Interactive English: Reception

Reading and Listening

Critical Reading

on October 13, 2015

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 10/27 – so this week start looking for an interesting reading!


22 responses to “Critical Reading

  1. Nishibori Hibiki (T4) says:

    I choose quote 5 “The important thing is not to stop questioning.
    This means when we stop questioning, we cannot know new things and never improve ourselves.
    I think this quote is very pertinent. This is because human being made and found new and amazing things by questioning or showing interest to many things. This is the same thing in more closely to us. For example when we read a newspaper and think critically, we sometimes have a question to the article. We consider about the theme, search it with the Internet or something. We get new information and know it deeply. This grows personally.

  2. Yuka Hattori(T4) says:

    Hi, Matt! I chose the question 3 Men become civilized, not in proportion to their willingness to believe, but in their readiness to doubt. It means that people are civilized not when they mean to believe something but when they mean to doubt somethings. I was convinced of that word because I think only after we doubt somethings, we will try to search or investigate the somethings. For example, only when we wonder why it is raining, we want to investigate the cause of raining. If we don’t doubt that there must be the reason of raining, we just think that this phenomenon is occurred naturally and we don’t get knowledge about it any more.

  3. Yuki Yokomizo says:

    Hi, Matt! I’m Yuki.
    I thought about quote 2; The propagandist’s purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.
    When I read this, I was reminded of Hitler. He thought less of Jew in spite of dealing with German as high position. For German he killed and harmed a lot of Jew. By discriminating he made German try to forget regarding Jew as burden. So, I was convinced by this quote.
    By making enemy or eliminating the minority, the ruler might be easy to rule. But, the way different nations or people who have different origin live together is important at today’s society. Now a person at the top must think not his own country but the relation with foreign countries, so thinking his own country is not satisfactory to him. Of course, in terms of ethic, discrimination or something is the worst thing. Thank you.

  4. Rika Morofuji (T4) says:

    I’d like to think about No.5.

    Having questions is crucial for thinking. This will help you to see things from various viewpoints, because questions sometimes notify others new way of thinking.
    And we can also say that questions might be occurred by different points of view, I think.
    If we don’t have any questions,we might be satisfied with one solution ,and for example, complicated problems would not be settled forever.So, having questions are essential for every day life .
    I like the word”The important thing is not to stop questioning.” Having questions is important for making our life more comfortable or solving problems . Questions can lead us better results.

  5. Emi Tanaka(T4) says:

    I choose quote 4 “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
    When I first saw this phrase, I thought the contrary meaning. Thus, we cannot know new things without being taught like a lecture at elementary school. And accepting them helps us to realize the fact.
    However, to think it more thoroughly, we should doubt whether it is right, or have a critical point of view. Things taught by teachers and predecessors aren’t always right. By trying to find out something different idea makes us give a understanding of it and cultivate our imaginations. This activity must include an educated mind.

  6. Yu Kobashi(T4) says:

    I choose quote4 .
    I think the biggest difference, in this context, between “entertain” and “accept “is whether there is rethinking and outputting or not .
    Entertaining a thought means that once accepting it ,then rethinking it and ,outputting or applicating it as one’s own way interestingly.
    On the otherhand , accepting a thought doesn’t have these two steps .
    So I think Aristotle thought that a person who can entertain a thought has a educated mind .
    See you next week !

  7. Mika Osada(T4) says:

    Hi, Matt! I will write about a question1: The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt ~ Bertrand Russell
    It means that the stupid always accept what they hear and the intelligent think deeply and have questions about what they learn. When we have questions about something, we want to know more about it and manage to find out. Therefore, we can learn many things and can also have higher ability to think.
    I agree with this idea. It is easy to hear what others say and agree with it without thinking deeply. Just accepting. However, we should think by ourselves and, sometimes, we should have doubts. Off course, it is important to hear what others say, but we should have our own opinion. We cannot always depend on others. When we are intend not to think, we might be overinfluenced by wrong or vice idea.

  8. Tomoka Mori says:

    Hi,Matt! I choose the quote number
    5,”The important thing is not to stop questioning.”
    This means if we stop questioning, we can’t get new information, also we will loss interest of the things.
    I think the people who don’t stop questioning will success certainly, it’s because he is not aware of his efforts,but he had a question of something, and he was only eager to know the answer of the question. For example, a man he doesn’t have any questions for anything,so he isn’t interested in anything, I think his life could be boring.So we can say that questioning is able to make our more being human.

  9. Yao T4 says:

    Hello,Matt. I’m Yao in T4 class. I choose the quote 4. “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
    It means one who is well educated should understand there are so many different thoughts in the world even you don’t accept them or not agree with them, you should know and enjoy the variety of thoughts.
    It relates to the saying that ” I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. I really appeciate the idea. I think the right to think freely is the most important thing as a person. The thought different from others shows that you are unique and admits your presence. You are allowed to think so you should allow others to think and you should listen and learn from others’ thought.

  10. Ichiyo Shimizu says:

    I think the fifth quote, “The important thing is not to stop questioning, means you mustn’t easily believe what others are saying, but you must doubt it.
    Because it is Einstein who says this quote and he discovered the principle of relativity, he knew well about the importance of continuing to doubt others opinion, I think. Galileo Galilei too, he insisted that the earth moved even if everyone said the sun moved. This results from his question about it. So I guess what Einstein means is just like this.
    In my opinion, questioning is very important when you read. When you are reading, you are likely to be passive and accept the contents without reflecting on them. But you should build up your own opinion, not believe what other people are saying is right. So, it is absolutely necessary to question when you read.

  11. Akari Yamada(T4) says:

    Hi Matt! I choose quote 5.
    In my opinion, this quote means even if you have something you can’t understand, you can understand as long as you keep questioning.
    I practiced this quote back in junior high. At that time I hate math because I couldn’t understand at all. However, I kept questioning my math teacher every after school. Even if the question was the same, I kept questioning over and over again until I could understand the question. Mabey it was hard work for my teacher but thanks to him, I could overcome hatred for math. Rather I came to like math. From this experience, I learned not to stop questioning is very important. To stretch the point a bit, I think something of our life will change by not stop questioning.

  12. Chikako Tsuge (T4) says:

    I would like to choose the fifth quote.
    I think it means if you stop questioning, you won’t be able to learn new things.
    Children are always questioning, and they never stop learning, that’s how we grow up. But once people get matured, they tend to stop wondering and so that they cannot get to know new things anymore, and their life will be monotonous.
    That’s what this quote means to me, and I think it is very important to keep in mind. To live a productive life it’s very important to be active,and not stopping questioning is the necessary way.

  13. Rio Sato(T4) says:

    I will think about the quote 5.
    ”The important thing is not to stop questioning” means that we, human should have doubts about everything.
    That is not bad mean but good one.
    For example I can relate to it the famous story of Newton. It is said that he was able to find gravity when he doubted why an apple fall down from a tree.
    Like this story, we can find a lot of things only when we question about what is obvious.

  14. Atsushi Igarashi (T4) says:

    I think the quote 3 is exactly true. These days, there are too many information and some of them are not correct. So we should think anything around us critically. It is nonsense just to believe everything is true!! SNS, like twitter, has a lot of information and we can get many kind of information. In this point, SNS is very useful, but it also includes false information!! We must not accept all of it…

  15. Ayumi Nakahara(T4) says:

    Hi, Matt!
    I chose quote 5, “The important thing is not to stop questioning.”
    I think it means that we always have to think about something even if we think we are already perfect. If we stop questioning, we will become passive people. Of course, it is important to bend our ears to others’ opinion, but the more important thing is to have our own opinion and tell them clearly. If a lot of people become able to tell their opinions, many good ideas will be born and the world will change, I think! We need to continue having improving minds. Maybe it leads us a full life. Questioning is not easy for me now, so I want to be able to do flexible thinking during my school life at this university.

  16. Keishu Joi(T4) says:

    I chose quote 1.
    For me, this sentence is difficult to understand ,but i try.
    The word “cocksure”means “too confident of your abilities or knowledge, in a way that is qnnoying to other people”.
    So it is usual that”the stupid are cocksure” . However this phrase, “the intelligent are full of doubt”, is interesting. The intelligent should make our world better, but they are definitely full of doubt. I also think that they are intelligent because of their ability of doubt.

    I wonder what makes world better…

  17. Ayaka Kishino(T4) says:

    I choose no.2.
    I think it means that propagandist make impressive advatisements again and again in order to make people believe in some wrong or biased thinking.
    This word is world famous as one of the policy by Hitler. However,there are propagandas all over eras and all over the world,I think.
    Always powerful people try to make people’s thinking change to their own profits. Sometimes they are politicians,or religionists.
    So what should we do?
    The very critical reading and critical listening are the way to avoid propagandas.
    Many people tend to believe what is said in news or in books too easily ,but that is dangerous. We have to think critically and judge from our own view.

  18. Aiko Narasaki says:

    Good morning!
    I choose quote 2 “the propagandist’s purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human”.
    When I hear this, I think of Nazi Germany. I think what Hitler did was exactly the same as the quote. I just wonder the quote says about his empire.

    I completely agree with the quote.
    As a human, we can’t control the desire of recognition or being stronger than others. In some situation, for example when the leader is feeling difficulty in administration, the feeling is really useful. But the method needs the weak.
    So leaders should not use it and should search for other way to govern.

  19. Natsumi Mizumura (T4) says:

    I choose no.5 quote, “The important thing is not to stop questioning.” by Albert Einstein.
    In my childhood time, I was very curious girl and I had interest in everything, so I was attractive girl for my parents, according to my parents tells me. I’m sure that when I was a girl, I always enjoyed everyday.
    But, now, I have no afford to have interest in many thing. Because I’m so busy, I have many tasks that I must do, like a routine. I sometimes feel why I choose this life style. So I try to know important things what is in Japan and in the world at least. If I stop this working, I think I’ll become only alive but not living person.
    This quote is warning lesson for me.

  20. Keisuke Koyama (Chankei) says:

    I chose the 3rd quote, “Men become civilized, not in proportion to their willingness to believe, but in their readiness to doubt. ~ H. L. Mencken”.
    We have a bunch of opportunities to get more and more information every single day. A huge amount of information via internet are doubtful and unbelievable. The truth of the unreliability is well-known in this technological world.
    The quote will mean how we’re facing with the problem these days. Also, Thanks to these quotes, we can see what dangerous internet and information are!

  21. Miki kashiwa says:

    I choose quote 5 “the important thing is not to stop questioning “.
    I think it means that it is important to doubt usual things.
    I learn gender in this semester and every time I take the class,I realize many strange things about gender in our daily lives.
    Through doubting usual things, I can notice its strange points, think about them and try to improve them.

  22. Kenji (T4) says:

    Hi, Matt.

    Since I read book about Nazis’s propaganda, the quotation 2 echo through my head. It sounds the biggest course of tragic situation in our history that people think their neighbor is not human I. In a lot of cases, people who want war with eyes to profit seek to manipulate public opinion.
    We should not stop thinking. If we do so, that is a time when someone have control over our thinking. Then we become unwitting pawns.

    Kenji (T4)

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