Development of Knowledge: Critical Thinking and Cognitive Science, Flacks, Fall 2015

About this class

This course is designed to introduce students to the elements of critical thinking and the development of the field of cognitive science; special attention will be given to language and artificial intelligence as each relates to historic and contemporary descriptions of the mind.

In the first part of the course, we will study argumentation and consider what qualifies as knowledge. Next, we consider the development of several disciplines relevant to the study of cognitive science including philosophy, linguistics, neuroscience, anthropology, and psychology. Considering how knowledge has progressed and transformed in these fields will allow for an application of critical thinking skills to a field in flux.

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1 year 7 months ago

I found your article very interesting to read! I did not really know that the ocean was oxygenated through, other than photosynthesis, the waves and the wind mixing the air and the water together. Your article helped me think beyond the consequences of what our actions does on our quality of life and also the quality of life of all species surrounding us. At first, it was your title that made me want to read it. I was thinking: If the ocean has no oxygen, how will it be able to produce oxygen or even feed the growing fish demands of the people? With this class I have this semester about climate change, I developed an interest in the impact that global climate change has on marine ecosystems. Your summary clearly provide a lot of info about some of the issues that they are facing. It is important for people to be aware of the consequences of our actions on all scales. It is not only the direct impact on humans but also the impact of animals and environment, which we live in.
I found an article about water pollution in Russia. It is about a lake called Karachay that were totally polluted due to the Soviet Union in 1934. It is sad to see how much humans pollute natural sources. I feel like we need to do something about it. Read this article and tell me what you think about it. The more I read about those stories the more I think we must do something. At first we must show the world what is wrong in order to change it.
Source:
Segerstahl, Boris, Alexander Akleyev, and Vladimir Novikov. "The Long Shadow of Soviet Plutonium Production." Environment, vol. 39, no. 1, 1997, pp. 12-20, Research Library, https://proquest-crc.proxy.ccsr.qc.ca/docview/224014520?accountid=44391.

1 year 8 months ago

I agree with you when you say that "Veganism is an easy way to live a healthier lifestyle, help the environment, all while saving the lives of many innocent animals".
In fact, according to an article I read written by the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada, having a vegetarian diets offers a high number of nutritional benefits, such as a lower levels of saturated fat, cholesterol, and animal protein as well as higher levels of carbohydrates, fibre, magnesium, potassium, folate, antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, and phytochemicals.
Furthermore, vegetarians have been reported to have lower body mass indices than non-vegetarians, which is healthier for you. Also, it has been proven that vegetarians have a lower rates of death from ischemic heart disease, lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancer. With all of these benefits, I do not see why people would not turn to vegetarianism. While a number of federally funded and institutional feeding programs can accommodate vegetarians, few have foods suitable for vegans at this time. It is now time to convert people to vegetarianism. In the article it is mentioned that dietetics professionals have a responsibility to support and encourage those who express an interest in consuming a vegetarian diet, which is perfect to spread vegetarianism among the population. They can play key roles in educating vegetarian clients about food sources of specific nutrients, food purchase and preparation, and any dietary modifications that may be necessary to meet individual needs. Menu planning for vegetarians can be simplified by use of a food guide that specifies food groups and serving sizes. There is no reason to not be vegetarian after reading all its benefits to the human body. And as your article mentions; it does not only benefits us but also helps the environment and saves the lives of many innocent animals. Let's think about it!

Reference:
"Position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada: Vegetarian Diets." Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research 64, no. 2 (Summer, 2003): 62-81. https://proquest-crc.proxy.ccsr.qc.ca/docview/220823659?accountid=44391.

1 year 9 months ago

I have to disagree with tiziana.ox's comment against abortion. I understand your point of view that everyone should use protection when having sexual relationships, but I have to disagree with your argument that "abortion should be banned across the world." I think it makes no sense to say that abortion is "pathetic". In my opinion, abortion should be a choice. Let's say that a young girl gets raped and gets pregnant with an undesired father. If abortion is abolished, she will have to keep the unwanted baby. It makes no sense to me that the poor young girl would need to stop her life to carry this baby after being raped. Imagine the damages it will cause to the family and to the girl. She will might need to retire from school during her pregnancy, the family might not have the money to provide the child whatever he needs and the child will only remember her of when she was raped. According to me, taking away the right to have an abortion is taking away the ability for a woman to control her body. Rather than focusing on the action of abortion itself, the implication of taking this choice away from women is not fair. Personally, I think that abortion should be controlled, depending of the circonstances, but not banned. Thank you! If you want to argue you can comment.

2 years 5 months ago

This was a very informative article, and I wholeheartedly agree that the solution to the problem of stray dogs is not violence. Innocent animals should not be punished for their owners' irresponsible actions. A few years ago, my grandparents adopted a dog that had been carelessly left by the highway. It was a rather large dog that had clearly not been fed in a while, and I can imagine how it could have become a hazard for a passerby if hunger and fear made it lose control. However, with proper care and shelter, this dog became a lovely addition to our family. I think this is a good example of how the problem can be overcome with compassion rather than violence, as you pointed out in your summary.

Reply to: End the Stigma!!!
2 years 5 months ago

You have chosen an interesting topic, and seem very passionate about it. However, listing some of the most common types of mental illness and including more statistics and information about how mental illness affects Canadians could give the reader a more concrete idea of the situation. Information about different types of mental illness can be found on the Canadian Mental Health Association website ( http://www.cmha.ca/mental-health/understanding-mental-illness/ ), and interesting statistics about the impact it has in Canada, including the stigma surrounding the issue, can be found on the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health website ( http://www.camh.ca/en/hospital/about_camh/newsroom/for_reporters/Pages/a... ).

2 years 5 months ago

Your summary is straightforward and easy to understand, and the Comet Ping-Pong Pizzeria incident is a striking example of the impact “fake news” can have. The fact that the new president of the United States has been accused numerous time of spreading fake news himself is indeed worrying, and you could strengthen your post by elaborating on this idea a bit more. Giving a few more examples, or explaining why the claim about Ted Cruz’s father is false, could give the reader a more complete idea of the situation. The New York Times published an article regarding that issue, which identifies 10 times Trump has used false claims, and explains why that information is incorrect. The article can be read here: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/business/media/trump-fake-news....

2 years 10 months ago
:^)

This is a topic that deserves to be talked about more. A lot of us have animals in our homes and assume they're an item that we can throw away whenever we like, when in reality, they're, like you said, complex.

In your summary, I noticed that your second premise is begging the question. You state that animals' minds are more complex than we think, but that's also the issue.

To continue, your first premise doesn't really support the conclusion. In my opinion, that could be more of an introduction. Saying that we're fascinated by animals for their beauty and assumed ignorance and then you can build on that and state the issue. I think a more appropriate premise would be a statistic about animals doing something amazing that proves that their minds are in fact very complex.

Finally, like I stated earlier, I think you need a statistic to really add weight to your claim. After briefly skimming the article, I noticed there weren't any so I can't really fault you for that.

If there's anything I misinterpreted about your post, or if you'd like to reply, please feel free.

2 years 10 months ago

Hi! I found the subject really interesting. The fact that horseback riding may be an alternative to traditional treatment is probably very appealing to those who are interested in horses and who may benefit from this treatment. Also, I really liked how concise the summary was.

The first thing I wanted to do after reading this article was see who wrote it. I clicked the link, clicked the author's name, and found out that she has no relevant certification to the topic at hand. I know a degree doesn't automatically make you smarter than someone without one, but I guess it makes you look more credible on a first impression. I don't mean to attack her, I'm simply questioning her authenticity, but from the looks of it, she's a mother who enjoys writing. However, I can acknowledge the fact that she has a child with special needs, so maybe this treatment worked for her child. She could be biased though.

Also I find one of the premises vague. Your summary quotes the article which says, "“Hippotherapy is more effective than traditional therapies because horses have a unique ability to motivate children to try new things." Things... such as? This isn't really your fault, but perhaps if the quote listed some benefits I'd consider it.

One other thing, you use popularity to support the conclusion. You wrote, "In North Carolina, at Shining Hope Farms, there had been an addition of 50 children to the hippotherapy program in less than 3 month, some children are even on a waiting list because the demand has increased." Is this a premise, and if so, does it actually support your conclusion? The issue is whether or not hippotherapy works, not how popular it is. I could also argue that this is a red herring because it diverts from the issue at hand trying to make me think that hippotherapy works because some people are on a waiting list for it.

I'm sure hippotherapy has worked in some cases, but this article is a bit questionable. Anyways, like I said earlier, I really like how organized your points are. If you'd like to continue this or correct me on something I probably got wrong, please do.

2 years 10 months ago

Hi, although I disagree with what you're saying, I find that it's interesting to hear another side of the argument.

I believe this entire write-up screams hasty generalization. Saying things like marijuana is in the same category as alcohol or that it's a gateway, for all users, into harder, more dangerous, drugs is assuming a lot about the drug and its users. If alcohol is in the same category as marijuana and marijuana users are bound to use more dangerous substances, how come all alcohol drinkers aren't shooting heroin or smoking crack? This is putting an umbrella over all marijuana users and assuming something about all of them.

Just a side note, I would like to mention something you wrote earlier, "People will always find a way to buy this drug even if it's considered legal." This doesn't make sense to me because if marijuana is legal, then people will definitely have a way to buy it. At a dispensary. Legally. Correct me if I'm misinterpreting what you're saying though.

Also, I feel like I should question your research methods. There's no numbers backing this up, like you could have said something along the lines of (I'm making this statistic up), "Out of 5000 marijuana users studied over the course of a year, all 5000 of them died from marijuana use." Obviously that's made up and untrue, but if it were true, maybe that would make me consider your points more and take them seriously.

Finally, I feel like I went a bit hard on you, but I would really like you to know that I was fascinated with your opinion and dissecting it. With that being said, if you would to continue this dialogue, feel free to comment.

2 years 10 months ago

To start, I was really fascinated reading that the food industry manipulates our brains into eating more than we should/need. If you compare portions from each country it's obvious that us North Americans may be eating more than we need to and it's interesting that this is because of the powers that be influencing our habits.

Anyways, I feel like the statistic in the first premise is both misleading and unreliable. It's obviously not your fault, but I checked the article for any sources and there weren't any, so afterwards I took to google to see if I could find any information that backed this claim up and it pretty much all led to quotes from Sandra Aamodt, the author of the article. There aren't enough sources to back up this statistic.

Also, I believe premise 2 and 3 contradict each other. Earlier I mentioned being intrigued by the second premise which states that our brains have been manipulated into eating more than we should, but premise 3 states that we should trust out brains' signals when it comes to diet. I feel like these two points clash because if our minds have been controlled into eating more than we should, why should we trust ourselves when it comes to portioning?

Maybe I'm reading into your points wrong, but nonetheless, this was a very interesting read.

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About the author

I'm a Humanities Teacher at Champlain College, Saint-Lambert and the designer and founder of Newsactivist. Between 2007 and the present, I've developed a course, Newsactivist, which asked students to blog about the news that they felt showed parts of the world in need of improvement.