Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Animal World (V)


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Useful Guide for Critical Thinking

Argument Mapping
Cognitive Biases and Blindspots
Critical Reading and Writing
Email Lists and Newsletters
The Enlightenment
Experts and Expertise
General Resources
Great Critical Thinkers
Group Thinking
Health & Medicine
Hoaxes, Scams and Urban Legends
Institutes, Centers and Societies
Intelligence (military, etc.)
Language and Thought
Magazines & Journals
The Media
Miscellaneous & Fun
Postmodernism and all that
Political Correctness
Statistics & Probability
Theory & Research
Web Page Evaluation

Top Ten

  1. Argument Mapping Tutorials. Six online tutorials in argument mapping, a core requirement for advanced critical thinking.
  2. The Skeptic's Dictionary - over 400 definitions and essays.
  3. The Fallacy Files by Gary Curtis. Best website on fallacies.
  4. Butterflies and Wheels. Excellent reading - news, articles, and much more.
  5. Critical Thinking: What It Is and Why It Counts by Peter Facione. Good overview of the nature of critical thinking. (pdf file)
  6. Of the Liberty of Thought and Discussion by John Stuart Mill. Classic chapter, densely packed with wisdom about thinking.
  7. Chance - best resource for helping students think critically about issues involving probability and statistics
  8. Psychology of Intelligence Analysis, by Richards Heuer. A good overview of how to improve thinking in the light of insights from cognitive psychology.
  9. A Handbook on Writing Argumentative and Interpretative Essays by Ian Johnston
  10. Baloney Detection Part 1 and Part 2 - by Michael Shermer. 10 step guide.

What is critical thinking?

Nobody said it better than Francis Bacon, back in 1605:

For myself, I found that I was fitted for nothing so well as for the study of Truth; as having a mind nimble and versatile enough to catch the resemblances of things … and at the same time steady enough to fix and distinguish their subtler differences; as being gifted by nature with desire to seek, patience to doubt, fondness to meditate, slowness to assert, readiness to consider, carefulness to dispose and set in order; and as being a man that neither affects what is new nor admires what is old, and that hates every kind of imposture.

A shorter version is the art of being right.

Or, more prosaically: critical thinking is the skillful application of a repertoire of validated general techniques for deciding the level of confidence you should have in a proposition in the light of the available evidence.

More definitions...

Software for Critical Thinking

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Internet and Virtual Civil Society: The New Frontier of Social Capital

Miki Caul Kittilson, Arizona State University
Russell J. Dalton, University of California, Irvine

April 2008


Although scholars generally agree that social interactions within traditional social groups build social capital, they debate the benefits of a virtual civil society based on social interactions over the Internet. Our research examines how interpersonal social group activity and virtual activity contribute to the multiple dimensions of social capital: social trust, citizen norms and political involvement. Our analyses rely on data collected in the 2005 Citizenship Involvement Democracy survey conducted by the Center for Democracy and Civil Society at Georgetown University. This survey provides unique detail on participation in both social groups and virtual interactions. Our findings suggest that social group activity and virtual interactions both foster democratic norms and activities.



Miki Caul Kittilson and Russell J. Dalton, "The Internet and Virtual Civil Society: The New Frontier of Social Capital" (April 16, 2008). Center for the Study of Democracy. Paper 08-05.

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