Webinar Q&A:
Navigating a Pandemic with the Tools of Critical Thinking
Dr. Linda Elder, Senior Fellow

January 14th, 2021
8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (5:00 p.m. Pacific)
Duration: 90 Minutes
Click Here to Join
Passcode: 262062

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a clear and painful example of how our thinking determines the quality, and sometimes even the continuation, of human life. Its widespread, largely preventable devastation, wrought from failures in reasoning at all levels of society, has provided a harrowing reminder of what can happen when we fail to sufficiently think through our choices.

Each day, we who are living through this tumultuous time face many of the same questions that arose when the pandemic began: how do I best protect myself, my loved ones, and my community? How much risk must I accept to meet the demands of day-to-day living, and how can I mitigate that risk to the greatest extent possible? When do my choices pose threats not only to myself, but to others? How do I meet my ethical obligations to those around me? How best can I address the secondary challenges manifested by this pandemic, such financial woes, loneliness, turmoil within my social circle, and depression?

While this webinar deals with critical thinking as an indispensable skillset for weathering a pandemic, its implications apply more broadly to other extraordinary challenges – especially those occurring on a massive scale, such as during natural disasters or protracted social unrest.

This session will be driven by your questions. Below, you will find several activities to complete ahead of time in the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online, all relating to critical thinking and its applications to the sort of pandemic we are facing now. Dr. Elder will presuppose that attendees have studied the subject matter through these activities, and therefore, the webinar will be based on what questions you bring to the discussion.
The following are the activities that we ask you to complete prior to the webinar:
  1. If you have not studied the Paul-Elder Framework for Critical Thinking to any significant extent, we strongly recommend that you complete the assignments listed as part of our previous webinar, ‘The Elements of Reasoning, Intellectual Standards, and Intellectual Traits.’ (At minimum, complete all of the reading and viewing activities.)

  2. Triangle of Thinking, Feeling, and Desires: Review the reading and diagrams on this page, and follow its recommendation to read pages 3-10 in The Human Mind.

  3. Think of a situation you were in recently that resulted from the pandemic, where you experienced a negative emotion such as anger, frustration, depression, insecurity, or fear. Complete the activity ‘Understanding the Relationships Between Thinking, Feeling, and Emotions’ with this situation in mind.

  4. Think of the most significant problem you now face as a result of the pandemic. Complete the activity ‘Analyze the Logic of a Problem or Issue’ with this problem in mind.

  5. Read pages 4-15 in The Thinker’s Guide to Ethical Reasoning.

  6. Strong-Sense Versus Weak-Sense Critical Thinking: Complete the reading at the top. Then, complete the activity; for questions 3 and 4 in the activity, think specifically of examples of your thinking that relate to the pandemic. Then answer question 5 with those examples in mind.
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