Teaching rational thinking

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Teaching rational thinking

#1  Postby aban57 » Apr 18, 2019 11:56 am

I'm currently preparing a course in rational thinking. I'll skip the several reasons behind this (there's a bigger plan in my mind).
The teaching itself won't be a problem, I already did that earlier in my career, it's the content I need help proofchecking.

In Belgium (well Wallonia to be more precise), there's a public company that provides free teaching for anyone who is employed. It's paid for by a portion of corporate taxes. Those teaching are very broad, and include soft and hard skills. My goal is to offer a one day course in rational thinking in this context. I don't know yet the process to submit a course to this company, I'll investigate this when I'm sure I have a complete course to offer.

The challenge here is to show how rational thinking can be beneficial in a workplace environment, otherwise I'm afraid they won't accept it. That's also why I need your help. It would be great if I could give examples of how rational thinking helped you in your daily work.

The current plan for the course is the following :

[Reveal] Spoiler: plan
1- Definition
Rational thinking means thinking and debating only according to logical reasoning, bringing, for each argument, evidence or demonstrations of its veracity. It generated the scientific method. And as opposed to some common thinking, it is not linked to intelligence.
2- Why is it useful ?
It allows a more reasoned approach to discussion, no matter what the subject is. Well conducted, it avoids the emotional charge that tends to make discussions escalate and degenerate. Furthermore, even though by definition it doesn’t guarantee truth, it tends to reduce mendacious arguments, which improves the global veracity of a discussion or a debate.
In a professional environment, a rational approach often allows to bring effective (result) and efficient (means) solution to problems, or improve existing situations (like work processes). Finally, it is often the only answer to ego battles.
3- History
Ajita Kesakambali (600 BCE)
Pythagoras (570–495 BCE), Plato (427–347 BCE) et Aristotle (384–322 BCE).
René Descartes (1596–1650) Baruch Spinoza (1632–1677) Gottfried Leibniz (1646–1716) Immanuel Kant (1724–1804)
4- Functioning of the human brain
a- The human minds works by association. But it is limited by the partial information it receives and the way it interprets it, itself influenced by cognitive biases.
b- Usual biases : shortcuts, emotion, non-reliability of memory, “morality”, social conventions.
c- Cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias
d- Dunning-Kruger effect
5- Rational discourse
a. Start with what we know to reach what we don’t.
b. Difference between opinion and fact
c. Absolute/reasonable/proportional certainty
d. Accept when we’re wrong/update our knowledge/I don’t know (dissociate one person with their ideas)
e. Structure of an argument (premises/conclusion) (validity and soundness)
6- Usual fallacious arguments
a. Argumentum ad logicam
b. Generalization
c. Ad hominem
d. Strawman
e. To quoque (whataboutism)
f. Call to nature
7- Points of attention
a. Bad ideas exist to be destroyed


I'm not satisfied with the definition. I didn't want to copy paste the one in wikipedia (anyone can do that), but I don't like the result. I don't know why. Maybe it's just the wording.
Also, I'll put in the 7a everything that comes to mind and sounds useful, and doesn't fit anywhere else.

Thanks in advance for any useful criticism :thumbup:
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Re: Teaching rational thinking

#2  Postby Keep It Real » Apr 18, 2019 12:50 pm

There may perhaps be an inescapable...er...unpalatable irony in somebody deciding to design, promote and then teach a course on rational thinking, single handed, which includes a module on the Dunning-Kruger effect. There's 2c.
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Re: Teaching rational thinking

#3  Postby tuco » Apr 18, 2019 1:26 pm

wow now that is something, I admire.

To the point. I will not give much advice simply because it would require for me to do some serious research but two notes:

1.
The challenge here is to show how rational thinking can be beneficial in a workplace environment, otherwise I'm afraid they won't accept it


That's indeed the challenge because from my experience, never worked for Google .., workplace is more like military than a palce for rational discourse. Then again, it depends, I guess.

2. You must include

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Re: Teaching rational thinking

#4  Postby surreptitious57 » Apr 18, 2019 2:42 pm

Get each employee to identify a personal weakness that impacts upon their job
Then propose practical solutions to reducing it so they become more productive
A MIND IS LIKE A PARACHUTE : IT DOES NOT WORK UNLESS IT IS OPEN
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Re: Teaching rational thinking

#5  Postby aban57 » Apr 18, 2019 3:59 pm

tuco wrote:wow now that is something, I admire.

To the point. I will not give much advice simply because it would require for me to do some serious research but two notes:

1.
The challenge here is to show how rational thinking can be beneficial in a workplace environment, otherwise I'm afraid they won't accept it


That's indeed the challenge because from my experience, never worked for Google .., workplace is more like military than a palce for rational discourse. Then again, it depends, I guess.

2. You must include



Great video. I can't use it directly, as the course will be delivered in French, mostly, but I'll include the content somehow. Thanks. :thumbup:
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Re: Teaching rational thinking

#6  Postby aban57 » Apr 18, 2019 4:00 pm

surreptitious57 wrote:Get each employee to identify a personal weakness that impacts upon their job
Then propose practical solutions to reducing it so they become more productive


It might be hard to have people talk about their weaknesses in front of people they don't know. I'll think about it.
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Re: Teaching rational thinking

#7  Postby theropod » Apr 18, 2019 4:33 pm

Wouldn’t critical thinking skills be more apt, and lead to rational thinking?

RS
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Re: Teaching rational thinking

#8  Postby aban57 » Apr 18, 2019 4:39 pm

theropod wrote:Wouldn’t critical thinking skills be more apt, and lead to rational thinking?

RS


True, but in this case it's a translation problem. We don't really speak about "pensée critique" in French, "pensée rationnelle" will speak to everyone and be well understood.
But I'll see how I can make it clearer that rational thinking is the goal, not the path.
Thanks.
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