Critical Thinking Resources
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07-04-2017, 08:17 AM
RE: Critical Thinking Resources
Here's one of my favorites which I recommend:

Atheism: The Case Against God by George H. Smith (Available from Prometheus Books or Amazon)
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07-04-2017, 09:11 AM (This post was last modified: 07-04-2017 09:37 AM by true scotsman.)
RE: Critical Thinking Resources
(07-04-2017 12:38 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  I would like to study critical thinking. I want to learn about things like arguments from ignorance, circular reasoning, ad hominem attacks, etc.

I find it all fascinating so can anyone recommend some good sources (books, videos etc) please?

Thank you

Good for you! There are many resources out there. One fallacy in particular that you should familiarize yourself with and train yourself to recognize (sometimes it is very subtle) is the fallacy of the stolen concept. It is absolutely rampant out there. I could pick any thread on this forum, particularly if it is posted by a theist (theism thrives on stolen concepts) and find it in short order. If only I had a dollar for every instance of this fallacy, I'd be the richest man in the world, the first trillion-heir.

The fallacy of the stolen concept occurs when one uses a concept while denying, ignoring or calling into question, a concept which is logically antecedent to the one being used.

An example: Who or what caused reality? Or Who or what caused the universe. since causality is a part of the universe, we have the fallacy of the stolen concept. The concept "cause" logically presupposes the concepts "universe" and "reality". Any cause must exist in order to cause anything and it must be real to cause anything.

This fallacy is virtually omnipresent in discourse today. I suspect it has been for all of history. I believe the root cause of it is not deliberate dishonesty but ignorance of the logical structure of knowledge, it"s hierarchical, and a lack of understanding of concepts. The cure is a rational theory of concepts.

Here's one resource on the fallacy of the stolen concept:
http://www.reocities.com/Athens/Sparta/1...htm#stolen

A case in point

Recently I encountered a real doozy of an example, a blatant one, of this fallacy. This theist I was talking with said the following: I deny the law of Identity. Now see if you can spot the stolen concept here (I'll give you a hint, it renders all of his concepts stolen since the axiom of Identity is implicit in all concepts). Notice that this person implicitly uses what he denies. He identifies the law of identity as the thing which he denies as opposed to some other thing such as the law of supply and demand. Stolen concepts always result in self contradiction.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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07-04-2017, 09:56 AM
RE: Critical Thinking Resources
I don't think I've ever heard of the stolen concept fallacy

Thanks for the info and link.

“I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.” ~ Oscar Wilde
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07-04-2017, 10:09 AM
RE: Critical Thinking Resources
(07-04-2017 09:56 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  I don't think I've ever heard of the stolen concept fallacy

Thanks for the info and link.

Many people have not. But it is key to understanding theism.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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07-04-2017, 10:30 AM
RE: Critical Thinking Resources
(07-04-2017 09:11 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  One fallacy in particular that you should familiarize yourself with and train yourself to recognize (sometimes it is very subtle) is the fallacy of the stolen concept.

Once I learned what equivocations were, I heard them all over the place too.

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07-04-2017, 11:09 AM
RE: Critical Thinking Resources
(07-04-2017 10:30 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  
(07-04-2017 09:11 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  One fallacy in particular that you should familiarize yourself with and train yourself to recognize (sometimes it is very subtle) is the fallacy of the stolen concept.

Once I learned what equivocations were, I heard them all over the place too.

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Another error which occurs because of ignorance of concepts.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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07-04-2017, 11:15 AM
RE: Critical Thinking Resources
(07-04-2017 11:09 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  
(07-04-2017 10:30 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  Once I learned what equivocations were, I heard them all over the place too.
Another error which occurs because of ignorance of concepts.

Religious and political people especially struggle with this problem, because they are trained with loaded terminology.
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07-04-2017, 11:26 AM
RE: Critical Thinking Resources
(07-04-2017 11:15 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  
(07-04-2017 11:09 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  Another error which occurs because of ignorance of concepts.

Religious and political people especially struggle with this problem, because they are trained with loaded terminology.

Thanks to postmodern philosophy. They think that concepts are arbitrary social constructs instead of objective identifications of facts. Definitions are subjective on this view and can change at need. Fluid definitions are the hallmark of philosophical fraud.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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07-04-2017, 03:32 PM
RE: Critical Thinking Resources
(07-04-2017 11:26 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  
(07-04-2017 11:15 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  Religious and political people especially struggle with this problem, because they are trained with loaded terminology.

Thanks to postmodern philosophy. They think that concepts are arbitrary social constructs instead of objective identifications of facts. Definitions are subjective on this view and can change at need. Fluid definitions are the hallmark of philosophical fraud.

This problem contributes to our political polarization, since each side accuses the other of misprepresenting realities when in fact they have different priorities. Equivocations become a very deliberate political strategy, and Trump's political opportunism is the reductio ad absurdum.
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07-04-2017, 08:11 PM
RE: Critical Thinking Resources
(07-04-2017 03:32 PM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  This problem contributes to our political polarization, since each side accuses the other of misprepresenting realities when in fact they have different priorities.
Actually they have different perceived realities.

I don't believe that concepts are arbitrary social constructs, but I do understand there are many perspectives / facets / rose colored glasses from which to view facts, and the un-self-aware, unexamined lives most people lead anymore, leads them to cherry pick favored perspectives and selectively ignore or misrepresent others. There's nothing arbitrary about that; it is entirely self-serving.

We are living out the result of people having almost no bullshit filters and indeed little idea of what bullshit even actually is; it creeps up on them and messes with their brains before they even suspect it's there. I guess if you're full of bullshit yourself, you can't call it out when you see it.

I am still leaking bullshit from my days as a fundamentalist Christian but am not so full of it as I once was. At least I seem to be headed in the right direction. Sadly, I can't say that religious faith mediates most of the bullshit in the world. There's political and philosophical and other ideological bullshit, people with personality disorders and those who enable them and their bullshit, and people who deliberately use bullshit to get their way or to avoid any heavy lifting in life.
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