Critical thinking about social perception

A quick way to demonstrate the power of critical thinking to students, and perhaps improve their ability to understand and negotiate social networks comes from the Washington Post reporting on research by Kristina Lerhman et al. Our usual assumptions about the influence of majorities are brought into question, when we take into account who is most connected to others.

network

This exercise (do it!  it’s fun!) shows how behaviour we observe locally can  fail to represent what goes on globally.  This “majority” illusion can compound other socially biases such as my side effect and confirmation bias.

It should be fun for teaching too!


Technical fixes

The emergence of fake news to which voters are increasingly vulnerable raises a number of questions about critical thinking pedagogy. We know part of the problem is social media and the way that it can allow campaigns to play directly to individuals, as reported in Vice. This describes not just an echo chamber but a tailored delivery of false alarms. It also fits my experience, how the political click bait I received in the Fall seemed to play to my fairly specific orientations and concerns. Such a climate makes it hard for anyone to look trustworthy.

The hope might therefore seem to lie in that same technology. However, that’s quite unlikely as explained in the Guardian.

So, it seems that critical thinking education may be more important than ever. However, we need to make it relevant to the new media. That is a humungous challenge.  Any suggestions?


History and philosophy of science as critical thinking vital for democracy.

I could not agree more. http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/philosophy-and-history-of_b_9542486.html


Free logic books

For those who teach logic, Springer is making their back catalogue available free.


Federal election fallacies

Canadian instructors especially may find useful this site that lists fallacies from the recent federal election.  It’s always nice to have topical examples!!


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