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Farrah Desai, Critical Thinking, Section 1

Elements of an argument

A statement the writer wants accepted on the basis of her reasons


Aims to persuade the reader to accept a conclusion

A statement/judgement which can be challenged has no reasons to support it.

Can be turned in…

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Farrah Desai, Critical Thinking, Section 1

Counter Argument
Counter Assertion

Counter Argument or Counter assertion indicators

Although, despite this, however, it has been said/suggested, contrary to this, on the other
hand, some may argue.

Hypothetical Reasoning
A statement or judgement that can be challenged.

A fact
An opinion

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Farrah Desai, Critical Thinking, Section 1

Simple hypothetical Reasoning
Looks at the consequences that might occur if something were the case.


A missing reason in an argument.
The writer accepts it without stating it
Essential for the conclusion to be drawn
Acts as the unstated reason

Formulating assumptions…

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Farrah Desai, Critical Thinking, Section 1

Something which is used as evidence because it is characteristic of the same kind of things
or because it can serve to illustrate a principle. They provide good support for the

Numerical and statistical data as evidence
Surveys or research data


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Farrah Desai, Critical Thinking, Section 1

Where was it conducted
Are examples typical and relevant
Are research finding clear-cut or ambiguous?
Is it from a reputable source, an expert, authoritative, without a motive to mislead?
Sometimes statistics can mislead without the motive to do so.

Analysing and evaluating reasoning


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Farrah Desai, Critical Thinking, Section 1

4. Identifying hypothetical reasoning and counter-argument in longer arguments

If the `if' is followed by a `then', hypothetical reasoning is present
Some argument indicators lead in to the writer's point of view. Some lead in
to a counter assertion or counter argument that is…


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