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Critical Thinking: Tips on how to reason more effectively in conversation

Written by: Matshepo Sehloho

Lecturer and co-author of Critical Thinking, Science and Pseudosciences, Jacques Rousseau talks to Eusebius McKaiser about the different ways people can eliminate popular methods of reasoning that may be considered poor or ineffective.

He highlights what these poor ways of reasoning are; how to eliminate them in your dialogue and thinking; and to spot them in other people.

Rousseau answered questions from callers about reasoning and the quality of arguments - like is there a genuine complexity behind the phrase: "it's complicated?"

He says when a person saying 'it's complicated', they might not be sincere, or they could be using it as an escape hatch to get out of the conversation. He added that it could be possible that they are struggling to articulate themselves and people sometimes make the mistake of concluding and assuming that the complexity is a lie.

But of cause, anything can be partially complex to anybody, and we might not have access to whats going on in their heads.

Jacques Rousseau, Lecturer and co-author of Critical Thinking, Science and Pseudoscience

If you enter into a conversation knowing in advance that it is going to be emotive and it's going to involve pricking or scratching at various scabs, like race and gender, one of the rules should be to see the conversation through, he adds, saying part of the problem is that we see these conversations as a zero-sum gain.

The 'it's complicated' response can be forestalled or curtailed to some extent by asking people to stick to the point that we are talking about.

Jacques Rousseau, Lecturer and co-author of Critical Thinking, Science and Pseudoscience

He touched on different topics that were posed to him by listeners and also touched on free speech.

Tech is designed to bring out the worst out of us.

Jacques Rousseau, Lecturer and co-author of Critical Thinking, Science and Pseudoscience

Rousseau also touched on the effects of what social media has become and how it affects people's reasoning and critical thinking.

Listen to this insightful interview about critical thinking.


This article first appeared on 702 : Critical Thinking: Tips on how to reason more effectively in conversation




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