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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DOD Continues Pressure On Congressional Failure To Cancel Sequestration
Published: Tuesday February 26, 2013 9:00 am EDT
Updated: Tuesday February 26, 2013 2:45 pm EDT
Article Length: 538 Words
Reading Time: 2 Minutes
This is not a government shutdown. But it will start the erosion of our military readiness, and we will soon see impacts to bases and installations around the world
Defense Department Press Secretary George Little
Press Secretary: Sequestration Poses Long-Term Danger To DOD
February 25, 2013
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2013 – Though little will change immediately if deep across-the-board spending cuts trigger March 1, the long-term changes will be disastrous for the Defense Department, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said here today.
A “sequestration” mechanism in budget law requires the Pentagon to cut more than $47 billion in spending for the rest of the fiscal year, which runs through Sept. 30, unless Congress agrees on and the president signs an alternative plan.
Still, Little said, there will be no discernible change March 2 if the cuts take effect March 1 — child care centers will operate, and schools and commissaries will open.
“This is not a government shutdown,” Little told reporters this morning. “But it will start the erosion of our military readiness, and we will soon see impacts to bases and installations around the world.”
The services have told Congress about the dangers to readiness. Inside of a year, 60 percent of the Army brigade combat teams will be ineffective, Army officials have said. The Marine Corps would experience a similar degradation in capabilities. Cuts to operations and maintenance funds will hammer flying hours and steaming days, meaning Air Force squadrons and Navy ships and aircraft will not be ready.
Further, some 800,000 Defense Department civilian employees stand to be furloughed without pay for up to 22 days through the end of the fiscal year. Pay and monetary benefits for service members, however, are exempt from sequestration.
DOD military and civilian officials have vowed that no one will be sent to a combat zone without the training and materials needed to succeed, but they have acknowledged that this will further constrain money for the base force.
The sequestration problem came up in meetings that Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta had with European allies at NATO headquarters in Brussels last week. “Our partners and allies are very concerned about sequestration,” Little said today. “This is an item that shouldn’t have to be on the agenda with foreign counterparts.”
Little rejected the notion that DOD has overstated the effects of sequestration.
“It is very clear that from military readiness to partial impacts to military families and troops that we’re looking at a very bleak set of scenarios if sequestration takes effect,” he said. “We have not been overhyping this. This is something we have been very forthright about for 18 months, and we will continue to express our opposition to a mechanism that will do harm to our national defense and could — if taken to the absurd extreme — hollow out the force.”
Congress still has time to avoid triggering the automatic cuts.
“We really hope that between now and Friday, Congress will act to prevent sequestration,” Little said.
Source: Defense Department