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Sequential Problem Solving Part 3

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Fact And Opinion.

Certain keywords can be often be used to differentiate facts from opinions.

1. Generalizations. All inclusive or all exclusive terms that usually have exceptions: everyone, everything, no one, never, always:

It always rains in the summertime. (This does not take into account long droughts or geographic locations where rain rarely falls.)

Everyone drives a Ford.

2. Statements about the future:

We will never go there.

3. Statements of opinion:

It seems to me.

In my opinion.

4. Statements using the emphatic "to be" words. Is, are, was, were, etc. are often facts that can be proven either true or false, but are not necessarily as true as the "is" implies.

He is a genius.

For the purpose of gathering information in problem solving, facts are statements that can be readily verified as true or false; opinions cannot be quickly verified. In problem solving, the practical ability to prove something true without a great deal of effort is the key to practical truth. A statement that might merely hold the possibility of being proven true is, for all practical purposes, an opinion until it is proven true.

Deductive Reasoning Errors

Deductive reasoning [9] is stating a series of valid relationships with a conclusion about them:

When it rains the streets get wet. It is raining. Therefore the streets are wet.

Several types of reasoning fallacies exist: (1) formal deductive fallacies, which occur because of an error in the form of the argument, and (2) informal fallacies that contain false content.

The informal false content fallacies are listed in Appendix 4 and include:

Logic errors.

* The "straw man" deception.

* The "false dilemma" deception.

* The "domino theory" deception.

* The "two wrongs make a right fallacies" deception.

Emotional errors.

* The "attack the speaker" diversion.

* The "commonly accepted practice" deception.

* The "appeal to pity" tactic.

* The "infallible truth or cliche" deception.

The emotional tactics often include cynicism or sarcasm and are sometimes used to belittle another person. The effect is to make them feel worthless and unloved. This is an emotional fallacy that attacks a person's need for love and belonging.10 This is discussed in greater detail in the section on Internal conflicts.

Sometimes debaters attempt to evade answering an argument using the "red herring" diversion. This tactic was named for game poachers that used a strong smelling fish to mask their scent from dogs used by game wardens trying to apprehend them. This tactic introduces another issue that diverts the discussion. It is often logically unrelated to the issue, and is often an emotional attack directed at the other person.

Practical Problem Solving

1. Beyer, Barry K. "Developing a Scope and Sequence for Thinking Skills Instruction." _Educational Leadership_ 45(April 1988): 26-30.

2. A Committee of College and University Examiners. "Educational Objectives and Curriculum Development." _Taxonomy of Educational Objectives -- Handbook 1: The Cognitive Domain_. Benjamin S. Bloom, ed. New York: David McKay Company, Inc., 1956.

3. A Committee of College and University Examiners. "Educational Objectives and Curriculum Development." _Taxonomy of Educational Objectives -- Handbook 2: The Affective Domain_. Benjamin S. Bloom, ed. New York: David McKay Company, Inc., 1956.

4. "The Galileo Affair," Owen Gingerick, _American Scientific_, August, 1982, #247, p.132-138.

5. Aristotle. _Rhetoric and the Poetics_. F. Solmsen, ed. New York: The Modern Library, 1954

6. _Critical Thinking and Reasoning: a handbook for Teachers_. Albany: SUNY, 1976.

7. "Classifying Fallacies Logically", Ludwig F. Schlecht, _Teaching Philosophy_, March, 1991, 14:1, p.53-65

8. Maslow, A. H. _Motivation and Personality_. New York: Harper and Row, 1954.

9. _Critical Thinking and Reasoning: A Handbook for Teachers_. Albany: The University of the State of New York, 1976.

10. Maslow, A. H. Motivation and Personality. New York: Harper and Row, 1954.

Developing a Solution.

Developing solutions should take into account time, material and manpower. How much time is available to solve a problem? Are the materials available? Is the manpower available?

Time.

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