Critical Thinking

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Nick is chief engineer in a phosphate fertilizer plant that generates more than 1 million tons per year of gypsum, a waste collected in a nearby pile. Over many years, the pile has grown into a mountain containing 40 million tons of waste. There is little room at the present site for any more waste, so a new gypsum pile is planned. Current environmental regulations call for the elimination of acidic water seepage and groundwater contamination by phosphates and fluorides. Nick's design for the new pile, which has been approved, incorporates the latest technology and complies with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state regulations. However, he also knows that the old pile—although exempt from the current regulations—presents a major public hazard. When it rains, acidic water seeps through the pile, carrying phosphates into the groundwater. In a confidential report to management, Nick recommends measures that will prevent the seepage from happening. His company turns down his proposal, stating that, at present, no law or regulation demands such remedy.
Is the solution logical?
Does the solution solve the real problem?
Is the problem permanently solved, or is this a patchwork solution?
Are all the criteria and constraints are satisfied?
Does the solution have the desired impact?
Is the solution economically, environmentally, politically, and ethically responsible and safe?
Have you used the nine types of Socratic Questions— for example, have you challenged the information and assumptions provided? . Have all the consequences of the solution been examined— for example, does it cause other, more serious problems?
Have you argued both sides— the positive and the negative? . Has the solution accomplished all it could?
Is the solution is blunder- free? Have you checked the procedure and logic of the arguments?

  • Critical Thinking -

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