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Assumptions, Benefits and Costs

Posted by: Joseph Halter

{"ops":[{"insert":"One of the elements of critical thinking are Assumptions. Assumptions are ideas or things that we take for granted. For example, when I go to my car, I assume the vehicle will start when I turn the ignition with my car key. Nearly, 99.9% of the time, my assumption is true. It, however, has not been true 100% of the times. \n\nMany things in life are assumed. It makes our lives easier than trying to calibrate every situation that we encounter. As you can imagine, assumptions become habits over a period of time. Habits are useful to a point but can be harmful and protect us from our blind spots. \n\nThus, when a situation did not occur according to our \"plan\", we should reflect on our assumptions made and determine what we could have changed. \n\nI recently read this article by Jonathan Clement on "},{"attributes":{"link":"https://humbledollar.com/2020/11/never-assume/"},"insert":"Never Assume "},{"insert":"and it helps us to understand some of the ordinary assumptions we make everyday. \n"}]}


Posted by: Linda Elder

{"ops":[{"insert":"Thank you for this comment Joseph. Though it is true that we need to check our assumptions, it is important to recognize that we must make assumptions to live a human life. Some things must be taken for granted for us to function. The question is, how good are your assumptions? Are they justifiable in context? How do we access our assumptions to check them for justifiability? Are we even open to examining our assumptions. Here is a starting place, in our Wheel of Reason, for finding one's assumptions in thinking:\nhttps://community.criticalthinking.org/wheelOfReasonActivityInferences?activity=none \n"}]}

Posted by: Joseph Halter

{"ops":[{"insert":"Dr Elder, thank you kindly for your comments, I find them very helpful.\nThe questions you asked are helpful in discovering our assumptions and inferences based on the information given.\nHow good are your assumptions? \nAre they justifiable in context? \nHow do we access our assumptions to check them for justifiability?\nAre we even open to examining our assumptions?\n"},{"attributes":{"link":"https://community.criticalthinking.org/wheelOfReasonActivityInferences?activity=none"},"insert":"Distinguishing Inferences and Assumptions"},{"insert":" is a link I was not aware of and I found it very clear on differences between inferences and assumptions.\nAn inference is a step of the mind, by which one concludes that something is true based on something else being true, or appearing true. Great definition!\nAssumptions are things or ideas that we take for granted as true even though they may or may not be. All inferences are assumptions! New understanding for me.\nAssumptions may be rooted on prejudice, stereotyping, bias, and other forms of irrational thinking. This statement goes back to one of the four questions asked: Are we even open to examining our assumptions? Without this being an affirmative response, all else is lost and I am wondering how many of us stop at this question or first step in the examination? How many of us are willing to explore our prejudices, stereotypic and bias thoughts and other non rational thinking? Our egocentric and social centric thinking are strong forces of resistance and denial for factual examination.\nOne of the intellectual traits that I think we need to add and act on is Intellectual Curiosity. As Socrates asked his students, Is there a better way? Unless we are willing to feel, thnk and desire to go the unexamined, how will we continue to learn more than what we presently know? Humbly speaking not much or very little.\nLet me share an example similar to one that is provided in the exercise:\nSituation: I get A's in my classes\nInference: That means I should get A's in future classes\nAssumption: I will continue to get A's in all my present and future classes.\nI have had students tell me that taking my class and not getting an A is the fault of the instructor. Have you had this experience?\nLet me know if this seems to be the criteria to respond to this final question: "},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":"How do we access our assumptions to check them for justifiability?"},{"insert":"\nI would suggest that we use the Intellectual Standards to determine if our assumptions are justified.\nAre the assumptions accurate?\nAre the assumptions precise for the purpose at hand?\nAre the assumptions clear for understanding?\nAre the assumptions relevant for the situation?\nAre the assumptions logical, connected to the purpose?\nAre the assumptions complete with a variety of points of views from stakeholders?\nAre the assumptions needed for depth or details needed for the situation?\nAre the assumptions fair, objective and with bias and prejudices to the individual points of views?\nI think if we can answer in the affirmative to many of these questions with further information, we can have more justification for a reasonable assumption.\n"}]}

Posted by: Joseph Halter

{"ops":[{"insert":"As a follow-up to this post, Assumptions, Benefits and Costs, I believe this year, 2020 is a great example of Assumptions:\nHow many of us, if we reflect on January 1, 2020 would have projected this pandemic? How it changed our assumptions about going to work, getting groceries, buying from brick and mortar stories, going to the restaurant, traveling domestically or overseas, seeing a movie in the theater, watching a live sports event, etc.\nFlash! The assumptions we made on January 1, in many situations, changed.\nThis year, a watershed year, illustrates the power of assumptions and how can it evaporate or be modified with a pandemic.\n\n"}]}

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