Interactive English: Reception

Reading and Listening

Critical Reading

on October 15, 2014

In order to comprehend and retain information, it is important to be active while reading or listening. In the next class we will practice one way of actively reading: critically reading. To practice a bit of critical thinking, please choose one of the quotes from below and in the comments please tell us what it means to you and your opinion of the quote.

1. The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt ~ Bertrand Russell

2. The propagandist’s purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human. ~ Aldous Huxley

3. Men become civilized, not in proportion to their willingness to believe, but in their readiness to doubt. ~ H. L. Mencken

4. It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. ~ Aristotle

5. The important thing is not to stop questioning. ~ Albert Einstein

*Readings and questions are due on 11/11 – so this week start looking for an interesting reading!


24 responses to “Critical Reading

  1. Hiroshi Yoshida(T4) says:

    I choose 4st quote.
    I think it means that people who are educated well would be able to comprehend or understand some sentences and they could make answers or thoughts without reading it carefully. When we read some easy sentence, we can understand it quickly. I’m not sure my mind was educated, but I also have an experience like that. It can be a skill of educated people, but it also can be a bad habit. If it is a skill, that’s ok. But if it is a bad habit, it would lead to misunderstandings, so we (if we have an educated mind,) have to pay attention to any sentences when reading.

  2. Wataru Kaneto (T4) says:

    I tried interpreting Quote 1 “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt”

    In my opinion, the quote means some people accept any information due to the lack of knowledge and the others cannot tell the truth from abundant knowledge. What matters is the both types of people fail to comprehend the truth. So I think we have to gain information for ourselves and ponder what is true.
    These days with a mass of information, this quote means more to us.

  3. Ryohei Kamiya (T4) says:

    I choose the 2nd quote, “The propagandist’s purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human. ”
    In history, some sets of people sometimes forget that certain others are human, because of propaganda. This is true of national or rational persecution, for example, Holocaust. Some people think that other races or other nations are not human, and persecute them. If a powerful person wants to raise his or her own nation or race, one of easy ways of it is looking down on other nations.
    From this quote, you can learn about world affairs in modern society, that are caused by nationalism or racism.

  4. Mika Yamamori (T4) says:

    I think that the quote 5, “The important thing is not to stop questioning” is really understandable for us.
    It is good for young people to question when they study something because I think that their thinking is fresh and questioning enables them to get knowledge. Also, it enables them to create new views. For example, one child questions “why is the sky blue?” The child may study the reason and he may also want to know the earth, the sun, the universe, and so on.
    Moreover, I think that it is important for elderly people to keep on questioning. For example, they can get knowledge by reading books. Since they have many experiences through their lives, perhaps their ways of thinking are different from what books that they read say. Then, they may question “Why does this book say so?” and think about the difference between their ways of thinking and what the book says.
    So I think this quote tells us that we can have better lives by questioning.

  5. Tamako(T4) says:

    I chose the 4th quote, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it”.
    I think that there are three way when faced with new ideas. Accepting and adjusting(agreeing), understanding but not agreeing, and totally refusing.
    And I also think that being totally opposed to everything is not good. Sometimes such attitude is called ‘the cynical’. But we also shouldn’t accept everything in its face value. To be educated is, in my opinion, ready to catch new ideas enough and then being able to decide one’s own logical opinion towards that idea.
    When confronting seemingly strange ideas, we tend to shout ‘No way!’ and stop reading at that moment. But, in ‘critical reading’, we must read it carefully and make clear what is bad and also what is good in the ideas.

  6. Mayu Morimoto (T4) says:

    I will think about the quote 4, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it” said by Aristotle.
    This quote probably means that people who are educated well do not have to accept an idea to
    think about it. People who do not have so educated mind must put a special emphasis on if it is acceptable for them or not. I am interested in this saying because if my guessing is correct, it means that educated people do not think too much about if they can agree. They will think every possibilities and perspectives on a topic. People including me tend to see only one sight of matters. It will lead us to think egoistically. This quote let me think that what we need is to try not to fall into our own idea and “entertain a though without accepting it”.

  7. Wataru Yamamura(T4) says:

    I will express my opinion of the quote no.3 , ” Men become civilized, not in proportion to their willingness to believe, but in their readiness to doubt.” (H. L. Mencken)
    In my opinion, this quote means that we cannot develop our society better without doubting existing present situation.
    I think he wanted to convey the youth who make next generation.
    I examined H.L.Mencken.
    He was an American journlist(1880~1956).He doubted the value of existing value such as Puritanism and insisted on the precioussness of American unique literature.His idea had influenced the way of thinking of young American people.
    We are likely to think the opinion of most people think is right.
    But we can discover new concept by doubting constantly like “What ability is lacked for us?””How can we mature?”
    In short, man who don’t have aspiration can’t become sophisticated.
    I was impressed by this quote.

  8. Tao Ichino says:

    I’m interested in the quote 1, “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt ”
    This sentence reflects the idea of Socrates, “I know that I know nothing.”
    Intelligent people knows the world is so big that there are a lot of area they cannot know.
    So, they think well before they act because their actions may be harmful to the area they don’t know.
    The intelligent are full of doubt.
    On the other hand, stupid people don’t know they know nothing.
    For them, the area around of them is the only world.
    It may be possible to know all of such a small world.
    It’s very easy.Of course, they get cocksure.
    They don’t care another world, and they can injure people living in another world easily.
    In addition, the stupid act without thought, so their actions are early.
    But the intelligent act with thought, so their actions are late.
    It helps prevent the intelligent from stopping the tragedy.
    For me, the quote 1 means this.

    But it is also problem that there are a lot of the stupid people and a small number of the intelligent people.
    Too many stupid people for intelligent people to stop, I think it is the true problem.

  9. Miho Hashimoto (T4) says:

    I chose the quote no.2. The propagandist’s purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human. ~ Aldous Huxley
    It means that propagandists such as politicians try to gain votes by controling people’s mind technically. For example some historical famous leaders used a common way.
    That is making people think that they are superior to other groups of religions or races.
    Then people gradually brainwashed by that leader without noticing that is a wrong way. Sometimes it causes terrible discrimination or even a war.
    I think that Aldous wanted to say humans are equal anytime and we should remember that.
    Not to begin a war again, we should compare some politicians opinion and not obey them if they say something like discrimination.
    In addition, we mustn’t follow opinions of majority easily.
    The number of people has no meanings. The most important thing is what they say is true or not.

  10. tufsmatt says:

    Wow- great comments everybody!!

  11. Natsuko Nishida says:

    I chose no,5.
    I think the quote tells us why our world could development .Some wise people invented very convenient tools and thanks to the tools , today we are able to lead comfortable life . They maybe thought “why ?” all the time they were living. If they hadn’t do so , they couldn’t invent what we need now to live as “man”.
    The quote is important for not only some wise people but also ordinary people . Of couse also I need to keep in mind the quote ,because the word “why” gives me a new idea that shows me new world. New wolrd is not what I don’t know .It means a “new” point of view. When I find new vision,
    I cannot invent something convenient, but maybe I don’t get tired of my life.

  12. Shota Nihi says:

    I choose the last quote.
    I think what he means is to continue to think. When I read English, sometimes I can’t understand all meanings of words so I get unwilling to read. It is important to continue to have a question about what the words, sentences, and texts meas. We must not give up working our brain. To continue to ask questions makes us consentrate to read English.

  13. TANAKA KOTARO(T4) says:

    I chose quote NO.5, “The important thing is not to stop questioning. ~ Albert Einstein”.
    This tries to tell us that if we aren’t content with things as they are and continue thinking and questioning to the present, we could better result, I think. People tend to make their limit and point of compromise. I think the reason why Einstein is known as genious is he didn’t make his limit and tried to question to get better result. This quote means “if we stop questioning, then we couldn’t go next stage”,I think. The people who want to evolve from boring man should pay attention to this quote.

  14. Kentaro Ando says:

    I chose number4.
    I think it means that using information is better than getting information. In fact, if you don’t understand a thought completely, you can’t explain or utilize it. So what is important is to use information. In addition to this, he wanted to say critically reading is important.
    Aristostelos read Platon’s idea critically and criticized “Theory of Forms”. I think this remark is about this.

  15. Watanabe Akihiro (T4) says:

    I tried to interpreted 2nd quote.
    Propagandists always try to deceive general public to spread their ideas through mass communication
    Not in history, but in our time there are such people, so we carefully choose information not to be deceived.

  16. Chinatsu Fukunaga(T4) says:

    I chose the first quote “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt ~ Bertrand Russell”. It might mean that the stupid should be silent because they know little but the intelligent are too silent because of their suspiciousness. I think people who are intelligent know “Pile that came out is struck”. Just they should be active but in fact, are protective.

  17. Akane Okumura says:

    I choose the quote 5. Poeple have thought and produce many things, rules and thought. Then people got abundant life. We live surrounded by a lot of things. It is useful but too useful, we don’t think so much and our thoughts are going to be poor. We should think not only when we are casted a question but when it seems that there are no problems.

  18. Akira Katagata(T4) says:

    I chose No.5.
    I agree with him. Questioning is important for us. When we keep questioning, we can usually make new ideas easily.On the other hand, if we think about one matter without Questioning, we can’t reach a creative answer.

  19. Minami Iwakiri(T4) says:

    I will mention the quote 5.
    I think Albert Einstein wanted to tell us by his words that intellectual curiosity is always needed for all of us to grow up as a human. I am strongly for his words because intellectual curiosity can bring out our desire to learn more and is very useful for me especially when I study foreign languages.

  20. Emi Enomoto(T4) says:

    I chose the quote No.3. It means that people get critical view through doubting things. Civilized man has eyes which can doubt everything, and at the same time, it means the man who cannot doubt anything is not sophisticated. So I think critical thinking is like urban, modern, and cool style of thinking. But I also think it is literally ‘cool’; there are few kindness. Of course critical thinking is difficult and only educated people can do, so that’s cool, but believing something is also good for human relationships. I think we should find both are important.

  21. Shizuka Abe (T4) says:

    I choose quote 4.
    I think this quote means that educated person can think himself and have own idea or way of thinking before just accepting. Nowadays, there are many information around all over the world. We always just accept many information, and sometimes we are influenced and confused. Just accepting is easy, but educated person don’t do that. Before just accepting, educated person think carefully, and entertain him own thought.

  22. Ayaka Sakuma(T4) says:

    I choose quote 5, The important thing is not to stop questioning. In fact, I was also told this by my mother, she often used this words. Having question helps us be more active and ambitious. What important thing to keep making efforts is keeping questioning. If you are satisfied with something and stop questioning, your ability won’t be better than now. I agree with his opinion, and I’ll keep in mind this.

  23. Ayano sato (T4) says:

    I’ll choose 2.
    I think it means that propaganda makes people believed that only they are right and others are enemy. They use even force for propaganda. In some country, for example Mexico, many people are killed in order that one group show how powerful they are to the other group.
    I think this quote shows a danger of media. Media can be a kind of propaganda, and it is very influential Because of media’s information, sometimes we are confused and make wrong actions without thinking about other people. Some madias aim that. I think we should remember this quote, and we should judge what is the true and decide our actions by ourselves.

  24. Nanami Ozaki (T4) says:

    I choose the 4th quote.
    I think this quote says that getting knowledge and questioning anytime is very important. When people don’t have knowledge, they can’t wonder about things. And can’t questioning. If people know nothing, they would accept things instantly and naturally, and they might be deceived.
    I often accept a lot of things naturally ,so for me, it is difficult to questioning … I have little knowledge ,so I have to be more educated.

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