical Thinking
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Acknowledgments for the First Edition xiii
  • 1 - Thinking: an Introduction 1
  • Chapter Summary 32
  • 2 - Memory: The Acquisition Retention, and Retrieval of Knowledge 36
  • Chapter Summary 70
  • 3 - The Relationship Between Thought and Language 75
  • Chapter Summary 115
  • 4 - Reasoning: Drawing Deductively Valid Conclusions 118
  • Chapter Summary 162
  • 5 - Analyzing Arguments 167
  • Chapter Summary 207
  • 6 - Thinking as Hypothesis Testing 212
  • Chapter Summary 237
  • 7 - Likelihood and Uncertainty: Understanding Probabilities 241
  • Chapter Summary 277
  • 8 - Decision Making 281
  • Chapter Summary 313
  • 9 - Development of Problem-Solving Skills 317
  • Chapter Summary 360
  • 10 - Creativethinking 364
  • Chapter Summary 389
  • 11 - The Last Word 393
  • References 395
  • Author Index 409
  • Subject Index 415
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