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Discussion Starter #1
I am referring to those who are so firmly set in their mentality or decisions, that they are incapable of reasoning with. When most of us make decisions, I think we are still capable of reasoning and changing our minds -- if someone presents an alternative perspective or new information, we are able to consider the points they make and if necessary, adjust our conclusion and admit "you're right. That is a reasonable and logical point once I think about it this way. Looks like I was wrong on this."

Recently, though, I encountered someone who is very firmly set in his own intuitive world/mentality, that the conclusions he makes are the only possible answers. He won't consider the possibility that there is an alternative conclusion or answer (other than his, even when new information proves otherwise!). He will, however, take time to debate (for pages and pages) on all the small details of the other person's point, but this has no bearing on changing his firmly entrenched ideas.

Specifically, this is regarding a professor. A lot of his multiple choice questions are ambiguous so that we have to choose the "best" answer (this means that there can be 2 correct answers, but one is better); often the line between the best and next-best answer is very, very, very thin. He talks a lot about making a decision from our intuition. And when we present him evidence from our text and his own lecture that points to another answer, he is incapable of incorporating the new information into his mentality and accepting - he seems to just select and choose, rather than taking things "as is."

For example, on one question, there were two answers that were correct, but one was better according to our professor's intuitive reasoning. He literally said, if we "think about it intuitively, this is the best answer." BUT. This is a social science class. Answers should be based on facts not intuition. Another student (not me) found evidence from our textbook that pointed that the other answer was the best answer, factually. Based on this new information, it's clear what answer was "best," however, professor sent a 5 page attached document to student debating and elaborating on what the textbook said. Conclusion was this: "You raise some very interesting and debatable points, but you are wrong." I find this frustrating, because if the test was fact-based, there is one right or wrong answer, but the professor relies on his own intuitive interpretation of the question. As a result, even if new information suggests otherwise, his opinion is the only right one.

So here's the main thing: Several students, since the first exam (there were 5 exams total), have emailed the professor about potentially correct answers with similar evidence to show their points. However, all have resulted in pages and pages of debating/elaborating on evidence, but ultimately concluding that he is still right. The thing is... I respect professors, but I think that this one is in his own world. Given that this is a social science class, I think he should grade answers based on their factual validity not on his intuitive interpretation of something. Question is: how do I convince him or reason with him? Desperately need your help - there is one exam where I did very poorly; there are many questions I am absolutely positive about its factual validity; however, I was marked wrong based on the professor's intuitive ideas about the answer. Appealing this exam will make the difference in my grade... ANY advice would be helpful
 

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Logic. Plain simple logic. Make sure they know that if they choose this course of action then this is what will happen. Some people are blind to reason however, so just make sure that when they go down due to their own stupidity that you're situated so that you don't go down with them.
 

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Geez, it's social science, not chemistry.

It's very likely that the questions you're being asked with ambiguous overtones are intended to stimulate debate and force thought and discussion among the students, proceeding to a deeper understanding of the material at hand. If so it seems to be working.

Or am I missing the point?
 

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If this guy is not being impartial in the way his tests are marked, if the right/wrong answers cannot be externally validated then you can appeal to your college, presumably. If you have lots of the paper-based debates then you have evidence.

Bottom line though is this bloke is an asshole, and you would do better dropping his social science class and doing something else. He won't change. He is having fun at your expense, masturbating his fine intuitive ego, isn't he? Imagine finding the time to argue with people in this way. I bet he never, ever has sex.

I agree with slowpoke's point about social science; then again, if a subject is so...er, subjective then assessing it with multiple choice seems crazy to me. Essays or dissertation would be more appropriate.

Whatever. If none of the above seem to be working the only other thing I would do is scour those questions for linguistic logic, nuances of word meaning. There has to be a key to this guy's "intuition". Find it.
 

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curious0610;619031 Specifically said:
1. Find out if the professor has tenure (the department secretary will know this information. Make sure you phone from a number outside the university. )

2. If the professor does not have tenure, make an appointment and give a copy of the pages and pages of debate to the department chair. This is more effective if you go as a group or a couple of separate small groups with lots of copies of lots of different debate documents. Say you are all very confused because the material seems contradictory and you really want to learn the subject. Suggest that multiple choice testing seems like a less effective and reproducible assessment model than essay questions for these types of subtle points. Say you like the professor and don't want him or her to be fired, but you are really confused and want to do well and it's impossible to guess what the professor wants because it doesn't agree with the book.

Sometimes very junior professors do not get enough training on how to teach, and this might be a benefit to him if he doesn't listen to you. It gives the department head a chance to take this person aside and explain why not to treat students like debate partners.

3. If the professor has tenure, you may have to wait until the course is over and then forward materials substantiating a change in grade to the provost or dean. If this course is in your major, you can get away with this only once and only if the department chairperson recognizes this as a problem with this professor.
 

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Geez, it's social science, not chemistry.

It's very likely that the questions you're being asked with ambiguous overtones are intended to stimulate debate and force thought and discussion among the students, proceeding to a deeper understanding of the material at hand. If so it seems to be working.

Or am I missing the point?
It's a multiple choice test... so you would be right if the prof were using the right kind of test for this type of debate.
 

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I am referring to those who are so firmly set in their mentality or decisions, that they are incapable of reasoning with. When most of us make decisions, I think we are still capable of reasoning and changing our minds -- if someone presents an alternative perspective or new information, we are able to consider the points they make and if necessary, adjust our conclusion and admit "you're right. That is a reasonable and logical point once I think about it this way. Looks like I was wrong on this."

Recently, though, I encountered someone who is very firmly set in his own intuitive world/mentality, that the conclusions he makes are the only possible answers. He won't consider the possibility that there is an alternative conclusion or answer (other than his, even when new information proves otherwise!). He will, however, take time to debate (for pages and pages) on all the small details of the other person's point, but this has no bearing on changing his firmly entrenched ideas.

Specifically, this is regarding a professor. A lot of his multiple choice questions are ambiguous so that we have to choose the "best" answer (this means that there can be 2 correct answers, but one is better); often the line between the best and next-best answer is very, very, very thin. He talks a lot about making a decision from our intuition. And when we present him evidence from our text and his own lecture that points to another answer, he is incapable of incorporating the new information into his mentality and accepting - he seems to just select and choose, rather than taking things "as is."

For example, on one question, there were two answers that were correct, but one was better according to our professor's intuitive reasoning. He literally said, if we "think about it intuitively, this is the best answer." BUT. This is a social science class. Answers should be based on facts not intuition. Another student (not me) found evidence from our textbook that pointed that the other answer was the best answer, factually. Based on this new information, it's clear what answer was "best," however, professor sent a 5 page attached document to student debating and elaborating on what the textbook said. Conclusion was this: "You raise some very interesting and debatable points, but you are wrong." I find this frustrating, because if the test was fact-based, there is one right or wrong answer, but the professor relies on his own intuitive interpretation of the question. As a result, even if new information suggests otherwise, his opinion is the only right one.

So here's the main thing: Several students, since the first exam (there were 5 exams total), have emailed the professor about potentially correct answers with similar evidence to show their points. However, all have resulted in pages and pages of debating/elaborating on evidence, but ultimately concluding that he is still right. The thing is... I respect professors, but I think that this one is in his own world. Given that this is a social science class, I think he should grade answers based on their factual validity not on his intuitive interpretation of something. Question is: how do I convince him or reason with him? Desperately need your help - there is one exam where I did very poorly; there are many questions I am absolutely positive about its factual validity; however, I was marked wrong based on the professor's intuitive ideas about the answer. Appealing this exam will make the difference in my grade... ANY advice would be helpful

My sympathies ... To your situation here.

Well, if reason or logic did not work for him, we really cant do much.
Try to get into the mind of your professor and try to come out with what your professor thinks the best answer even if that is not a reasonable answer doesnt matter.

Because , what matters here is your grades. And getting through this subject.
An ENTP perspective would be to simply manipulate the professor and all the options you have to get the job done.
 

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I didn't actually read the post before posting my take on the title.

This professor isn't using "intuition", he's being lazy, wrong and stubborn. Go to a different social science professor in your school and go ask him to look over the exams which the professor was wrong in. This will stir shit in their department, and it is probably the only way to get through to him.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yes, he seems to derive intense pleasure from debating/proving us wrong. When students point out information from the text, he spends a lot of time showing how it is incompatible with his interpretation. I guess I'm generally at a loss of what to do because I've never worked with somebody before who had this mindset, and who was so firm in his intuitive paradigm. It seems that he is definitely set in his patterns and what patterns he believes, which makes sense, given his age he's had much time to crystallize his mindset. Class is pretty much over, they just have a few weeks to finish gradng the last of material and post the grades. It would really suck to get stuck with a "+" grade when I could'e gotten a "-" grade one letter grade up, especially when I was only a few points away. Ex: C+ v B- or B+ v A-... I am seriously only a few points away, that this is just torturing me, if I get the lower of the either.

We also have debates on ambiguous material, which I love, by the way. We have class sessions dedicated to debating ambiguous ideas, which is fine, but on a multiple choice test, it's unfair, because there will always be two purely logically correct answers, so that 2 answers will be 75% logical and one will be 25% intuitive, and the 25% intuitive one will be right. I just don't know how I can introduce other logical perspectives. When introduced to other aspects, he spends more time arguing about how it is not compatible with his views/intuition. Can't really argue with someone's intuition! It's not based on factual or sensory material, so it's hard to work with. :(

I guess I *could* go to another professor... I dont know any in this field, but won't this start a lot of drama? I also dont want the professor to get into trouble with his department or his colleagues to think he's a "problem" person. I don't want any trouble... i just want him to acknowledge that some of his questions have two right answers! and because of that, my grade was negatively impacted... :(
 

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You should really not go to any random professor... they might be friends (and you have no idea how close their friendships are) and it could just look like you're whining about your grade.

If you express concern about learning to an official person, they are more likely to listen to you and help you.
 

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Why did he even bother to assign a textbook if he's going to contradict it and mark you off for selecting the answer that the textbook gives?

Your an INFJ, so this might be hard, but be tough and assertive. Don't worry about getting him in trouble. If he's not doing his job and the grades of the students are suffering, then he deserves to be confronted about it by his superiors.

I would go to an official with your case. Take everything you need to make your point...The test, the textbook with the pages you need marked, his 5 page documents explaining why the book is wrong and this other answer is right
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I sorted my thoughts on this further. Can you guys help me logically understand and think about this situation? I am just kind of driven by this feeling that "this is not fair," and I can't think about this objectively. I just feel some bitterness towards this professor and I think that the more I think about this issue, the more my feelings and thoughts get clouded. I feel like this is not right, because there is ambiguity in the answers, but other than that, I can't go further.

I think it would help if you guys could help me spot and point the logical fallacies in this professor's selection of right/wrong answers on the exam? I know I am right, but I just don't know how to express myself (logically) at this point. If I were to speak with the professor right now, I think I would just clam up and say "it's not fair because some of your questions have answers that can be argued either way based on the text," but if he starts up a logical debate, I'd be at a loss of what to do or say.

Helpful link ,maybe:
A List Of Fallacious Arguments
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I sorted my thoughts on this further. Can you guys help me logically understand and think about this situation? I am just kind of driven by this feeling that "this is not fair," and I can't think about this objectively. I just feel some bitterness towards this professor and I think that the more I think about this issue, the more my feelings and thoughts get clouded. I feel like this is not right, because there is ambiguity in the answers, but other than that, I can't go further.

I think it would help if you guys could help me spot and point the logical fallacies in this professor's selection of right/wrong answers on the exam? I know I am right, but I just don't know how to express myself (logically) at this point. If I were to speak with the professor right now, I think I would just clam up and say "it's not fair because some of your questions have answers that can be argued either way based on the text," but if he starts up a logical debate, I'd be at a loss of what to do or say.

Helpful link ,maybe:
A List Of Fallacious Arguments
 

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Discussion Starter #14
and if I were to contact his superiors (if it ever got that far), I would be crushed in a logical debate, because I realize that although I am strongly certain this this is not fair, I am sort of thinking in circles, but not in logical steps..
 

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I think that logic is not the key to this puzzle, intuition is. You don't have to work out the correct answer based on logical principles, if what matters to you is the grade rather than learning social science then you have to use your knowledge of the professor to predict what his answer is likely to be.

I haven't read the arguments above. Might come back to you on that, but really as an INFJ you should be well placed to second-guess this guy.

And yeah, you need to think a bit like an ENTP rather than INFJ. It's doesn't matter that this isn't fair. What matters right now to you is winning this game.

I'm not sure why you posted this here, but your prof doesn't sound all that ENTP, by the way.
 

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I bet he is very much used to students trying to debate the material with him. You're not his first class he has done this to and over time he has probably gotten firmly rooted into his own system of beliefs. Sounds like he is using his own subjective logic and I don't think there is much you can do to persuade him out of it. It is basically like arguing with someone who has faith - "This is true because I think/feel this is true" - that's Ti/Fi for you. Thing is that what you think or feel like doesn't really change the reality outside. His fallacy is that he is not accepting of objective logic and is relying completely on his internal subjective logic. His thinking is like an island in itself completely unassailable by what is going on in the world around it. His Ti has selected what is relevant according to his own point of view and what you guys try to point out to him is of course irrelevant.

If this is about the grade then I agree with alfreda, just play the game. If this is about proving him wrong, you can just correspond with him because it looks like he cares to argue about his point of view (as was demonstrated by the 5-page reply he has sent) and basically slowly dismantle his arguments. And of course you can just wait out until grades can no longer be changed and go and talk to his superior about this, though this is not going to achieve much.
 

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I am referring to those who are so firmly set in their mentality or decisions, that they are incapable of reasoning with. When most of us make decisions, I think we are still capable of reasoning and changing our minds -- if someone presents an alternative perspective or new information, we are able to consider the points they make and if necessary, adjust our conclusion and admit "you're right. That is a reasonable and logical point once I think about it this way. Looks like I was wrong on this."

Recently, though, I encountered someone who is very firmly set in his own intuitive world/mentality, that the conclusions he makes are the only possible answers. He won't consider the possibility that there is an alternative conclusion or answer (other than his, even when new information proves otherwise!). He will, however, take time to debate (for pages and pages) on all the small details of the other person's point, but this has no bearing on changing his firmly entrenched ideas.

Specifically, this is regarding a professor. A lot of his multiple choice questions are ambiguous so that we have to choose the "best" answer (this means that there can be 2 correct answers, but one is better); often the line between the best and next-best answer is very, very, very thin. He talks a lot about making a decision from our intuition. And when we present him evidence from our text and his own lecture that points to another answer, he is incapable of incorporating the new information into his mentality and accepting - he seems to just select and choose, rather than taking things "as is."

For example, on one question, there were two answers that were correct, but one was better according to our professor's intuitive reasoning. He literally said, if we "think about it intuitively, this is the best answer." BUT. This is a social science class. Answers should be based on facts not intuition. Another student (not me) found evidence from our textbook that pointed that the other answer was the best answer, factually. Based on this new information, it's clear what answer was "best," however, professor sent a 5 page attached document to student debating and elaborating on what the textbook said. Conclusion was this: "You raise some very interesting and debatable points, but you are wrong." I find this frustrating, because if the test was fact-based, there is one right or wrong answer, but the professor relies on his own intuitive interpretation of the question. As a result, even if new information suggests otherwise, his opinion is the only right one.

So here's the main thing: Several students, since the first exam (there were 5 exams total), have emailed the professor about potentially correct answers with similar evidence to show their points. However, all have resulted in pages and pages of debating/elaborating on evidence, but ultimately concluding that he is still right. The thing is... I respect professors, but I think that this one is in his own world. Given that this is a social science class, I think he should grade answers based on their factual validity not on his intuitive interpretation of something. Question is: how do I convince him or reason with him? Desperately need your help - there is one exam where I did very poorly; there are many questions I am absolutely positive about its factual validity; however, I was marked wrong based on the professor's intuitive ideas about the answer. Appealing this exam will make the difference in my grade... ANY advice would be helpful
drop the class.
 

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This guy is a douchebag and will never back down because he has authority. I read some of the other arguments by the other postees, and yeah, you need to take it to someone over his head that can actually change your grade or force the professor to change your grade to what you fairly deserve. Social science is NOT math where "i feel that 1+1=5 because.....blah blah blah"
there are different approaches to going about this, but keep records and get other students that feel the same way as you do and sticking it to him.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Cant drop the class, it's already over, this is just that grace period where they grade stuff and upload grades.

And after several tests, I have gotten to know this person better and kind of predict what kind of stuff he's going to ask, and which answers he is likely to choose.

But seriously, some of these questions... WOW.

And yes, my grade is my concern. which is why I've been "playing the game" and "digging in" to the material. The only thing is I want to prove him wrong on one exam, because that one exeam will make a difference in a letter grade for my final grade.

Thanks everyone for the help so far. :) and I am posting on various threads, other than the INFJ thread, to hear adifferent perspectives!
 

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Seems to me then that you have posted too late to do much about it. Whatever the rights or wrongs of a situation, you have much less crdeibility if you are complaining about someone's teaching methids after you have failed to achieve the grade you wanted.

Certainly wait and see now: you might be being pessimistic about your chances.
 
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