Showing posts with label argument. Show all posts
Showing posts with label argument. Show all posts

Monday, June 3, 2024

Philosophical Pondering--Aligning Common Core Standards to Critically Thinking about Election 2024

                                Rodin’s “The Thinker” Photo by Matthew Bamberg

For most Western philosophers, deep questioning is vital for comprehending many aspects of various communication. 

The Election 2024 season can be aligned to Common Core ELA standards by implementing the following standards: 

  • RI.6-12.1: Have students analyze primary sources such as candidate speeches, policy proposals, and news articles to support their analysis with textual evidence.
  • RI.6-12.8: Evaluate arguments in candidates’ speeches, including the validity of the reasoning and the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

An example of one of the most important issues today is climate change. The following standard relates to how Election 2024 can relate to the science of global warming.

  • RI.6-12.8: Evaluate arguments in candidates’ speeches, including the validity of the reasoning and the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

While I attempt to take ample spoonfuls of logic and reason before I utter a word, it doesn’t always happen. If I fail, I’ll try and try again. Interpreting philosophers is a challenging critical thinking task.

Although Western philosophers were wise and contributed significantly to the development of logic and reason, they always didn’t practice what they preached. Their suggestions for education are nonetheless valuable and worth considering.

My take on their ideas stems from many years of teaching students how to think critically in each discipline they learn. Each can be applied to the Common Core Standards above.

SOCRATES C. 470–399 B.C

Socrates believed that leaders can be confused and irrational. 

Consider a situation where you question common beliefs. For example, some people have the idea that the weather causes earthquakes.

PLATO C. 427–347 B.C.

Reasoning that education included teaching about individual and social justice, Plato mused that every human soul wants to reach spiritual and higher truths to transform the world.

What activities can adults engage young people in to ensure that each develops to the best of his/her ability?

ARISTOTLE 384–322 B.C.

Concerned that education must include reasoning and ethics, Aristotle created the syllogism to ensure logic. 

A syllogism includes a universal statement and an example, which leads to a conclusion to illustrate a logical argument. 
For example, all humans are mortal. The writer of this article is human (as far as he knows). Therefore, the writer is mortal. 

What syllogism would be valid about Election 2024?


Developing ideas, including analyzing criticism of them, was one of many ideas from Aquinas.

What are some ways adults can discuss ideas with each other and with children that teach that criticism can be constructive?


The mind works best by observation, yet it can lead to misconceptions by tricking itself, which was an important point made by Bacon. 

How can people think together for better long-term circumstances?


According to my interpretation of Descartes, humans are better off using discipline as a mind exercise. Furthermore, every part of thought requires questioning, doubting, and the creation of logical examples that apply to it.

Should conversations require examination?  


Critiques should be devoid of prejudice and false judgments and contain reflection through examples. The categorical imperative necessitates just behavior and understanding of the places science, ethics, and spirituality have in our lives. 

How would you explain that science is based on years of testing and research?

JOHN LOCKE 1632–1704

Rulers must rationally respect citizens' life, liberty, and property rights as part of a government system and respect reasonable criticism about human needs from citizens, or else that government will be replaced. 

How should political leaders react to constructive criticism to ensure it meets the basic needs of the people it serves? 

JOHN DEWEY 1859–1952

Seeking to ensure education for all, Dewey insisted that learning includes hands-on practices and the information needed to participate in a robust democracy. 

How can citizens increase their participation in supporting democracy and advocate for people to have a good life?


Realizing human understanding was complex, Adorno mused that humans see concrete and abstract objects and ideas as unique and that categorizing them limits knowledge of their nature. 

How can society move and develop thinking about objects and ideas by respecting their uniqueness and complexity? 


For democracy to work, considerations that outline its existence by the masters of Western political thought throughout the ages must remain fluid and open to the new ideas of a changing demographic to create a good life for all people. 

Matthew Bamberg is a professor who teaches critical thinking courses to graduate university students. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Are Syllogisms a Missing Part of Common Core?

Some educators have rejected Common Core based on its lack of critical thinking with regards to an argument (see links below). 

Syllogisms help you to find out if an argument you have created for an essay is logical. Understanding them is tough. Seeing examples of them in color coded text reveals that there is a pattern you can set up to come up with a conclusion from two claims.

You can use the following examples to develop a syllogism for your paper.

An example of a syllogism is:
Claim 1:  All mammals are warm-blooded animals.
Claim 2: Warm blooded animals have a constant body temperature.
such as whales have a constant body temperature.

Logical Syllogisms

Syllogisms check to see if your argument in valid.

Let's take a look at the following logical syllogism:

An example of a syllogism is California is a state;
All states have unique elected governments.
has a unique elected government. 

Let's take a look at two claims about fighting ISIS in order to make them a logical syllogism by color-coding the three variables your working with:

Claim 1--The United States has no reason to attack ISIS.
Claim 2--Attacking ISIS is not a solution to defeating them.
Conclusion--The United States does not have a solution to defeating ISIS.

Now, note that here there is a pattern (color coded) that shows it's easy to figure out a conclusion to a syllogism, after which one should check to see if it makes sense, that is isn't a fallacy.

While the above conclusion is effective (doesn't contain any fallacy) in that it addresses the problem, it does not offer any solutions.

In this case, one had to name not only the available solutions that have been made public, but also the feedback about them by other experts.

Illogical Syllogisms

Let's take a look at the following claims for an argument about public school access in rural areas in order to make them a logical syllogism by color-coding the three variables your working with:

Claim 1--Struggling to get to school is a problem for students in rural areas.  
Claim 2- Alpine County,  California is a designated rural area (Rural California, n.d.).
Conclusion--Struggling to get to school is a problem in a designated rural area.

The above syllogism might not be valid. You would have to research several designated rural areas to see if they any of the students live near the school.

If some students in Alpine County and other rural counties in the U.S. do live near a school, you have to change the wording of the syllogism. Consider what word would one have to add to the first claim to show that it's not an absolute statement (applicable to everyone)?

Rural California. (n.d.) Retrieved from

Two articles one might find of interest regarding syllogisms and Common Core are: