Arguments *reason for thinking some claim is true *can be long and involved -complex theoretical reasons *can also be short and simple (ex) My g-ma died so I should be excused from class *one claim given as a reason for thinking another claim is true *logicians think of an argument as the reason and also the claim the reason is about -the supported part: conclusion (ex) I should be excused -supporting part: premise -specifies the reason for accepting the conclusion -(ex) My g-ma just died? Other Concepts and Terms *opinions, thoughts, beliefs, views, ideas, convictions are all the same *claim= statements, judgments, assertions *whenever a claim has been called into question it becomes an issue -what happens when you think critically *when people say a claim is true it usually means they agree with it *you are entitled to say a claim is true if: -you believe it is -you have an argument beyond a reasonable doubt for thinking it is -you have no reason to think you are mistaken Basic Critical Thinking Skills (pg 10) *the first step is to pinpoint what claim is under consideration -can be vague, ambiguous, and obscure *different kinds of claims: -rhetorical flourishes -asides -tangents *next step is to identify the premise and conclusion *no point in considering an argument if there is nothing that would count towards it being t or f (ex) ?there is an identical you in another dimension? -no proof or evidence to prove it is t or f (ex) ?Americans aren?t thinking seriously these days? -does not mean that claims subject to scientific testing are the only ones worth discussing *sometimes claims are made in contexts when it?s not important they be true (ex) telling a joke Recognizing Arguments The Two Parts of an Argument *an argument, whether inductive or deductive, has two parts -the cardinal rule of argument identification is elementary *you need at least two claims and the word therefore (or equivalent) must stand, either explicitly or implicitly, between *unfortunately, a premise of conclusion can be left unstated *two parts: -the premise demonstrates or supports the other part (conclusion) *therefore= it follows that, this shows that, thus, hence, consequently, so, my conclusion is *premise indicators: since, for, because, in view of, this is implied by, given *many arguments don?t contain indicator words so you have to pay attention to whether a passage is an attempt to support or demonstrate something Two Confusions About Arguments *difficulties in identifying arguments are compounded by two important confusions: -arguments are the same as explanations -arguments are attempts to persuade something or something Arguments and Explanations *explanation: (ex) someone has a giant headache because he had a four inch nail in his brain -tells why he had a headache -specifies what caused something or how it works etc? *argument: -Patrick should have carried insurance because now he can?t pay his bills *can tell the difference because and argument has two parts -?he can?t pay his bills? provides a reason for why it is true that Patrick should have had insurance -?he had a nail in his head? isn?t an argument b/c it isn?t a reason for thinking that he had a headache -doesn?t need a reason for thinking he had a headache Arguments and Persuasion *persuasion: -attempt to win him to your point of view -when you want to persuade you might use an argument -not all arguments attempt to persuade -giving people an argument is one of the least effective methods to persuade -propaganda or flattery are effective methods Relevance, Rhetoric, and Keeping a Clear Head *another difficult aspect about thinking critically is weeding out extraneous considerations -we are influenced in our thinking by considerations that are beside the point -relationship to arguer -accent, dress *base claims on its merits, not the merits of the person advocating it *easy to downgrade someone because he seems nervous or stutters -can?t make judgments about an arguer *advertisers use words that enhance the attractiveness of their product -have to weed these out rhetoric language that has a psychological force but carries no weight logically -be aware of negative rhetoric -can enflame passions and make it hard to evaluate ideas on their merits -emotional connotations of words are another objective to an objective and neutral assessment *be wary of claims that are accompanied by photos or other images -images, like rhetoric, can elicit powerful emotions
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