Chapter 2: Reasoning Study Guide

1.     How did you use reasoning during your day yesterday?

Reasoning is everywhere. I decided whether or not to listen to my alarm and get up. Once that hurdle was jumped over, I decided what to where, what to eat, and when to leave for school. Before school, I decided where to wait, what to talk about, and who to talk to. In class, I had to decided where to sit, which pencil to use, and the notes I take. When break comes around, I have to decide what I want to eat, and when it’s time to go to class. The same kinds of decisions are made throughout the school day. After school, I have to decide whether I want to put my things in my car or my locker during cross country practice and when to drink water or not. After practice, I have to choose which shower to use. Then I have to choose the best route to pick people up to drive into town for play rehearsal. At rehearsal, I have to choose what to eat for dinner and how to spend my time. Then, afterwards, I get to figure out the most effective order for dropping people off. Once I get home, I have to decide how to spend the remainder of my time before going to bed. In that time, I usually do the homework I have if I have any which requires a lot of brain power.

2.     Curate an article or video on cognitive computing or cognition.

The article that I discovered which interests me is called “How Deaf People Think”. According to the article, their brains treat American Sign Language (ASL) just as another spoken language. Deaf people use the same parts of the brain to process language as people who speak a spoken language. People who speak more than one language are often asked in which one do they think and dream. They often reply with something along the lines of “whichever makes most sense to the situation and people at hand.” It is no different for deaf people. They, instead of thinking of the spoken words, picture the hand gestures or images instead.

3.     What is a generalization you have made recently? Can you think of a harmful generalization?

I try to avoid making generalizations and stereotyping things and people based on trivial, physical details. Generalizations can often be harmful. For example, stereotyping someone because of the color of their skin can lead them to think less of themselves or even cause them to harm themselves physically. Sometimes, when people are stereotyped, they bend their own personalities and behaviors to fit the idea that is placed on them by others. This can lead to many people being harmed.

4.     ***note: be sure you understand the term “Implication”, (located in the green box on page 70) – it’s part of the TOK essay criteria.

5.     Make up your own variables (actual words) for P and Q in the DEDUCTIVE REASONING exercise on page 70.  (just try this out so it makes more sense) – I tried “Swedes” and “blonde”.

All men are strong. NOPE. Some men are strong and some are not.

6.     What are the 2 KEY ASSERTIONS of deductive reasoning? What is the MAJOR DISTINCTION between “Validity” and “Truth”?

  1. If the argument is valid and all premises are true, then the conclusion must be true.
  2. If the conclusion of an argument isn’t true, then either the argument is invalid or at least one of the premises is false.

Many statements can be valid and a lie. Validity refers to the fact that a statement can follow all of the rules and remain false. It is much more shallow and only looks at the statement as a whole, not its meaning. The truth, however, which is a concept people are much more familiar with. It is a statement that is valid and its content is proven to be true as well.

7.     Pick up one of your textbooks OR find an article on an online newspaper. Identify its premises and its conclusion. Look for key word hints, such as those located at the top of page 73.  Are there any implicit premises (those not stated explicitly but implied)?  (***note: premises are sometimes called “assumptions”)

·      Is the major premise of the argument true? How could one find out?

·      Is the argument valid? How would you know?

·      Assuming that the minor premise is true , is the conclusion true? How do you know? (see page 74 for help)

8.     Construct your OWN deductive argument or “SYLLOGISM” using the template in the middle of page 73. (remember to go from general to particular…)

  1. All men are strong.
  2. I am a man.
  3. I am strong.

9.     Construct your OWN FALLACY, or invalid deductive argument, similar to the one on page 74-5.

  1. All reptiles lay eggs.
  2. Birds lay eggs.
  3. Birds are reptiles.

10.     Be sure you understand what “COUNTER-ARGUMENTS” and “COUNTER-CLAIMS” are – as they are a huge part of the TOK assessments. (***if you ever get a chance, watch Red Eye – it’s full of them). Remember that a strong argument is both VALID and SOUND (see page 76)

11.     In your own words, how does INDUCTIVE reasoning differ from DEDUCTIVE reasoning? Can you provide an example of how you personally have used inductive reasoning recently? (see page 76)

Inductive reasoning focuses on details and applies them to general ideas. Deductive reasoning, on the other hand, knows the general ideas to calculate the details. I know that being burned hurts because every person that I know who has been burned was injured. That is using the specific details of people and applying them to a larger picture.

12.     In the last paragraph of page 77, the author states “Much of our knowledge about the natural sciences is based on generalizations backed by repeated observation of phenomena”. Can you provide an example of CLASSICAL induction from your own science courses (group 4)?

All plants, with more light, photosynthesize more. This has been shown by many experiments, but there is no way to test every single plant.

13.     Try the “random percentage” experiment discussed in the Statistics area of page 78. Type in 3 different random percentages into Google – what do you get? Try to find a statistic with a percentage via Twitter.

86% of people in the US are planning to travel this autumn

14% of students have already reached their free printing limit for the school year

6% of the badgers killed have TB

14.     Find an INFOGRAPHIC that not only offers statistics, but “tells the story” or offers correlations (see page 79).

From Poor to Rich

15.     Provide an example of ANALOGICAL REASONING from your own life. How likely are you to trust your own results, on a scale of 0 to 10?

I don’t like chocolate cake, therefore I won’t like chocolate cupcakes because they are very similar. I can completely trust my results, a 10, because I have had both and know the results.

16.      ***We might play the Crazy Captain’s game in class (Hypothetico-deductive reasoning)

17.     Curate a TED TALK ( ) that highlights the use of CREATIVE REASONING (pg. 82), post and provide a brief overview. (***you might want to check out TED MED at the top)

In this TEDx talk that I found, a man describes his experience as he struggles to survive alone in the Amazon for three weeks. He had to improvise and use creative reasoning to figure out how to make it out of the jungle alive after three weeks of solitude.

18.     Look around your bedroom OR your laptop: In what ways do you classify things? What is the method to your madness? Describe some common classifications in the AOKS (Areas of Knowledge, i.e. all your courses). Can you think of an example where technology or advances in science/ new-found “knowledge” has changed the classification system?

I tend to over-organize things. I can’t stand it when I can’t find what I’m looking for. On my Google Drive, I have a folder for each year of high school with a folder for each class within each one. Within all of those folders, assignments are categorized by projects. This could have to do with my psyche which could be studied in psychology. Why are some people more organized than others? Why does losing things bother someone like me so much while to others it’s no big deal?

With technology, just like I previously described, I organize everything into electronic files which I would not have the patience to do by hand. Technology has allowed us to become much more organized and get things done much quicker. New advances in medicinal fields are constantly changing the way that medicine is classified or grouped together along with groups of jobs that have to do with those advances.

19.     ***We will do more exercises with classification in class.

20.     Pages 86-7 discuss the dangers of classification, i.e. racism, stereotypes, and other prejudices. CURATE a relatively recent ARTICLE or VIDEO  that highlights an instance of one of these issues.

Because of the long-lasting issue of racism, especially between black and white people, people are getting murdered because of these harmful stereotypes. According to this article, a white Australian man was shot and killed while jogging in Oklahoma. The assumption that the three murderers made was, most likely, that all white people are terrible for hating people of color. This led to the death of a college baseball player, 22 years old, who was well-liked. When asked why, the three men answered, “[we] simply wanted to see someone die.”

21.     What stereotypes, generalizations, or prejudices do you think you have?

I try to avoid instantly classifying people because of their superficial traits. Unfortunately, I cannot always avoid these subconscious generalizations. For example, when people buy flashy, expensive cars or a superfluous amount of things they don’t need, I assume that they are rude, arrogant, and unsympathetic. Obviously, this isn’t true and once I get to know the person, I would love to find out that I was wrong.


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