Ms. Sherry Watkins, Ms Essay

Submitted By fatgirl1995
Words: 1570
Pages: 7

Sherry Turner
November 27, 2012
Public Relations
Thinking and Bias
Paper #2

Thinking and Bias
As human beings we often find answers to various problems through thought. As stated by Dewey thought is anything that “goes through our heads” (Forest 6). It can be anything that we see or imagine whether rational or irrational. In a more advanced form Dewey expresses reflective thought as “active, persistent, and careful of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds that support it…” (Forest 8). The source of the knowledge discovered by one is what can lead to bias. Bias is simply a failure to be open to the evidence (Forest 8). One of the things that may influence thinking is bias because one may ignore the legitimacy of their claim. The power of bias may lead one to believe a viewpoint based on prejudgments or faulty beliefs which they think are true. In the case of 12 Angry Men we see how the jury reaches a verdict through the fallacies of bias and reflective thinking. Once the movie begins we see all twelve of the jurors unite together in hopes of reaching a verdict. After they take a poll one man, Juror 8 is the only one who believes that the defendant is not guilty. After stating his claim he admits to the jury that there is room for reasonable doubt. According to Dewey, the basis of thinking is some perplexity or confusion (Forest 11). As for Juror 8 he is not completely sure that the boy is innocent he just believes that there is a possibility he is innocent. By stating his belief we see how he tries to convince the other jurors through reflective thought. Firstly, the juror brings up the fact that it is possible someone else could have killed the father. The other jurors state that the knife used to kill the father was a very rare knife. After making this statement Juror 8 presents a knife almost identical to the one used in the murder. This claim suggests room for reasonable doubt because the juror presented evidence that was valid to his assumption. The example of how Juror 8 came to convince the others of why he believes the boy is not guilty can be illustrated by Dewey’s three levels of thinking. Firstly, the juror commits to what he believes may be true and presents it with knowledge. By stating that there is a possibility the boy is innocent leaves room for reasonable doubt. This is sort of a pre reflective aspect where ideas are presented on the table. The second level is when evidence is exposed. For example, when Juror 8 presents a knife which is almost similar to the murder weapon the other jurors fail to agree with his evidence. Also, when he willingly mimics the elderly man who claimed he saw the boy running from the crime scene we also see denial of the truth. Finally, the third level of thinking is portrayed by Juror 8 when he comes to inquiry about the evidence and is able to make a rationalization about what actually happened. This is when some of the others start succumbing to his proclamations. On the other hand, we instantly see bias portrayed by Juror 7. He tries to rush the whole process because of the ball game that he plans on attending later that night. This is a case of individual bias because he immediately tries to satisfy his desire to go to the game when in reality he should be more focused on the case. Considering what is at stake for the boy Juror 7 deliberately fails to believe in any insight that might otherwise alter his belief (Forest 14). Juror 7 states that the woman who witnessed the murder and the gentleman who claims he heard the boy yell “I’m going to kill you” is more than enough to accommodate what he deems as the truth (12 Angry Men). The interesting fact about this man is that he also displays general bias which is a failure to think through important matters or problems. We see this occur when some of the other jurors begin to accept the fact that the defendant may not be guilty, Juror 7 decides to change