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PHIL102: Logic and Critical Thinking

Unit 7: Strategic Reasoning and Creativity   While the majority of this course has focused on the types of reasoning that are necessary to critique and evaluate existing knowledge, or to extend our knowledge in accordance with correct procedures and rules, there remains an enormous branch of our reasoning practice that runs “in the opposite direction,” as it were.  Strategic reasoning, problem solving, and creative thinking all rely on an ineffable component of novelty supplied by the thinker.  Despite the seemingly mystical nature of such activity, however, problem solving and creative thinking are best approached by following a set of tried and tested procedures, which prompt our cognitive faculties to produce new ideas and solutions by extending our existing knowledge.  In this unit, we will investigate techniques for problem solving, representing complex problems visually, making decisions in risky and uncertain scenarios, and creative thinking in general.

Unit 7 Time Advisory
This unit should take you approximately 3.75 hours.

☐    Subunit 7.1: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 7.2: 1.75 hours

Unit7 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to: - discriminate among different kinds of problems, and describe procedures appropriate for solving each kind; - describe methods for understanding complex problems or systems; - describe and compare visualization tools for analyzing problems; - describe and compare procedures for creating visualization tools relevant to problem solving; - describe principles of creative thinking as well as implications of these principles; - describe an informal procedure for thinking creatively; and - compare and contrast as well as discuss different heuristic methods for thinking creatively.

7.1 Strategic Reasoning   7.1.1 Problem Solving Begins with Understanding the Problem   - Reading: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s Strategic Thinking: “Tutorial G01” Link: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s Strategic Thinking: “Tutorial G01” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this tutorial about what to consider when defining a problem and the three major classifications that problems usually fall under. Problem solving is an activity that combines skills of critical and creative thinking. The first task in any problem-solving scenario is to identify the type of problem one is dealing with.
 
Complete the exercises for this tutorial. Then, check your answers against the “Tutorial G01 Answer Key” (PDF).
  
Reading this tutorial and completing the exercises should take approximately 30 minutes.

 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike License
3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/). It is
attributed to Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan, and the original version
can be found [here](http://philosophy.hku.hk/think/).

7.1.2 A Technique for Problem Solving   - Reading: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s Strategic Thinking: “Tutorial G02” Link: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s Strategic Thinking: “Tutorial G02” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this tutorial, which outlines the mathematician George Pólya’s four-step procedure for problem solving.
 
Reading this tutorial should take approximately 15 minutes.

 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike License
3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/). It is
attributed to Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan, and the original version
can be found [here](http://philosophy.hku.hk/think/). 

7.1.3 Working with Complex Problems   - Reading: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s Strategic Thinking: “Tutorial G03” Link: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s Strategic Thinking“Tutorial G03” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this tutorial, which introduces the technique of process analysis. This course has focused primarily on problems that are relatively simple in structure. You should be aware that many problems encountered will be highly complex, involving multiple variables and a mixture of problem types. You will read about flow charts in subunit 7.1.4.
 
Reading this tutorial should take approximately 15 minutes.

 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike License
3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/). It is
attributed to Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan, and the original version
can be found [here](http://philosophy.hku.hk/think/).

7.1.4 Visual Tools for Strategic Reasoning   - Reading: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s Strategic Thinking: “Tutorial G04” Link: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s Strategic Thinking: “Tutorial G04” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read section G04.1 on flowcharts. It may also be helpful to review subunit 6.2.5 on cause-and-effect diagrams.
 
There are several useful visual techniques to facilitate solving complex problems.
 
Reading this section of the tutorial should take approximately 30 minutes.

 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike License
3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/). It is
attributed to Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan, and the original version
can be found [here](http://philosophy.hku.hk/think/).
  • Lecture: YouTube: Dr. Farrokh Alemi’s “Decision Tree: Part 1” and “Decision Tree: Part 2” Lecture Links: YouTube: Dr. Farrokh Alemi’s “Decision Tree: Part 1”(YouTube) and “Decision Tree: Part 2”(YouTube)
     
    Instructions: Watch both parts of this video lecture, which explains how to construct a decision tree for use in health care administration.  
     
    Note on the Lecture: Although the context is quite specific, the principles the instructor uses to construct the decision tree apply generally to any decision procedure.  This lecture also illustrates how empirical evidence is incorporated into decision trees.  Dr. Farrokh Alemi is Professor of Health Care Administration at Georgetown University.  This video is accessible through YouTube.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

7.1.5 Basic Decision Theory   - Reading: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s Strategic Thinking: “Tutorial G05” Link: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s Strategic Thinking: “Tutorial G05” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read this tutorial about drawing decision tables and
applying basic decision rules to their contents. Decision theory
provides tools for evaluating the best course of action in scenarios
involving risk and uncertainty. Be sure to make an effort to
complete the exercise at the end of the tutorial. The answers will
vary, depending upon what you know about economic markets.  
    
 Reading this tutorial and completing the exercises should take
approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike License
3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/). It is
attributed to Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan, and the original version
can be found [here](http://philosophy.hku.hk/think/).
  • Reading: Richland Community College: Professor James Jones’ “Decision Theory” Tutorial Link: Reading: Richland Community College: Professor James Jones’ “Decision Theory”(HTML) Tutorial
     
    Instructions: This tutorial covers the same basic concepts as the one above, but provides a new example scenario to work through.  Please follow along with pencil and paper to construct the decision table for this scenario and apply the four decision criteria to it.
     
    Note on the Text: This tutorial is accessible through the website of Richland Community College where James Jones is Professor of Mathematics.

7.2 Creative Thinking   7.2.1 Three Principles of Creative Thinking   - Reading: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s Creativity: “Tutorial R01” Link: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s Creativity: “Tutorial R01” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read this tutorial on principles of creative
thinking. Creativity is a ubiquitous human activity, not just the
province of artists and inventors. Human beings solve problems
creatively every day. The nature of creativity thus incorporates
both spectacular creative acts and more modest instances of creative
reasoning. This tutorial explains what all forms of creativity have
in common.  
    
 Reading this tutorial should take approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike License
3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/). It is
attributed to Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan, and the original version
can be found [here](http://philosophy.hku.hk/think/).

7.2.2 A Four Step Cycle for Creative Thinking   - Reading: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s Creativity: “Tutorial R02” Link: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s Creativity: “Tutorial R02” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this tutorial on the creativity cycle. Although there remains something mysterious about just what occurs during a flash of creative inspiration, there are nonetheless certain definite procedures that encourage creative thinking. This tutorial outlines a repeatable four-step process for creativity based on what is known objectively about the production of novel ideas and solutions.
 
Reading this tutorial should take approximately 15 minutes.

 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike License
3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/). It is
attributed to Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan, and the original version
can be found [here](http://philosophy.hku.hk/think/).

7.2.3 Heuristics for Creative Thinking and Some Quotations   - Reading: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s Creativity: “Tutorial R03 and Tutorial R04” Link: University of Hong Kong’s Critical Thinking Web: Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan’s Creativity: “Tutorial R03 and Tutorial R04” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read these tutorials, which offer procedures for initiating creative thinking on the basis of factual knowledge we already possess. The quotations in the second tutorial demonstrate how these procedures form part of the creative process of some of the most famous minds in art, science, and philosophy.
 
Reading these tutorials should take approximately 30 minutes.

 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike License
3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/). It is
attributed to Joe Lau and Jonathan Chan, and the original version
can be found [here](http://philosophy.hku.hk/think/).

7.2.4 Review of Creative Thinking   - Activity: The Saylor Foundation’s “PHIL102 Discussion Forum” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “PHIL102 Discussion Forum” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Consider your experiences with thinking creatively. In particular, using a personal experience as an example, discuss whether, and to what extent, one of the strategies in this section for thinking creatively has been/would have been helpful. Share your thoughts on the discussion forum by clicking on the link above and creating a free account, if you have not already done so. Review and respond to at least one or two other students’ posts.
 
Completing this activity should take approximately 30 minutes.