A "critical" difference we may have here is that it is just an arbitrary
opinion (not a fact) that, "The person has lost their ability to think
critically" . (03)
Is critical thinking such a culturally defined idea that we can't agree
on some criteria for it? Here are some of the usual criteria: (04)
* Identify and evaluate premises and conclusions in
* Acknowledge and clarify uncertainties
* Distinguish between facts and values
* Recognize and assess assumptions
* Distinguish source reliability or unreliability
* Recognize and understand conceptual frameworks (05)
So I'd ask in Pat's acquaintance had gone through this process. And in
discussing this we might agree on values for tolerance, respect for the
opinions of others, willingness to listen, etc.
We might agree that bullet number 3 is central in our example. Critical
thinking in the case of killing someone involves moral values and we
tolerate a range of values, but killing has much narrower limits than
other actions. What are the facts/evidence that justify killing? I'd put
all of this things up as what might go into an informed conclusion that
a person may have lost the ability for critical thinking on a particular
Gary Berg-Cross, Ph.D.
Spatial Ontology Community of Practice (SOCoP)
Suite 350 455 Spring park Place
Herndon VA 20170
[mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Duane
Sent: Thursday, August 09, 2007 2:42 PM
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Model or Reality (08)
On 8/9/07 11:22 AM, "Christopher Menzel" <cmenzel@xxxxxxxx> wrote: (011)
> On Aug 9, 2007, at 12:54 PM, Duane Nickull wrote:
>> As much as I personally disagree with the concept of a fatwah, it
>> is not
>> wrong. "Wrong" is just an opinion and not necessarily fact unless
>> define wrong as some magical consensus of society. Until that is
>> done, it
>> is all just opinion, story, etc. Of course in our society and this
>> I don't think anyone would agree that the concept of fatwah against
>> Rushdie is "good",
> ??? Pat just gave an example of such a person. (012)
DN: Not disputing. Pat gave a great summary.
>> but it helps to be able to differentiate fact from story.
> Indeed. I strikes me that on your view, everything is story. (013)
DN: It may well be my story that I see the benefit of separating fact
opinion. I hope this is also what ontology and logic are somewhat
>> "The person has lost their ability to think critically" = someone's
>> not fact.
> Nonsense. Anyone who is no longer willing or able to consider that a
> given contingent belief -- especially a belief about gods and what
> they expect of us -- might be false and hence ought not to be
> believed has by definition ceased to think critically. Pat's lunch
> companion was obviously such a person. It is a fact therefore that
> the person had, at least with regard to his beliefs about his
> obligation to kill Rushdie, lost or given up his ability to think
> critically. (014)
DN: I disagree. How do we know that such a person did not consider some
of facts and arrive at their conclusion by thinking critically. Perhaps
arrived at his opinion due to some belief that gods and what they expect
us is very tangible? Just because his belief system is perhaps the
opposite from what you or I might believe in, it does not mean they have
thought critically or in a balanced manner. (015)
>> How do you know he has not thought about this critically and come
>> to that conclusion based on his reality?
> One might rationally come to that conclusion (though I admit it is
> difficult for me to understand how one could do it in an open
> society). What is irrational is believing something so grave and
> consequential with a certainty that resists doubt. (016)
DN: Again - that is opinion and not fact. I also would state my own
that this person is perhaps twisted and lost track of traditional
values of being nice to your fellow man etc. The statement that it is
irrational is your opinion (and mine too BTW). It is not a fact.
>> Pat was very careful to avoid stating the person was full of bunk.
>> He just stated what the person believed.
> Trust me on this one: Even though he's never told me this story, I
> can tell you with full assurance that Pat believed the person in
> question to be completely off his nut. (017)
DN: story/opinion but we can always ask Pat. I think Pat had indicated
this person was not completely off his nut but in fact quite rational
other aspects of life while harboring this deep urge to punish Rushdie.
FWIW, this type of person scares me more than someone who is completely
his nut since they might possess the intelligence to carry out their
No arguments though that this fatwah is something I do not agree with
that is my opinion and story. (019)
>> (No flames please. I am not condoning violence etc.)
> Nonetheless your view leaves you with utterly no rational grounds for
> condemning it.
> -chris (020)
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