For 12.1.18

Reading carefully, critically, and comparatively

For this Friday, outline the arguments and counter-arguments in the first 8 pages so that in the exam you will be able to discuss McAfee’s argument critically

What is critical thinking?

  • When we examine the arguments of an author like McAfee from multiple points-of-view as we don’t know if what he says is true, particularly as he may be looking at one thing, Sull looking at another, and the critics at a third or fourth or more body of evidence and argumentation
  • In a meeting of managers, we present not “the truth,” nor “the facts,” but the evidence and argumentation and prepare to discuss our uncertainties, invite different perspective, and develop a consensus: our presentations are starting points for discussion
  • When we read each paragraph carefully in order to understand, clarify, and remember

What is reading critically?

  • To Understand To understand anything new we have first to read carefully, then lift our eyes off the page and compare to what we know, and best when we write up a phrase that translates and compares what is new to what we know — precisely as we did in class, slowly and carefully
  • To Clarify To clarify our understanding of what is being said and what we know we ask questions, interrogate the statements and the issue, look for evidence, and analyze and evaluate, and best when we write up a phrase or two that formulates our thought process in a way that we can remember and use
  • To Remember As we discussed, in the exam you do not have time to think a whole lot, 90 minutes passes incredibly fast, and at any one sitting we have absolutely no time to explore a text like the first two steps above. When in this reading of Rotman you study his statements and learn how he is organizing arguments and evidence, you want to commit part of this to your deep memory so that, in the examine, you can readily explain what McAfee says about Sull’s argument, what Rotman says about McAfee and Sull’s argument, and what the people Rotman discusses say about the issues, too.

About reading, note-taking, and outlining

  • We read in order to write, as this is not about poetry read for the sheer pleasure of voice and imagery, but as I tried to impress upon you this is about a very important issue, how technology may or not be destroying jobs, which is exceedingly important for you to understand if you are to compete successfully on the job market: you do not want to learn, as I started to do, manual typesetting only to arrive at a new job to see all the machines being crated up, put on pallets, and being sold for scrap: you want to understand this issue as it will affect you and writing is a powerful means for understanding and clarification
  • Writing is a process, not an empty container to somehow stick in thoughts pulled out of the air, but a heuristic device whereby we are challenged to interrogate each passage, compare it to what we know, and work through it via note-taking so we learn something and develop a higher understanding: there are no short-cuts, nothing here to be simply memorized and spit back: this is about working things through until they become part of your deep muscle memory and so giving you strength, in the exam and for the rest of your life, to spring into action with precision and force