Critical Thinking Made Easy
HANDOUT THREE: SOME EXERCISES
In the first part of handout 2 you were introduced to some of the more common stumbling blocks to clear thinking. In this section are offered some exercises that will sharpen up your understanding of how these blocks to critical thinking can lead to some devastating errors in judgment. No, don't turn them into me or the THINK list, just wrap your mind and one other person's mind around them and see what kind of debate you can engender.
This section is designed to aid you in accessing your personal thinking style.
First, try these exercises to get an idea of what your conception of thinking is. You should note that none of the following can be answered with a simple 'yes' or 'no' and all of them will require you to double check yourself to make sure you're not commiting the errors of judgment already discussed.
- Suppose a woman uses alcohol, nicotine, or illicit drugs while pregnant. Assume that she then gives birth to a child with a severe mental or physical defect or ailment. Should the woman face criminal charges?
- You've caught your 10 year old child in a lie. He told you he was going over to a friend's house and you discover he went instead to the mall video arcade with some friends. How would you handle this situation?
- Your thirteen year old niece asks you to keep a sealed box for her until her father's birthday. Thinking it a gift for her father, you agree. On the way home, the box slides off the car seat and pops open. You go to pick it up and find it contains several types of pills and some marijuana. You know your brother is staunchly anti-drug because he never misses a chance to loudly proclaim that all drug users are losers and parasites on the backs of hard-workers like himself. What should you do?
- You notice that a fellow employee seems to be drinking on the job and coming into work smelling of alcohol. What should you do?
- You work for a large chemical company making a six-figure salary. During the course of your job you discover the company is deliberately hiding information from federal officials about the potentially lethal ingredients of a new product set to be launched soon, complete with a multi-million dollar advertising campaign. What is your best course of action?
- You are called down to the police station where your fifteen year old son is being detained on charges that he's been dealing drugs. You bail the kid out and take him home. He admits to the crime. What is your next step?
- Your car needs fixing and your daughter's birthday is the next day. You can do one or the other. Fix the car, or use the money as planned to buy your daughter a gift and throw a long-planned party.
What do you need to consider in this situation?
- Your sixteen year old tells you she/he is having sex or is planning to do so; what do you say and do? She tells you she's spending the night at her boyfriend's house with his parent's permission--what's your reaction?
- Your seventeen year old son tells you he is gay. What exactly would you say or do? Can he invite his lover home for the night? Can he go away for a weekend with him?
- You learn some of your friends are stealing from where you work; what would you do? How would you consider them as friends; are they trustworthy?
This concludes a short preview of foundational reasoning 1. For a lively discussion of these exercises and much more you definitely want to join the F&I-Think list.