The intellectual roots of critical thinking date back to the Greek philosophers.
Socrates discovered, by means of probing questions, that in the exchange of competing ideas, people sometimes make confident claims based on unreliable assumptions or failed logic.
Such arguments, he discovered, were either erroneous in fact, absent sufficient foundation, or failing in logic. Instead, most arguments were based on confused meanings, inadequate evidence, or contradictory beliefs.
Socrates' contributions to critical thinking were many -- for he established new ways to think about contentious issues in terms of the quality of assumptions, facts and logic.
Thus Socrates demonstrated that persons may have passion, or power or high position but yet be deeply confused and irrational.
Good journalism, like compelling debate, is based on a clear understanding of facts and the logical construction of one's argument. And that is what the Socratic Method and The Sophist Tradition is all about.
The Socratic Method is the preferred way to examine issues.
In the Socratic mode of questioning, postulations, ideas or arguments are examined for their clarity and logical consistency by systematic analysis of facts, assumptions and logical methodology to support a conclusion.
Socratic analysis is accomplished by means of a series of probing questions that systematically examine the quality of an argument or conclusion.
Understanding the quality of information, argument or one's conclusions, is fundamental to critical thinking -- and the goal of critical editing.
Socrates’ practice was followed by the critical thinking of Plato (who recorded Socrates’ thought), Aristotle, and the Greek skeptics, all of whom emphasized that things are often very different from what they appear to be.
Only the trained mind is prepared to see through the way things look to us on the surface (delusive appearances) to the way they really are beneath the surface (the deeper realities of life.)
From this ancient Greek tradition emerged the need, for anyone who aspired to understand the deeper realities, to think systematically, to trace implications broadly and deeply; for only thinking that is comprehensive, well-reasoned, and responsive to objections can take us beyond the surface.
Means Of Analysis
The common denominators of Critical Thinking requires, for example, the systematic monitoring of thought; that thinking, to be critical, must not be accepted at face value, but must be analyzed and assessed for its clarity, accuracy, relevance, depth, breadth, and logical validity. All reasoning occurs within points of view and frames of reference.
All reasoning proceeds from some goals, objectives, and has an informational base. All data, when used in reasoning, must be interpreted. That interpretation involves concepts, that concepts entail assumptions, and that all basic inferences in thought have implications, and each of these dimensions of thinking need to be monitored where problems of thinking can occur.
The result of the collective contribution of the history of critical thought is that the basic questions of Socrates can now be much more powerfully and focally framed.
In every domain of human thought, and within every use of reasoning within any domain, it is now possible to question:
• ends and objectives
• the status and wording of questions
• the sources of information and fact
• the method and quality of information collection
• the mode of judgment and reasoning used
• the concepts that make that reasoning possible
• the assumptions that underlie concepts in use
• the implications that follow from their use
• the point of view or frame of reference within which reasoning takes place
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W. Mark Miller Indicted In Provident Royalties Oil And Gas Scheme
Published: Tuesday December 18, 2012 7:00 am EDT
Article Length: 397 Words
Reading Time: 2 Minutes
… Provident Royalties, is alleged to have conspired with others to defraud investors in an oil and gas scheme that involved over $485 million and 7,700 investors throughout the United States.
Provident CFO Indicted in $485 Million Investment Fraud Scheme
December 13, 2012
PLANO, TX—A 59-year-old Plano Texas, man has been indicted in connection with a $485 million investment fraud scheme in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.
W. Mark Miller was indicted by a federal grand jury late yesterday and charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
According to the indictment, Miller, who served as chief financial officer of Provident Royalties, is alleged to have conspired with others to defraud investors in an oil and gas scheme that involved over $485 million and 7,700 investors throughout the United States. Specifically, beginning in September 2006, Miller and other individuals are alleged to have made materially false representations and failed to disclose material facts to their investors in order to induce the investors into providing payments to Provident. Among these false representations were statements that funds invested would be used only for the oil and gas project for which those funds were raised; among the omissions of material fact were the facts that another of Provident founders, Joseph Blimline, had received millions of dollars of unsecured loans; that Blimline had been previously charged with securities fraud violations by the state of Michigan; and that funds from investors in later oil and gas projects were being used to pay individuals who invested in earlier oil and projects.
Blimline, 35, pleaded guilty in connection with the scheme and was sentenced in May 2012 to 20 years in federal prison. Provident CEO/founder Paul R. Melbye, 47, pleaded guilty in connection with the scheme in November 2012 and awaits sentencing. Two other Provident principals, Brendan Coughlin, 46, and Henry Harrison, 47, were indicted by a federal grand jury in July 2012 and are awaiting trial.
If convicted, Miller faces up to 20 years in federal prison for his role in the conspiracy.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Shamoil T. Shipchandler.
Source: FBI – Justice Department