Critical Thinking - Unit 2 - revision of all topics

This covers everything on the OCR syllabus of unit 2 critical thinking. Excuse my spelling and enjoy :P

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Critical Thinking ­ Unit 2 revision
Revision of key terms
Ambiguous ­ a word or phrase with different meanings or the meaning is not clearly defined
Coherent ­ A consistent argument, i.e. one with no inconsistency and only minor assumptions
Consistent ­ When all parts of an argument agree or are not inconsistent
Knowledge ­ Evidence or facts
Strength and weakness ­ The amount of support which evidence/example gives to a reason, or which a
reason gives to an intermediate conclusion or a main conclusion.
Assess ­ To evaluate e.g. whether an individual's credibility is high or low or whether reasons give
strong support for a conclusion
Belief ­ An assertion held to be true and might not be possible to confirm objectively
Imply ­ To suggest rather than to state explicitly
Infer and inference ­ To draw a conclusion from reasoning - the process of looking at the next logical
Opinion ­ An assertion
Challenge ­ To construct an argument against a conclusion in another argument
Contradict and contradiction ­ A claim or statement which is exactly the opposite of another in the
Converse ­ A statement which is opposite to another; if it is in an argument, it would be called a counter
assertion or a contradiction.
Inconsistent and inconsistency ­ Parts of an argument which cannot be true at the same time as they
would support different conclusions
Refute ­ To actively prove a statement is wrong
Repudiate ­ To refuse to accept a claim or statement
Counter ­ When a writer argues against his own argument in order to strengthen it (as in counter
assertion and counter argument). Also when the writer argues against the argument of another
Drawing a conclusion ­ Inferring an intermediate conclusion or a main conclusion from reasoning
Reasoning ­ A structure of claims which are used to lead to a conclusion
Structure ­ The way in which an argument is put together, e.g. do the reasons act independently to
support the conclusion? Is there a main conclusion?
Intermediate conclusion - A conclusion that is formed on the way to the main conclusion and is
supported by reasons. The intermediate conclusion acts as a reason for and/or gives support to the main
Counter Arguments and Counter Assertions ­ they highlight that the author is aware of opposing
viewpoints and is able to deal with them, without making the author contradictory
- Counter assertion - a statement (or claim) that goes against the main conclusion of the argument
- Counter argument ­ a complete mini-argument that opposes the main conclusion of the argument ­ it
includes all three elements of an argument.
- The main difference between counter assertions is that counter arguments include a reason / some
- Counter arguments and counter assertions are included so that they can be made to look weak. This, in
turn, strengthens the whole argument.
Analogy - something which is seen as similar to what is being argued and is used as a comparison in
order to strengthen the argument.

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When you assess an analogy, you:
Say what the analogy is
Find the point of comparison
Say what the similarities are
Say what the differences are
Assess the analogy by saying whether the similarities outweigh the differences or vice versa.
- An example:
`All exams should be banned because sitting them is like having your teeth pulled out by the
- The analogy is that going through the experience of an exam is similar to a tooth extraction.…read more

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Generalisation ­ where a conclusion is drawn from one example and applied more widely, e.g. `Johnny
passed this exam last year without doing any homework so there is no need for anyone to do any
- Arguing from one thing to another unrelated conclusion ­ e.g. `with the increase in the number of
university students there has been a rise in the number of drink-related incidents in university towns on a
Saturday night.…read more

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Constructing an argument
In section three you will have to answer three questions:
1. A short answer in which you come up with additional reasons for an argument
2. A longer answer in which you support of challenge a claim that is normally linked to a topic in the
source material.
3. A longer answer in which you support or challenge a claim that is normally linked to a topic in the
source material.…read more

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Here is an example of a twelve mark question and a full mark answer:
`Mobile phones are essential for teenagers'
Write an argument to support or challenge this claim.
Mobiles are essential for teenagers. It is an important way for teenagers to communicate with each
other. Evidence suggests that more than 75% of teenagers use their phones to communicate with each
other, so without them they will be less sociable with others. Many people argue that mobile phones
distract teenagers from academic work.…read more


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