PHI/210 Discussion Questions Solved Week 1-11 – A Graded
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PHI 210 Discussion Questions with Detailed Answers
PHI 210 Discussions
Week 1 DQ 1
“Knowing and Thinking” Please respond to the following:
E. M. Forrester once said, “How can I know what I think until I see what I say?”
• Find one (1) quote in Chapter 1 made by some other famous person about “knowing” or “thinking” which you think best describes your own viewpoint.
• Explain how the quote you chose relates to one of the roles of thinking.
• Explain why the quote or comment you chose is meaningful to you.
Week 1 DQ 2
“Barriers to Objective Thinking” Please respond to the following:
Some people define themselves by their possessions, religious beliefs, abilities, or other factors. “Defining yourself” is a topic about which you may have a difficult time thinking objectively.
• Describe how you define yourself to others. Be specific.
• Describe how you define yourself to yourself. Be specific.
• Explain whether you think there is a contradiction between these two definitions and what barriers of objective thinking may contribute to this contradiction.
• Describe how you think others might define you. Be specific.
• Explain what the barriers to objective thinking may influence your own self-definition and how others may define you.
Week 2 DQ 1
“Action Plan for Effective Listening” Please respond to the following:
Create a formalized action plan with specific steps describing what you can do to evaluate your progress in becoming an effective listener. Look at the sample action plan in “Thinking Activity: 3.4” and review the “Eight steps of effective listening.”
• Describe exactly what you will do to improve your listening.
• Describe when and where you will try to improve your listening (days/times/places).
• Describe specifically how you will check your progress.
Week 2 DQ 2
“How Good Is Your Memory?” Please respond to the following:
Recall Versus Recognition.” Without looking first at a penny, answer the questions below. (You don’t need to write down your answers.)
• Which way is Lincoln facing? To the front, to the left, or to the right?
• Is the date on the left or right side of Lincoln?
• What single word is on the opposite side of Lincoln from the date?
• Does it say “E Pluribus Unum” anywhere on the penny? If so, is it on the front or back side of the penny?
• Does it say “One Cent” anywhere on the penny? If so, is it on the front or back?
• Does it say “Give me liberty or give me death” anywhere on the penny? If so, is it on the front or the back?
• Does it say “In God we trust” anywhere on the penny? If so, is it on the front or the back?
• Does it say “United States of America” anywhere on the penny? If so, is it on the front or back?
• Is there a picture of the American flag anywhere on the penny? If so, is it on the front or the back?
Next, after you have answered each question, look at a penny to see how well you remembered what it actually looks like. Please respond to the following:
• What does this exercise reveal about your own perceptions and memories?
• What differences are there between recognizing and recalling?
• Do these differences suggest anything about the accuracy of memories?
Week 3 DQ 1
“Languageless’ Thinking” Please respond to the following:
Consider the quote by Wittgenstein, “The limits of my language are the limits of my life.”
• Explain whether it is possible to think without using language.
• If you believe it is possible, describe how a person might enact “languageless” thinking.
• If you believe it is not possible, describe what you foresee as the problems with languageless thinking.
Week 3 DQ 2
“Generating Writing” Please respond to the following:
Choose a topic about which you have a strong opinion. Select a method of finding and using your feelings – 1) inspiration method; 2) recollection method; 3) conscious selection method. Write quickly about your topic for five (5) minutes. This is for your eyes only; no one else will read it. After finishing the writing activity, respond to the following questions:
• Were you surprised by the quantity of the words and a certain raw eloquence? Explain.
• Did your strong feelings help you generate any worthwhile thoughts? Explain.
• Can you keep the words in this form or do you need to refine and revise them for public communication? Explain.
• What have you learned about your own thinking and writing from this experience?
• Is there anything you could do to improve the way you start your writing assignments? If so, what? If not, what is working well for you?
Week 4 DQ 1
“‘Brainstorming’ and ‘Starbursting’ a Topic” Please respond to the following:
Choose a topic from the list in Appendix A. NOTE: The topic you choose for this exercise will be the basis of your “Critical Thinking Paper” due in Week 10.
• Which topic did you choose?
• Why did that topic interest you?
• Share at least four (4) ideas you generated on this topic using the “brainstorming” technique (you should have many more).
• Share at least four (4) questions you generated using the “starbursting” technique.
• NOTE: After sharing in the discussion, save your work. It is a useful start for your “Critical Thinking Paper” due in Week 10.
Week 4 DQ 2
“Clutter Control” Please respond to the following:
Refer to the topic you selected in Discussion 1 for your Critical Thinking Paper. Perform the three (3) steps in the CAP organizing process: Clustering, Analyzing, and Prioritizing.
• Share the titles of the cluster groups you created (not the individual topics within each of the clusters.) (“Clustering”)
• Share the list of topics you placed in one or two of the cluster groups.
• Explain how you modified the list(s) to better serve your argument. (“Analyzing”)
• Show how you would order the list of modified topics – this is the beginning of your outline for the paper. (“Prioritizing”)
• NOTE: After sharing in the discussion, save your work. It is a useful start for your “Critical Thinking Paper” due in Week 10.
Week 5 DQ 1
“Syllogisms” Please respond to the following:
The following discussion questions refer to the activity assigned under the “Readings” section for this week.
• Explain the thinking process you used to identify the categorical propositions in these syllogisms.
• Identify any premises or conclusions with which you did not agree or which you believe to be false.
• Explain whether you found any syllogisms which appeared to be valid or invalid and why you think this is the case.
• Diagram one of the syllogisms in Activity 9.1 or 9.2. Describe what your Venn diagram revealed. Explain whether you thought this method was useful or challenging.
Week 5 DQ 2
“Beliefs in Everyday Life” Please respond to the following:
• Describe a belief that you would continue to believe even if solid logical evidence was supplied which demonstrated your belief could not possibly be true.
• Create a syllogism which “proves” that your belief is based in logical reasoning.
• Evaluate the explanations and arguments of at least two (2) other students to determine whether there might be some underlying error in their reasoning. Provide the other students with “evidence” that they could use to eliminate any potential fallacies in their explanations and/or arguments.
Week 6 DQ 1
“Finding Fallacies or No Fallacies” Please respond to the following:
You encounter arguments everyday but probably do not notice them. Try to find examples of logical errors and/or examples of good syllogistic reasoning. There are plenty of examples on radio and television talk shows, in your local newspaper, and even in discussions with your friends. Do not use examples from Internet Web sites which deal specifically with logic (although the examples could be from articles posted on the Internet or from blogs).
• Find at least five (5) “real-life” arguments which could be rewritten as syllogisms.
• In a sentence or two, describe the argument.
• Rewrite each argument as a syllogism.
• Identify whether the argument contains logical errors or is an example of good syllogistic reasoning.
Week 6 DQ 2
“Nature or Nurture Debate” Please respond to the following:
The “nature or nurture” argument is based on whether a person’s behavior is a result of heredity or his/her environment. Review the “Either/Or” fallacies in the Thinking textbook.
• State the main reason why you agree with either the “nature” position or with the “nurture” position.
• Evaluate your own stated reason: Is it supportable with verifiable evidence? Is it based on reason or opinion? Would the other side think that your stated reason adequately supports your position?
• Explain whether there are other theories besides nature and nurture that might explain the variability of human behavior.
• Choose comments from two (2) students who hold a different position from yours and suggest counter-reasons which challenge each of the other positions.
Week 7 DQ 1
“Operational Definitions” Please respond to the following:
• Identify a variable for scientific study that can be operationally defined.
• Create an operational definition for the variable.
• Identify what aspects of the variable would be observable and measurable.
• Evaluate whether the variable defined by two (2) other students is an operational definition or is actually a non-operational definition. Explain whether you think the variable retains its meaning or loses its meaning.
Week 7 DQ 2
“Observation, Hypothesis, Experimentation, and Verification” Please respond to the following:
Review the sections on “The Scientific Method” and “Proving a Theory.”
• Evaluate the claims below by using “the Scientific Method” and “Proving a Theory” steps.
• Identify one (1) claim which is ineffective or unsupportable and explain what specifically makes the claim ineffective or unsupportable.
• Explain what you think would have to be done to the claim in order to make it more effective or supportable.
1. There is a phenomenon known as “spontaneous human combustion” in which most of the victim’s body, as well as the chair, in which the person was sitting, is found burned to ashes but the rest of the objects in the room are relatively unaffected. This phenomenon suggests that there is a new type of subatomic particle: a “pyroton” that interacts with cells and causes the victim to burst into flame. [Arnold, L. (1995). Ablaze! New York, NY: M. Evans.]
2. Many reported ghost sightings involve reenactments of battles, deaths, or murders. This finding suggests that certain physical objects, such as stones, can record emotions and events like a video recorder. [Kneale, N. (1972) “The stone tape,” broadcast on BBC, December 25, 1972.]
3. No one has ever actually been abducted by aliens. Instead, the experience of being abducted has been beamed into the minds of abductees by an intelligent being from somewhere in the universe that is symbiotically linked to life on this planet. [Rogo, D. S. (1990). Beyond reality. Wellingborough, UK: Aquarian Press.]
4. People often know when others are staring at them. This shows that perception involves not only receiving light rays from an object but also projecting some sort of image onto the object. [Sheldrake, R. (1994). Seven experiments that could change the world: A do-it-yourself guide to revolutionary science. London, UK: Fourth Estate.]
5. Dreams often seem as real as waking experiences because humans are composed of two bodies: a physical body and an astral body. When we dream, our astral body leaves the physical body and travels to the astral plane where the dream actually takes place. [Rampa, T. L. (1990). You forever (York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser.]
6. Food kept inside a structure with the shape of Cheops’s pyramid stays fresher longer than food kept outside the structure. The pyramid must serve as a lens that focuses some sort of cosmic energy onto the food. [Toth, M., Nielson, G. (1985). Pyramid power (Rochester, VT: Destiny Books.]
Week 8 DQ 1
“Persuasion” Please respond to the following:
Aristotle defines “persuading through personal character” as our belief that a person is unbiased and has nothing to gain by lying to us.
• Describe a time when you chose to believe in “the person” giving you some sort of information rather than in the situation which, at least on the surface, appeared to be much different from what the person you trusted was saying to you about the situation.
• In the end, who did you choose to believe? The trusted person or the “impersonal” situation?
• If you had to do it over again, which one would you have trusted?
Week 8 DQ 2
“Examining Tu Quoque Fallacies” Please respond to the following:
• Describe a time when you were guilty of the fallacy of Tu Quoque. (If you have ever said, “Yes, I did X but she did Y first,” then you have committed a Tu Quoque fallacy.)
• Explain honestly whether you thought that justifying your behavior based on the behavior of someone else legitimized your own behavior in some way.
• Explain whether you think that you will respond in the same way if a similar challenge is raised again.
Week 8 DQ 3
“Share Survey Results” Please respond to the following:
Share the results of your survey and your findings with the rest of the class.
• Consider whether the survey responses were honest. Have you ever lied when taking a survey? Why might people lie on surveys?
• Assess whether the results are similar to what you expected them to be. If not, why do you think they were different?
• Describe what you did to minimize design flaws in the survey.
• Identify any potential flaws you may have found in your survey study.
• Evaluate whether any flaws affected the results of your survey. If so, how?
Week 9 DQ 1
“Who Do You Ask What?” Please respond to the following:
Read through all of the scenarios listed below.
• For one (1) of the scenarios, identify the components in the problem.
• Determine the questions that you would ask each component in the scenario in order to gather enough information to start working on a solution to the problem. (Note: You don’t have to offer potential solutions to the problem; at this point, you simply want to gather information.)
• Explain from where and how you would get more information if you needed it.
1. The president of the campus Alumni Association (who has held the one-year position for the past four years) has been having a difficult time getting enough alumni to attend the annual meetings so elections can be held and a new president elected, and she really wants to step down as president.(Kirby & Goodpaster, 2007. The instructor’s manual for thinking.)
2. You have been appointed to the County Planning Commission. One of the growing small towns in the county needs a highway bypass to decrease traffic through its business district, but the only logical and most direct proposed bypass route takes it through one of the more affluent residential areas. The threat of increased traffic, congestion, and pollution has the residents of the neighborhood in an uproar, and the County Treasurer is also complaining that the proposed route might lead to a decrease in revenue for the county, since it would cause a decrease in property values in this affluent neighborhood. (Kirby & Goodpaster, 2007. The instructor’s manual for thinking.)
3. Marcus and Arishonne both work to maintain the standard of living that this couple desires, but they are unable to meet the time demands of both work and domestic life. Their job demands do not leave enough time for even the most basic things, like cleaning the house, taking care of the yard, and generally maintaining their home. They have no children, and their closest relatives are over 600 miles away. (Kirby & Goodpaster, 2007. The instructor’s manual for thinking.)
4. Although everything was fine five minutes ago, a secretary cannot get her computer to send a document to the printer. The document must be printed for the meeting her boss has scheduled to begin in fifteen minutes. (Kirby & Goodpaster, 2007. The instructor’s manual for thinking.)
Week 9 DQ 2
“Slowest Horse” Please respond to the following:
Consider this scenario: Mr. Brown and Mr. Green have argued several times about which one of them has the slowest horse. They have swapped stories, each telling of the races his horse has lost, but each man also has failed to convince the other that his horse was the slowest.
• Create the best solution for solving the problem of who owns the slowest horse.
• Explain your reasons for why you believe your solution would solve the two men’s problem.
• Describe a dilemma of your own with a problem similar to the one in the “Slowest Horse” scenario.
• Provide a possible solution for at least two (2) other students’ dilemmas.
Week 10 DQ 1
“Quality Thinking” Please respond to the following:
• Identify at least one (1) factor which is necessary for evaluating the quality of your thinking.
• Explain why it is significant for an accurate evaluation of your own critical thinking.
• Explain whether it is easier to evaluate other people’s thinking than it is to evaluate your own. Why or why not?
Week 10 DQ 2
“Saddling Up” Please respond to the following:
John Wayne once said, “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway”. Making a decision sometimes truly feels like an act of courage!
• Describe a decision you need to make that you have been putting off.
• Identify some of the factors causing you to delay making you decision.
• Explain whether you need more information before you decide. If so, what do you need to know? How can you get this information?
• Evaluate the consequences of deciding wrongly, of delaying, and of not deciding at all.
• Determine if you can think through the process and make a decision using an internal monologue.
• Evaluate whether it would help you to dialogue with others about this decision.
• Review at least two (2) other students’ comments and thoughtfully contribute ideas which you believe might assist them in making their decisions.
Week 11 DQ
“Make It Real” Please respond to the following:
You’ve spent a whole quarter learning how to think more critically, and now it is time to reflect back over the course.
• Identify two (2) or three (3) key concepts or skills you have learned from this course that you think will be helpful to you in your current or future positions.
• Explain why you believe these concepts or skills will be beneficial to you.