My notes (which may or may not be helpful):
"Don't believe everything you think."
** Critical thinking is about discerning truth from falsity.
Critical thinking encompasses both an *attitude* and a *skill set.* The attitude is more important than the skill set because specific skills can be taught relatively easily, but the attitude can not.
The attitude required is (a) a trustfulness of reason, and (b) the willingness to reconsider one's beliefs.
When dealing with any particular idea, it's important to think in terms of *processes,* rather than specific propositions or beliefs. How did you arrive at a particular conclusion?
** Techniques to apply to your proposition or hypothesis:
1. How do you know? Where did you get that information?
2. Counter examples? Can you think of instances where that statement would be wrong?
3. Ask yourself, "How could my belief be wrong?" What conditions would have to be in place for my belief to be incorrect?
When dealing with others, and trying to encourage them to use critical thinking, (a) model the behavior you want to see in them, and (b) ask questions, even when you agree with the proposition.
** What does it mean to "know" something?
1. There's justification - good reason to believe it.
2. You believe it.
3. It's true - corresponds to reality.
Based on Plato's "Theaetetus."
** How to address this in a larger cultural context, where not everyone is concerned with philosophy or critical thinking.
1. Believe on the basis of evidence.
2. Don't pretend to know things you don't know.
3. Be more humble about presumed knowledge; assign lower confidence values to beliefs for which we might not have adequate justification.
I don't generally read books on "atheism" because I don't need anyone to explain to me why I should be an atheist. But A Manual For Creating Atheists is a practical guide to what Dr. Boghossian calls "street epistemology."
Youtube playlist of Dr. Boghossian videos
Unofficial Facebook group: A Manual for Creating Atheists