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Improving Reasoning Skills

Siúil a Rúin

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What are some areas of study, courses, practices, etc. to help discipline and refine reasoning skills? This includes philosophy, logic studies, mathematics, linguistic analysis, etc. Are there online resources to practice reasoning skills in a structured way? Any input is appreciated.

Maybe the "Great Courses"? I'll go look...
 

Siúil a Rúin

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Perhaps resources for people like me - tired and full of brain fog. I'm not up to getting doctorates in math, philosophy, and linguistic analysis, but want to think clearly.
 

Ghost of the dead horse

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What are some areas of study, courses, practices, etc. to help discipline and refine reasoning skills? This includes philosophy, logic studies, mathematics, linguistic analysis, etc. Are there online resources to practice reasoning skills in a structured way? Any input is appreciated.

Maybe the "Great Courses"? I'll go look...
I, for one, accept the insect overlords..
oh wait, that's a different story.

I think debating might boost you up. Also, other activities which might do that, are cycling, rowing, philosophy. Or, you might wanna join a computer club.

The debate club is definitly gonna kick you up.
 

Coriolis

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What are some areas of study, courses, practices, etc. to help discipline and refine reasoning skills? This includes philosophy, logic studies, mathematics, linguistic analysis, etc. Are there online resources to practice reasoning skills in a structured way? Any input is appreciated.

Maybe the "Great Courses"? I'll go look...
A good way to practice reasoning skills is to have to explain yourself to someone who will challenge you and point out any unstated assumptions, lapses in logic, places where your evidence doesn't support your conclusions, etc. Yes, formal or informal debating will do this. Even just writing out your thoughts can help, especially if you can get someone to critique it. Even posting on a forum such as this can help, though you have to pick and choose the replies you consider since not everyone is able or willing to give your ideas a constructive rebuttal.

Reading mystery novels can help, too. You can follow along and see if you can figure out who the guilty party is based on the clues dropped through the story.
 

Siúil a Rúin

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A good way to practice reasoning skills is to have to explain yourself to someone who will challenge you and point out any unstated assumptions, lapses in logic, places where your evidence doesn't support your conclusions, etc. Yes, formal or informal debating will do this. Even just writing out your thoughts can help, especially if you can get someone to critique it. Even posting on a forum such as this can help, though you have to pick and choose the replies you consider since not everyone is able or willing to give your ideas a constructive rebuttal.

Reading mystery novels can help, too. You can follow along and see if you can figure out who the guilty party is based on the clues dropped through the story.
The mystery stories is a neat idea. I do value debating, but need to choose which topics. I have an inner conflict between a sort of Mulder and Scully. I feel like I can extrapolate too much, but then I also lack certitude about everything. Sometimes when reading my writing I find too much conjecture.

It's a terrible inner conflict because I want careful, definitive, verifiable thinking and even chose life partners based on that. I married people who were pure logic in their thinking and it did raise the bar in every day interaction. I valued that, although I was surprised that that ability did not always transfer into subjective analysis. I find myself continually unsatisfied with both approaches, and perhaps am wanting to find ways to integrate different reasoning tools to process information holistically.

I like being held to a higher standard of proof and not getting carried away with conjecture, but sometimes I feel at a complete loss to understand reality and that proof is elusive for many concepts. Maybe I should go study math. IDK. Maybe I should focus on debating more definitive topics for a while.
 

yeghor

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What are some areas of study, courses, practices, etc. to help discipline and refine reasoning skills? This includes philosophy, logic studies, mathematics, linguistic analysis, etc. Are there online resources to practice reasoning skills in a structured way? Any input is appreciated.

Maybe the "Great Courses"? I'll go look...

It starts with asking the question "why". Once you give yourself an answer, you ask another why question to that answer until you cannot ask it anymore. That means you may have reached the root of your subject. When you follow the root to the first step, that becomes the reasoning.

I will not buy these bananas. Why?

They look rotten. Why?

They may be old or maybe the freezer is not working. Why?

Beacuse the shop must be negligent. Why?

Maybe they do not have proper controls in place to check these thing? Why?

Maybe they cannot afford that. Why?

Maybe they do not make enough profits. Why?

They do not have enough customers, they have debt, unknown?


At every answer you should try to support your answer with external evidence to verify you are on the correct path, otherwise you will end up following a wrong or inconclusive trail of thought. It is a bit like detective work.

Agatha Christie or Sherlock Holmes novels or movies might make it more enjoyable maybe.
 

Coriolis

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[MENTION=14857]Siúil a Rún[/MENTION]: there is an author you might be interested in: Suzette Hadin Elgin. She wrote a series of books on communication, starting with The Gentle Art of Verbal Self Defense. It is not explicitly about critical thinking, but discusses the various ways in which people communicate, including separating what she calls the "bait" in someone's remarks from what their real point is. As such, it takes a critical eye to what people say and how, trying to get to the bottom of the real meaning, as well as identifying the best way to reply.
 
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I recommend this one for types with Dominant JCF Rational. To improve reasoning, a reasoner has to avoid fallacy.
Logical Fallacies: The Fallacy Files
www.fallacyfiles.org said:
About the Author: Gary N. Curtis
I have a doctoral degree in philosophy from Indiana University in Bloomington, where I majored in logic. My dissertation concerned the concept of logical form, and touched on the subject of formal fallacies. I have taught philosophy and logic at both the undergraduate and graduate levels at I.U.B., Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis—known affectionately as "Ooey-Pooey"—and Indiana State University. For five years, I worked as an ontologist for the artificial intelligence company Cycorp, Inc. in Austin, Texas. More recently, I've done consulting work for an online critical thinking textbook, and a television show which, unfortunately, never aired.

Comments and suggestions on these files are welcome. I am particularly interested in real-life examples of fallacious arguments drawn from the media, and will consider for inclusion fallacies that are not yet listed in the files. If you know of any external resources that these files should link to, please let me know of them. All suggestions or submissions that I use will be duly acknowledged. I will assume that all email is intended for publication, unless notified to the contrary. If you wish to have your name withheld, please inform me to that effect in the email.

Email me!
source
 

Siúil a Rúin

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I've been watching and reading various pandemic videos on youtube and watching discussions, and this brought to mind some of the structural fallacies I notice that are prevalent in reasoning.

1. Starting with subconscious fear-based ego/identity. When confronted with a serious issue like the pandemic or politics, people start with an underlying fear and drive to survive. To accommodate this, whatever framework provides the optimal feeling of control over the situation drives the internal paradigm. For people expert in health, they might focus on natural immune system approaches because they are already in control of that knowledge. Conspiracy theories provides a sense of 'special insider knowledge' that gives a feeling of control. Fixating at the vaccination as the single way to survive can result from placing trust in systems and authority, and also science. Please know I'm not attempting the 50/50 fallacy here or justifying a position. My point is whether the conclusion is correct or false, it can be driven by whatever is the existing sense of security for the person, the inner constructs known to optimize survival in past encounters in the world, or those which are at least are perceived as such.

2. Now that the conclusion is established based on existing internal constructs that minimize fear, now applied to the new situation, every engagement with the information is driven by backwards reasoning. Starting with the conclusion that satisfies the alleviation of fear, and validating it through cherry picking and distortions to validate it.

It brings to my mind how little objectivity there is in the world. Culturally this does have some roots in Ayn Rand who has propagated a fusing of ego with "objectivity" when they are possibly mutually exclusive. The human brain is not designed for objectivity, but for shortcuts that enabled survival in contexts very different from modern society. Some of the Buddhist philosophies and the scientific method provide mental disciplines towards objectivity. Interestingly, both require the ability to dismiss "self". This is the opposite of what Ayn Rand proposes. The most objective position does not favor "self" over "other" or the external environment because the experience of perceiving existence through the vantage point of the "self" does not objectively increase value over an equivalent being. I'm understanding that the path to objectivity involves the ability to think outside 'self', to not create constructs for the purpose of soothing fears, to have no identity attached to a concept, but to process information and reality as an observer without the impressions being beholden to personal consequences. Survival instinct is important, but it requires tunnel vision and dismissal of certain aspects of the outside world. It focuses resources into single actions to maximize a single outcome like fight or flight. It is not about objectivity. Ego investment cannot be objective by its very nature.

These are some thoughts over coffee for the purpose of chatting with folks online.
 
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