The authors of the Federalist Papers demonstrated strong “Critical Skills” in their efforts to persuade the people of the state of New York to ratify the Constitution of the United States. Of most importance, they used the Analysis Skill the way it should be used!
Thus far – we have discussed and demonstrated that they needed the following skills:
- Communications – to get their thoughts and reasoning behind ratification to the people of New York using the technology of the time (Newspapers);
- Information – gathering and evaluating information from historical sources about the philosophy of government and the various successful and unsuccessful methods of governing;
- Production – turning their hopes for constitutional ratification into actual ratification of the Constitution by the people of New York.
The fourth skill they obviously needed and demonstrated that they had was the Analysis Skill.
They knew how to take the information they had, verify it for truth, derive findings from that information (what the information means), draw conclusions from those findings based on the true information, and make thoughtful recommendations to the people of New York.
The Analysis Skill is the process of developing findings from facts, conclusions from findings, and recommendations from conclusions based on the findings.
It is best described by “P → Q” or “P” implies “Q.” This is logic in its simplest form: a syllogism – a logical argument that uses deductive reasoning to arrive at a conclusion based on one or more hypotheses that are true.
- If the hypothesis (P) is true, then deductive reasoning can arrive at a conclusion (Q) that will be true.
- If the hypothesis (P) is not true, then even the best deductive reasoning will arrive at a conclusion that may or may not be true.
When someone uses the combination of the Information and Analysis skills toward solving a problem, then one is using what is called “Critical Thinking.”
It is clear that the Founding Fathers used Critical Thinking.
It is also clear – and unfortunate – that during these days of cable news, social media and Twitter, the Critical Thinking process is bypassed. Talking heads – and politicians – and foreign governments – are adept at persuading people to draw conclusions based on faulty Critical Thinking.
- Facts aren’t really facts – they ‘re “alternative facts” – or even lies.
- Findings (what the facts mean) – aren’t really true – especially if they are based on “alternative facts” or lies;
- Conclusions (based on the false findings and “alternative facts” or lies) are whatever the individual wants them to be;
- Recommendations, therefore, are based on whatever the individual who started the bogus Critical Thinking wants them to be.
Thankfully the Founding Fathers used Critical Thinking!
HOPEFULLY some thoughtful individuals will use Critical Thinking today!