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Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain in the Ass

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Title: Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain in the Ass


1
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
2
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • The Importance of Being Ignorant
  • What do you know, really?
  • Epistemic responsibility
  • An admission of ignorance, or worse a
    demonstration of our ignorance is often quite
    embarassing.

3
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • What do you know, really?
  • Etymology
  • In reference to the phrase epistemic
    responsibility, the root of the term epistemic
    is from the Greek episteme which means
    knowledge. Taken together, epistemic
    responsibility means to be accountable for ones
    knowledge or beliefs.

4
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • What do you know, really?
  • William Kingdon Clifford
  • It is wrong always, everywhere, and for any one,
    to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.
    If a man, holding a belief which he was taught in
    childhood or persuaded of afterwards, keeps down
    and pushes away any doubts which arise about it
    in his mind, purposely avoids reading books and
    the company of men that call in question or
    discuss it, and regards as impious those
    questions which cannot easily be asked without
    disturbing it the life of that man is one long
    sin against mankind.

5
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • What do you know, really?
  • We might refer to Clifford as an evidentialist
  • What counts as evidence?
  • To determine this, we must first try to better
    comprehend the limits and constraints on human
    knowledge.

6
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • Epistemic Constraints
  • What information do you now know with absolute
    certainty?
  • I know I love my boyfriend/girlfriend (and
    that he/she loves me too).
  • I know that God exists and He loves me.
  • I know the sun will rise tomorrow.
  • I know the sky is blue.
  • I know I am now breathing.
  • I know that 112.
  • I know that I am not feeling well.
  • I know how to ride a bike.
  • I know that I exist.

7
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • What do you know, really?
  • Each one of these statements is called a
    proposition.
  • They can be confirmed or denied, or considered
    true or false.

8
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • What do you know, really?
  • All these propositions assume, or presuppose,
    that we are sensing, thinking physical beings,
    who are dependent upon an underlying logic,
    language, and context to make sense of the world.
  • What if, however, the world were really quite
    different from the way we currently perceive,
    sense, and think about it? How would we get
    outside the box?

9
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • The Matrix Appearance and Reality
  • Some of the most helpful and insightful tools
    which philosophers use are called thought
    experiments.
  • A what if type of suggestion.
  • The Wachowski brothers have borrowed an idea
    which dates back at least 2300 years, and was
    later modified in the 16th century, and again in
    the 20th century.

10
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • Plato The Allegory of the Cave
  • Demonstrates what it would be like for someone to
    be able to distinguish reality from appearance.

11
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • Plato The Allegory of the Cave
  • Similarities between Platos Allegory and that of
    The Matrix
  • Neo complains his eyes are sore
  • The construct or loading program of the matrix is
    similar to the cave itself
  • Neo says This isnt real?
  • Morpheus asks what real is.

12
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • Plato The Allegory of the Cave
  • Morpheus asks Have you ever had a dream, Neo,
    that you were so sure was real? What if you were
    unable to wake from that dream? How would you
    know the difference between the dream world and
    the real world?

13
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • Descartes Evil demon
  • A Christmas Carol
  • You dont believe in me, observed the Ghost.
    I dont, said Scoorge. What evidence would
    you have of my reality beyond that of your
    senses? I dont know, said Scrooge. Why do
    you doubt your senses? Because, said Scrooge,
    a little thing affects them. A slight disorder
    of the stomach makes them cheat. You may be an
    undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a
    crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone
    potato. Theres more of gravy than grave about
    you, whatever you are!

14
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • Descartes Evil demon
  • Rationalism
  • Empiricism
  • Malin genie (or evil genius a metaphysical
    demon)

15
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • Descartes Evil demon
  • Something must be, in order to be deceived.
    Hence the famous Cogito ergo sum or I think
    therefore I am. This is based on a fundamental
    law of thought called the Law of
    Non-Contradiction.
  • It is contradictory (impossible) for a thinking
    being NOT to exist.
  • It is contradictory to say that I am now
    thinking but I do not exist.
  • Whatever is doing the thinking must be in order
    to state that it is thinking.

16
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • Descartes Evil demon
  • What are the underlying presuppositions of
    Descartes argument?
  • The Law of Non-Contradiction is fundamentally and
    absolutely true.
  • This would, of course, presuppose that the
    criterion of self-evidence is an absolutely
    certain known criterion for determining absolute
    truth.

17
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • Descartes Evil demon
  • At this point, we need to ask ourselves a very
    serious and important question. Is there any
    criterion or set of criteria which can allow us
    to accurately measure Reality?
  • This is the type of question which needs to be
    asked from Kindergarten to the United Nations
    Security Council.

18
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • Descartes Evil demon
  • He believed the malin genie (or evil demon) could
    deceive him into believing in the truth of
    mathematical propositions e.g. 5712.
  • Why then, could such a demon not be able to
    circumvent and manipulate the law of
    non-contradiction?
  • And so we could ask of Neo how he knows that he
    is, in fact, out of his pod, and not entering
    another realm of deception in the matrix created
    by the AI beings? What is the criterion or set
    of criteria he would use to make such a
    distinction?

19
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • This is why it is so difficult to claim that you
    know anything with absolute certainty.
  • I have just demonstrated to you how it is
    logically possible for you not to exist.
  • If I can do that, then what do you really know?

20
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • Putnams Brains in Vats
  • The brain-in-the-vat problem
  • Although this seems ludicrous, the reason why it
    is still of interest to some philosophers is
    because it shows that there is very little of
    which we can actually be certain.

21
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • But does anyone really believe in such
    far-fetched science-fiction scenarios like The
    Matrix? Or evil demons?
  • Of course not that is to miss the point.
  • What Platos allegory of the cave, Decartes evil
    demon, and Putnams brains-in-vats demonstrate,
    is that when it comes to knowledge, we are quite
    limited in determining what is absolutely true.

22
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • In the attempt to establish the parameters within
    which our species attains information and acts on
    it, and by recognizing how limited we are in
    attaining information which we could know with
    absolute certainty, I believe we are acting in an
    epistemically responsible way.

23
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • Socrates and the Ancient Skeptics or
    Pyrrhonians
  • They did not simply propose wildly unrealistic
    scenarios, but demonstrated very realistic
    constraints on human knowledge.
  • They then considered how humans should behave in
    light of such constraints
  • And for this, they were considered gad flies,
    trouble-makers, in short they were really good
    pains in the ass.

24
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • The Socratic method
  • Socrates What is X?
  • Mark X is this and that.
  • Socrates If X is this and that, what about
    the other?
  • Mark Well, youve got me there, Socrates.
    Silly me.

25
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • Illustration of the Socratic method (from
    Euthyphro)

26
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
A horsefly or gadfly
27
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
Rodin The Thinker
28
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
29
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
30
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
Svend Robinson M.P.
31
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • The Charter of Rights and Freedoms

32
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • Which God? Judaeo-Christian? Muslim? Hindu?

33
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • Whose interpretation of a particular God do we
    accept? For example, if reference is exclusively
    to a Christian God, then do we abide by Roman
    Catholic interpretation of scriptures? Greek
    Orthodox? Anglican? Presbyterian? Lutheran?
    United? Jehovahs Witness? Mormon?

34
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • In what capacity does such a God have authority?
    That is, based on this part of the Charter, can I
    murder someone and demand of the Courts to be
    judged according to MY interpretation of God? Or
    suppose I am a Rastafarian. Does that mean that I
    can legally smoke marijuana because this
    substance is used in this particular religion?

35
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • Does this statement not infringe upon the rights
    of atheists and agnostics who choose either to
    disbelieve in or suspend judgement on the
    existence and authority of such gods?

36
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • Should we continue to accept such an antiquated
    view as the existence of a specific God? That is,
    hasnt the church and state separated enough to
    allow us to base our Charter on reason and common
    sense?

37
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • You are wrong if you believe that by killing
    people you will prevent anyone from reproaching
    you for not living in the right way. To escape
    such tests is neither possible nor good, but it
    is best and easiest not to discredit others but
    to prepare oneself to be as good as possible.
  • - Socrates

38
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • Reproach them as I reproach you, that they do
    not care for the right things and think they are
    worthy when they are not worthy of anything. If
    you do this, I shall have been justly treated by
    you, and my sons also. - Socrates

39
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
40
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • The Ancient Skeptics aka Pyrrhonians
  • I am the mother of Bigfoots son And hes a
    hairy brat!
  • Elvis seen alive and well aboard alien space
    craft!

41
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • Q. Should we believe such stories?

42
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • The National E6,BJ46_at_H

43
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • Pyrrho of Elis (c. 365 c. 270 BCE)
  • Agoge an exemplary way of living

44
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • What is the stuff of things?
  • Our senses contradict each other when referring
    to the nature or essence of things

45
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • In what relation do we stand to things around us?
  • Epoche
  • Suspension of assent or belief

46
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • In what relation do we stand to things around us?
  • Epoche
  • Suspension of assent or belief
  • Akatalepsia
  • Lack of absolute knowledge concerning reality

47
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • In what relation do we stand to things around us?
  • Epoche
  • Suspension of assent or belief
  • Akatalepsia
  • Lack of absolute knowledge concerning reality
  • Aphasia
  • Quietude concerning the nature of things

48
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • What is the result, as far as our happiness is
    concerned, of this metaphysical detachment?
  • Ataraxia
  • Tranquility of mind

49
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
50
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • Agoge an exemplary way of living

51
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • Metriopatheia
  • We control our passions when confronted with
    natural forces that are beyond our control

52
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • Pyrrhos pig

53
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
54
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
55
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • The Academics

Excavations of Platos Academy
56
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • The Academics introduced 2 things to skepticism
  • Sustained systematic attacks on certain dogmatic
    positions

57
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • The Academics introduced 2 things to skepticism
  • Sustained systematic attacks on certain dogmatic
    positions
  • A detailed doctrine for living amongst the
    phenomena of everyday life including rules and a
    vocabulary for dealing and interacting with their
    experiences

58
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • Arcesilaus of Pitane (c. 342 c. 315 BCE)
  • Rejected Platos metaphysical doctrines
  • Rejected stoical ideas of self evident truths
    (phantasiai and kataleptikai)
  • Advocated epoche

59
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • What criteria can there be for justifying our
    beliefs?

The bible is the word of god.
It says so in the bible.
Gutenbergs bible
60
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • The gold in the dark room

61
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • TRUTH vs truth

62
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • Carneades (213 129 BCE)
  • Pithanon allows one to gradually determine the
    relative truth of a specific experience

63
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • The post-academics
  • Aenesidemus
  • 10 tropoi (modes) of skepticism
  • Sextus Empiricus
  • Outlines of Pyrrhonism

64
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
Summary
  • Academics (Arcesilaus and Carneades)
  • Methodological attack on the doctrines and
    beliefs of the dogmatists and stoics
  • Pyrrhonians (Pyrrho, Anesidemus and Sextus
    Empiricus)
  • Skepticism as a way of life to reach ataraxia

65
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • The Practical Criterion
  • The skeptic acquiesces to the appearances,
    neither affirming nor doubting the true nature of
    appearances
  • Sextus Empiricus identified 4 main aids to the
    skeptic, which collectively form the Practical
    Criterion

66
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • The Practical Criterion
  • 1. The guidance of nature

67
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • The Practical Criterion
  • The guidance of nature
  • The constraint of bodily drives

68
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • The Practical Criterion
  • The guidance of nature
  • The constraint of bodily drives
  • The tradition of laws and customs

69
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • The Practical Criterion
  • The guidance of nature
  • The constraint of bodily drives
  • The tradition of laws and customs
  • Instruction in the arts

70
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • If the skeptics can
  • live by these four criteria
  • suspend belief (according to the ten modes)
  • Then
  • they will reach tranquility (ataraxia)

71
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • For the man who opines that anything is by
    nature good or bad is forever being disquieted
    when he is without the things he deems good he
    believes himself to be tormented by things
    naturally bad and he pursues the things which he
    thinks good. When he has obtained them, he falls
    into still more perturbations because of his
    irrational and immoderate elation, and in his
    dread of a change of fortune he uses every
    endeavour to avoid losing the things which he
    deems good. On the other hand, the man who
    determines nothing as to what is naturally good
    or bad neither shuns nor pursues anything
    eagerly and, in consequence, is unperturbed

72
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
73
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • The path of the Pyrrhonian skeptic
  • 1. The skeptic is an inquirer

74
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • The path of the Pyrrhonian skeptic
  • The skeptic is an inquirer
  • The skeptic recognizes isothenia, the notion that
    there are equally persuading arguments to explain
    their experience and asserts ou mallon, not this
    more than that

75
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • The path of the Pyrrhonian skeptic
  • The skeptic is an inquirer
  • The skeptic recognizes isothenia, the notion that
    there are equally persuading arguments to explain
    their experience and asserts ou mallon, not this
    more than that
  • The skeptic suspends belief (epoche) and
    experiences ataraxia

76
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • The path of the Pyrrhonian skeptic
  • The skeptic is an inquirer
  • The skeptic recognizes isothenia, the notion that
    there are equally persuading arguments to explain
    their experience and asserts ou mallon, not this
    more than that
  • The skeptic suspends belief (epoche) and
    experiences ataraxia
  • The skeptic lives according to the 4 part
    criterion in a moderate state (metriopatheia)

77
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • The path of the Pyrrhonian skeptic
  • The skeptic is an inquirer
  • The skeptic recognizes isothenia, the notion that
    there are equally persuading arguments to explain
    their experience and asserts ou mallon, not this
    more than that
  • The skeptic suspends belief (epoche) and
    experiences ataraxia
  • The skeptic lives according to the 4 part
    criterion in a moderate state (metriopatheia)
  • The skeptic continues to seek (zetetikos) because
    they lack dogmatism

78
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
79
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • Dogmatism vs Absolute skepticism

80
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • Hypothetical realism
  • We accept that there is a basic framework of
    experience including people, planets, gravity,
    dogs and suchlike

81
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • Q. What should we be skeptical about? ?

82
Critical Thinking or How to be a Really Good Pain
in the Ass
  • Q. In the absence of absolute criteria, how do we
    distinguish good ideas from bad?
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