The C from the Good Thinker's Tool Kit stands for "counter-example." A counter-example, quite simply, is an example that is used to counter a claim. It shows that the claim is not accurate. Counter-examples are most powerful when used to refute a universal claim.
A universal claim is one that allows for no exceptions. If you say, for instance, that "All dogs are mammals," "All lemons are fruits," or "All men are idiots," you are making a universal claim. (Note that stereotypes are universal claims. Usually the word "all" isn't spoken -- the speaker will just say "Men are idiots!" -- but the meaning is still the same.)
The E from the Good Thinker's Tool Kit can stand for "Evidence" or "Examples." Evidence is used to support claims. For instance, a scientist uses evidence to verify her hypothesis and a lawyer uses evidence to defend her client. A good thinker uses evidence. A good thinker also knows that not all evidence is created equal; she evaluates whether the evidence is good evidence.
The Good Thinker's Toolkit is an important element of p4cHI practice and in this video post you'll get some suggestions on how to effectively use it.
One thing that you won't get to see in this course are all of the "Bonus Features" and "Bloopers" that our group filmed. (You'll have to get your hands on the hopefully someday-existent DVD for that stuff!) The group loved doing the "Bloopers" (like the famous "How Not to Behave" video.) They also enjoyed shooting the bonus features.
R is for "Reasons." Reasons are immensely important. They are like the foundation of your house. They support our beliefs and justify our choices. Why should I do this? Why should I believe that? We answer these questions, in large part, by evaluating the reasons which lie behind them. Using reasons, asking for reasons, and sorting good reasons from bad is a big part of thinking well.Read more
The first tool that we will examine from the Good Thinker's Tool Kit is the " W." "What do you mean by....?" is a move that we use when we're seeking clarification. Asking this is like putting on a pair glasses; it clears up the blurriness and allows you to see matters more sharply. Using this tool can help us to make better personal decisions. It can also, as you will hear, have profound consequences.
In one sense Dr. Jackson's creation of the Good Thinker's Tool Kit was nothing new. After all, the tools in his toolkit are core practices in a philosophical tradition that stretches back thousands of years. (Everything, as they say, is a footnote on Plato.)
But in another sense Dr. J's tool kit was revolutionary. It democratized P4C. Like a P4C Rosetta Stone, it unlocked the previously mysterious thinking of philosophers. It showed teachers and students how to do what philosophers do.
Drawing from his many years of experience, p4cHI founder Dr. Thomas Jackson (Dr. J) shares some of his most memorable moments and significant realizations. These stories provide us with a vibrant and oftentimes inspirational perspective on where p4cHI has come from, what it is, and, indeed, on what it could be.
In this story Dr. J pays homage to Dr. Seuss and also shares the deep lesson that began when a class of Second Graders discussed a seemingly simply question: Do you talk to yourself?