Friday, March 30, 2012

Good Thinking by Denise Cummins

How do we think? Or to ask a slightly different question, how do we know? If you take the IB/TOK jokes literally, the answer will be "we don't". But apart from deconstructing the various ways of thinking, I'm still not quite sure how our minds work. So tada! Good Thinking to the rescue. It's suppose to integrate the various types of thinking taught across the different disciplines - rational choice, game theory, morality, logic, causality and hypothesis testing.

Looking at the bibliography at the back, I get the sense that I'm reading the condensed version of many many studies. And being the lazy person I am, that makes me very happy. Plus, when I read official stuff (like annual reports), I have a tendency to zone out. But, this book is written in an engaging and easy to understand style, so there are no problems.

Now that I've mentioned the good things, there are some problems I have. One is the inherent evolutionist view that the book contains. In one section, the book discusses why we cooperate and goes into this explanation about kin selection. But I think it'd be because we are created, which kind of nullifies the "evolution-teaches-us-to-look-out-for-ourselves-only" problem.

The other problem was when they talked about Copernicus and "the Biblical view of the position and status of the earth as the centre of the universe."Um, no. Galileo was "fighting against" the contemporary views of the earth which was influenced by Aristotelian philosophy, not the Bible (there's a really good article here). You could say that it was the position of the Church, but it's not a Biblical view at all.

But overall, the book is excellent. Let me end by listing some of funniest analogies from high school students (incidentally, the book ends with this too):

"17. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

18. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35mph"

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this ebook from NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

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