HU260 Strategies for Decision Making Week 1 Discussion Your Background Beliefs Each one of us has a worldview – an interpretive framework through which we view life. Worldviews are composed of our core beliefs and commitments. They are the sum total of the background beliefs that we have. This week, you will share some of your core beliefs that make up your worldview. These can be general beliefs or specific beliefs, but make sure they are among the most important beliefs that you hold. Refer to Chapter 1 in your book for more information about worldviews. Here are some examples of beliefs you might include: Human nature is fundamentally good/bad. It is always wrong to lie to someone. Anyone can succeed at a task if they put the effort into it. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. In your follow up posts, respond to two other students and compare and contrast your worldview with theirs. What are some areas of similarity? What are some areas of difference? How might you relate to someone with a different worldview?   HU260 Strategies for Decision Making Week 2 Discussion Cogent Reasoning The goal of an argument, as we are using the term, is to persuade. Specifically, a good argument persuades someone into adopting a conclusion that is rational on the basis of its premises. This week, you will recount a time when you were persuaded or had your mind changed by a good argument. Make sure that you identify a situation in which you were convinced or had your mind changed on the basis of good evidence. Note: An “argument” for the purposes of this class does not refer to a verbal altercation, but a collected series of statements intended to prove some conclusion. In your follow up posts, respond to two other students and assess their situation from your point of view. Would you have been persuaded? What does it take for you to be persuaded by an argument?           HU260 Strategies for Decision Making Week 3 Discussion Moral Decision-Making There are many different moral theories, each of which provides a different way of analyzing the moral dilemmas we face in our lives. These moral theories provide a systematic framework for making reasoned moral decisions. This week, you will write about a time in which you had to make a difficult moral decision. Which moral theory did you use? What steps did you take to make the decision? What was your reasoning process? In your follow up posts, respond to two other students and their justifications for the decisions they made. Was cogent reasoning involved?   HU260 Strategies for Decision Making Week 4 Discussion Faulty Inferences While there are various kinds of fallacies, all share one common feature: they are errors of reasoning. We engage in fallacious reasoning when we fail to satisfy the three requirements of cogent reasoning (see Chapter 1 in your textbook). This week, you will write about a time in which you were persuaded by fallacious reasoning. What was the fallacious reasoning? Why was it fallacious? Why were you convinced? How did you discover that the reasoning you were initially persuaded by was in fact fallacious? In your follow up posts, respond to two other students and compare and contrast your experiences with fallacious reasoning. Give each other advice on how to avoid fallacious reasoning.   HU260 Strategies for Decision Making Week 5 Discussion Inductive Fallacies Statistics carry with them the air of authority. The accuracy and precision they offer makes a given position more credible and believable. But statistics can also be misused to convince us of things that aren’t true. This week, you will write about a time in which you were persuaded by faulty statistics. What was the faulty statistic? Why was it faulty? Why were you initially convinced? How did you discover that the statistic was in fact faulty? In your follow up posts, respond to two other students and compare and contrast your experiences with bad statistics. Give each other advice on how to avoid being misled by faulty statistics.   HU260 Strategies for Decision Making Week 6 Discussion Your Cognitive Biases Despite our rational nature, we are not perfectly rational. We often fall prey to non-rational biases that affect our judgement on certain matters. These biases are an impediment to cogent reasoning because they lead us away from what is true and good. This week, you will write about your own cognitive biases. What are some cognitive biases that you currently have or used to have? How have these biases affected the way you view things? In your follow up posts, respond to two other students and compare and contrast your experiences with cognitive biases. Give each other advice on how to break free from the temptations of cognitive bias.   HU260 Strategies for Decision Making Week 7 Discussion Trust, But Verify We are surrounded by news and media. It has never been easier to access information about any given topic or world event. Yet despite living in an age where information-on-demand is only a click away, misinformation abounds. News programs mislead, pundits exaggerate, and articles distort. Select a recent news article and identify its key claims. Essentially, you will be acting as a fact checker for the news. Make sure that what you’re analyzing is a news article, not a blog post or social media post. Post a link to the article you chose. Attempt to find corroborating information that verifies the article’s claims. Use primary sources whenever available. Post links to the information you find. If information is found that disproves the key claims of the article, post that instead. In your follow up posts, respond to two other students and double check their fact checking. Post any corroborating or contradictory evidence alongside your analysis.   HU260 Strategies for Decision Making Week 8 Discussion DQ1 Bad Reasoning on Social Media Social media offers a powerful means of communication. With just a click, we can broadcast our thoughts to the entire world. But like the news, social media is even more prone to misinformation and distortion of various kinds. A lie can spread halfway around the world before the truth comes out to correct it. Last week, you acted as a fact checker for a news article. This week, you’ll be doing much the same. Head over to Twitter and locate a tweet about current events from a politician, celebrity, or any user with a “verified” status. Note: You are not required to make a Twitter account to complete this assignment. Please pick a user whose posts are publically available. Do not share private posts. Share your chosen post in this week’s Discussion Forum by copying and pasting it into your initial discussion response. Make sure the tweet makes a factual claim. Attempt to fact-check that tweet by including independent evidence to corroborate its content. If information is found that disproves the key claims of the tweet, include that as well. In your follow up posts, respond to two other students and double check their fact checking. Post any corroborating or contradictory evidence alongside your analysis. DQ2 End of Course Survey All students need to complete this survey as it provides valuable information for us to better meet your needs, improve our courses, and provide for a better overall student experience – which is one of the Three Pillars of Excellence upon which Grantham is built. If you have not yet completed your survey (these are needed for every course) please select End of Course Survey and do so now. It is needed for the following Discussion Question: After completing your survey, share what you feel is the most valuable suggestion for improvement. Share only what you are comfortable with. Ensure you placed this suggestion in the survey comment section. This is a non-graded discussion question.               HU260 Strategies for Decision Making Week 1 Assignment   The Nature of Arguments Critical thinking makes use of arguments. In this week’s lesson, you gained an overview of what arguments are and what it means for something to be a good or bad argument. In your week one assignment, you will be writing a five paragraph essay in which you explain and illustrate the nature of the critical thinking process. Paragraph one should answer the following questions: ·         What is an argument? ·         What are some indicators of an argument? ·         What is an example of an argument? Your example does not have to be detailed. It can be a single sentence or two. It can be informal – there’s no need to make a premise-by-premise argument. Make sure your argument contains a rational inference, otherwise it isn’t an argument. Paragraph two should explain the meaning of cogent reasoning. In this paragraph, be sure to reference the three criteria for cogent reasoning. Paragraph three should explain the difference between deductive valid and inductively strong arguments. Paragraph four should explain the role of background beliefs, worldviews, and philosophies to the critical thinking process. Be sure to give examples of what some background beliefs might be. Finally, in paragraph five, write about a time in which you used a rational argument to persuade someone. What was the argument about? What evidence did you utilize in order to make your case?  Your completed assignment should be written primarily in first person and should be 500-750 words in length. If you use sources in your writing, be sure to identify them. If you use any direct language from a source, be sure to place those words in quotation marks. Your assignment should adhere to the stated page length requirement for the week and use APA style formatting including a title page and reference section. APA resources and a template are available in the Supplemental Materials folder.   HU260 Strategies for Decision Making Week 2 Assignment   Constructing Deductive and Inductive Arguments Arguments consist of premises and conclusions. Premises are structured so as to lend support to conclusions. The kind of support that a premise lends to a conclusion allows us to distinguish between deductive and inductive arguments. This week, you will be constructing both kinds of arguments. 1.    In three premises each, construct one example of each following deductive argument form: ·         Modus ponens ·         Modus tollens ·         Hypothetical syllogism ·         Disjunctive syllogism Make sure your arguments are deductively valid and that your examples are your own. Here are two examples of the general format that your arguments should take: Modus ponens: 1.    If it is raining, then it is pouring. 2.    It is raining. 3.    Therefore, it is pouring. Modus tollens: 1.    If Jack went to the grocery store, then he bought cookies. 2.    Jack did not buy cookies. 3.    Therefore, Jack did not go to the grocery store. 2.    After you construct the preceding deductive argument forms, construct a three premise syllogism. For example: 1.    All men are mortal. 2.    Socrates is a man. 3.    Therefore, Socrates is mortal. 3.    After you construct a three premise syllogism, construct one of each of the following inductive argument patterns: ·         Induction by enumeration ·         Reasoning by analogy ·         Statistical induction ·         Higher-level induction Your examples of inductive argument patterns should not be expressed in premise form. Rather, they should be informally expressed in writing. You should have one paragraph for each pattern. Be as detailed as possible. Finally, please remember to label your arguments. This makes it easier for them to be graded. Include your name, course section, and the date at the top of your assignment document.           HU260 Strategies for Decision Making Week 3 Assignment   The Hierarchy of Value The most basic moral obligation that we have is to pursue what is good and avoid what is evil. But what counts as “good” and “evil”? How do we rank the various things that are good or evil? Friendship is a good thing, but is more important than (say) honesty? Cheating is generally a bad thing, but is it worse than (say) hypocrisy? This assignment will require a bit of thinking. You will attempt to rank moral values and vices on a hierarchy. ·         Begin by listing the top five moral values or obligations that you think are definitive of a life well-lived. ·         For each value or obligation, give a (minimum) one-paragraph description of what it is and why you have ranked it that way. ·         You should not simply give a list – you should explain and justify the hierarchy you have put together. Make sure you organize them by order of importance. If you’re not quite confident in your ranking, give it your best attempt. You will then do the same thing for moral vices. ·         In order of heinousness, list five vices that you consider to be among the worst. ·         Make sure that you include at least a one-paragraph description of each vice along with an explanation of why you have ranked that vice in the way you did. ·         Make sure that you are specific. Do not simply say “be good” or “avoid harming people” – you should be referencing specific virtues or vices. The goal of this assignment is to organize your thoughts on morality. Not all good things are equally good, and not all bad things are equally bad. We often prioritize certain things when making moral decisions, so it is good to develop a framework for a hierarchy of virtues and vices. As a tip, you might look at some of the lists of virtues and vices that have been assembled by philosophers and theologians throughout history. Two examples are the four cardinal virtues and Dante’s seven deadly vices. But avoid copying them – this assignment should be your own work and reflect your own thinking.   HU260 Strategies for Decision Making Week 4 Assignment   Evaluating Arguments Below is a series of five fallacious arguments. In one paragraph each, explain why each argument is fallacious and identify the fallacy being committed. In identifying the relevant fallacy, be sure to give an explanation of what that fallacy is. Be comprehensive in your explanations, and cite at least one source to support each explanation (in APA format). Argument 1 1.    My algebra class is a nightmare. 2.    Nightmares are bad dreams. 3.    Therefore, my algebra class is a bad dream. Argument 2 We can trust the Andrew’s testimony because Andrew himself said so, and Andrew is a trustworthy person. Argument 3 If we loosen the office dress code, soon everyone will start showing up naked! Therefore, we shouldn’t loosen the office dress code. Argument 4 Nobody has disproven that there exists alien life. So, until proven otherwise, it’s reasonable to conclude that alien life does exist. Argument 5 You shouldn’t vote Republican because Republicans hate the poor, and you shouldn’t vote Democrat because Democrats hate business owners.   HU260 Strategies for Decision Making Week 5 Assignment   Misleading Statistics Statistics are powerful and convincing when used properly. This feature of statistical reasoning, however, also makes them liable to misuse. In this week’s assignment, you will find a legitimate statistic and explain how it might be used to mislead an audience. ·         Start by searching the internet for a reliable statistic. Make sure the statistic you find comes from an original or primary source – whether it be a peer-reviewed article, think-tank, or other organization. Do not use news articles that report the findings of a study; use the original study itself. Please remember to cite your source. ·         After you locate your statistic, explain how it might be used to mislead an audience into embracing conclusions that the statistic does not support by playing the role of someone who is trying to lie with statistics. ·         Design a fake advertisement or news story in which you will try to use the statistic in question to make a persuasive point. o   Your advertisement or story can consist of a written document, graphic, or video. o   Whatever you decide to do, you should feature a depiction or description of the statistic and an explanation of how it might be used to support a misleading agenda. ·         After creating your fake advertisement or news story, include a short one paragraph statement on why it is misleading and what can be done to avoid being misled by it.      

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