Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

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HUM 101 Critical Thinking and Problem Solving-B1 Midterm
11/4/2011
1. In your own words, explain the 3 stages of knowing and use a sample situation to show how people in each of the 3 stages would respond to it. Be sure that you both explain each stage in general terms and then explain how each example fits that stage. Do not say that kids are Stage 1, teens are Stage 2, and adults are Stage 3; that’s too simplistic and also inaccurate.

The three stages of knowing are essentially the various ways in which one views their environment before achieving the ability to think critically. One does not pass through these stages sequentially; rather, the stages may be revisited as a person’s ability to think critically regresses and progresses. Additionally, certain people may never change the way in which they view the world. In the first stage, known as the “Garden of Eden” stage, one’s rational is very cut and dry. There is no room for interpretation, nor is there any grey area; to them, what is right is right and what is wrong is wrong, no matter the circumstances. This type of thinker typically learns their beliefs based on what they are told to believe. I think that the greatest example of this, in recent history, is 9/11 and the wars that followed. The American people were told time and time again that the attacks were carried out by representatives of the U.S./freedom-hating Muslim faith. We were then told that war was the only way that we could prevent inevitable, future attacks. The “War on Terror” was designed as the ultimate example of good versus evil. Due to the utter shock of the events of that horrific day, the majority Americans believed that rational and whole-heartedly supported our war with the evil terrorists and those who supported them. Stage two, or the “Anything Goes” stage is the very opposite of the first stage. A person in this stage believes that since there are so many conflicting points of view surrounding any issue, then no one has the absolute right answer and any point of view is just as valid as another. A person who does not believe in the Theory of Evolution exemplifies this stage perfectly. Evolution has been proven and is widely accepted by the scientific community. Disbelievers, with no expertise on the subject, argue that since it is a “theory,” then any theory to explain the origin of life on Earth is valid. Finally, stage three is “Thinking Critically.” A person who thinks in this manner has the ability to consider all viewpoints surrounding a problem. More importantly, that person can decipher, based on actual credibility, which viewpoint(s) is more valid than the rest. To again use the Theory of Evolution as an illustration: a Critical Thinker would consider each side’s arguments and understand where the respective beliefs come from. The Critical Thinker would then have the knowledge s/he needed to know that the scientist’s position on the issue is more valid based on their expertise on the subject and the evidence that supports that expertise.

2. Explain the difference between collectivism and individualism then give 4 examples (2 of collectivism and 2 of individualism) to illustrate the differences. Explain how each example illustrates the cultural difference. Make sure differences are CULTURAL differences; in essence, don’t write that a sports team is collectivist!

Collectivism and individualism are cultural beliefs that explain reasoning and behavior within a culture. Collectivism refers to the belief that the individual should serve the needs of the group. Conversely, individualism refers to the belief that only the individual person should have the authority to fulfill one’s own destiny and satisfy one’s own needs. Political views, liberal versus conservative beliefs, illustrate the difference between these two ideals. Those on the left typically believe in collectivism, in one form or another, while those on the right stand by...
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