Critical Thinking Unit 8

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Welcome to Critical Thinking!


Unit 8 Avoid Emotional Reasoning

Emotion can be an important motivator for critical thinking. People who experience war, for instance, often make claims such as war destroys society. They can support their claim with evidence from their own observations: in wartime, people don’t get enough food. Children can’t learn well. Pain and violence are all around. People and animals suffer and die. 

Although emotions can help us form thoughts, we can’t use our emotions only. We still need to think. Assessing a claim from our emotions without thinking is called emotional reasoning, and it can be dangerous.

Let’s take an example. Consider this question: should adults punish children by hitting them? This is called corporal punishment, or physical punishment, and many feel strongly about it. Some people are strongly for, and others are strongly against it. Some say, “I have a right to hit my own child, and you can’t stop me!”, while others claim, “I don’t care what you say, it’s just wrong to hit children!”

What do you think?