The intellectual roots of critical thinking date back to the Greek philosophers.
Socrates discovered, by means of probing questions, that in the exchange of competing ideas, people sometimes make confident claims based on unreliable assumptions or failed logic.
Such arguments, he discovered, were either erroneous in fact, absent sufficient foundation, or failing in logic. Instead, most arguments were based on confused meanings, inadequate evidence, or contradictory beliefs.
Socrates' contributions to critical thinking were many -- for he established new ways to think about contentious issues in terms of the quality of assumptions, facts and logic.
Thus Socrates demonstrated that persons may have passion, or power or high position but yet be deeply confused and irrational.
Good journalism, like compelling debate, is based on a clear understanding of facts and the logical construction of one's argument. And that is what the Socratic Method and The Sophist Tradition is all about.
The Socratic Method is the preferred way to examine issues.
In the Socratic mode of questioning, postulations, ideas or arguments are examined for their clarity and logical consistency by systematic analysis of facts, assumptions and logical methodology to support a conclusion.
Socratic analysis is accomplished by means of a series of probing questions that systematically examine the quality of an argument or conclusion.
Understanding the quality of information, argument or one's conclusions, is fundamental to critical thinking -- and the goal of critical editing.
Socrates’ practice was followed by the critical thinking of Plato (who recorded Socrates’ thought), Aristotle, and the Greek skeptics, all of whom emphasized that things are often very different from what they appear to be.
Only the trained mind is prepared to see through the way things look to us on the surface (delusive appearances) to the way they really are beneath the surface (the deeper realities of life.)
From this ancient Greek tradition emerged the need, for anyone who aspired to understand the deeper realities, to think systematically, to trace implications broadly and deeply; for only thinking that is comprehensive, well-reasoned, and responsive to objections can take us beyond the surface.
Means Of Analysis
The common denominators of Critical Thinking requires, for example, the systematic monitoring of thought; that thinking, to be critical, must not be accepted at face value, but must be analyzed and assessed for its clarity, accuracy, relevance, depth, breadth, and logical validity. All reasoning occurs within points of view and frames of reference.
All reasoning proceeds from some goals, objectives, and has an informational base. All data, when used in reasoning, must be interpreted. That interpretation involves concepts, that concepts entail assumptions, and that all basic inferences in thought have implications, and each of these dimensions of thinking need to be monitored where problems of thinking can occur.
The result of the collective contribution of the history of critical thought is that the basic questions of Socrates can now be much more powerfully and focally framed.
In every domain of human thought, and within every use of reasoning within any domain, it is now possible to question:
• ends and objectives
• the status and wording of questions
• the sources of information and fact
• the method and quality of information collection
• the mode of judgment and reasoning used
• the concepts that make that reasoning possible
• the assumptions that underlie concepts in use
• the implications that follow from their use
• the point of view or frame of reference within which reasoning takes place
Editorial Standards & Policies
Published: Thursday February 24, 2011 1:00 pm EDT
Finance And Banking Section
Article Length: 386 Words
Reading Time: 2 Minutes
… we need in-house supervisory pre-trade prudential parameters to ensure that cheetahs and algos play by the rules.
Statement of Commissioner Chilton
February 24, 2011
I support the proposed interpretive order regarding disruptive trading practices that we are considering today. At the same time, I want to be clear that we need to do more than merely this order. We need explicit rules to address trading using advanced analytics. Cheetah traders (High Frequency Traders or HFTs) and algorithmic traders are relatively new to markets and deserve special consideration and action to ensure that they do not disrupt the fundamental purposes of futures markets.
Cheetah and algo traders are an important component of markets; they provide liquidity, super-fast access, and an audit trail—something our enforcement folks really appreciate. At the same time, there are concerns about this type of trading and they merit special attention.
Specifically, I think we need some sort of basic cheetah and algo program testing to determine who can be operating these advanced analytics to ensure that they work properly. Second, we need some sort of market parameters (like limit up and limit down rules). Third, we need in-house supervisory pre-trade prudential parameters to ensure that cheetahs and algos play by the rules.
At the same time, I want to once again make a point that none of these rules and regulations will make much of a difference if the agency does not have the resources to oversee and enforce them. Yesterday, I sent a letter to Members of the U.S. House and Senate regarding the need for adequate resources to implement our many new rules. Disruptive trading practices are a good example. We will not be able to stop the very practices we are charged with prosecuting without adequate resources.
In the letter, I said without adequate funding, it would be an impossibility to oversee and enforce these reforms, given the sweeping nature of the new law and the mammoth size of over-the-counter and existing markets. To not fund this agency would result in risky business for consumers, market participants, and ultimately our national economy. Without the funding, we could once again risk another calamitous disintegration.
Source: Commodity Futures Trading Commission