Critical thinking 2

  • Created by: Ellie48
  • Created on: 07-12-17 20:38


A principle is a general, rule-like statement which applies beyond the immediate circumstances/context of an argument and acts as a guide to action.A principle could be a reason, conclusion or an assumption. 

Principles can be identified by their nature as general guides to action - they are often moral guidelines. eg "we should treat all people with equality". They could be everyday recommendations eg "companies should be run as effecientely as possible." 

Indicatior words

- offent expressed using "should..." (be careful because many specific conclusions also use the word should."

- it is wrong/right to...

-it is fair/unfail to ...

- everybody has the right to ... 

Identifying principles 

- check it is a general statement which acts as a guide to action - check it applies to lost of situations 

- look for indicatior words. 

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confusions concerning cause and effect

- many arguments rest on the assumption that if two factors are found to occus a the same time or increase at the same rate (correlation), one has caused the other. 

- many other factors could have changed during the period

-often there is no evidence that the two factors specifically relate

- correlation = cause confusion - this is called 'false cause'

- a varitation is when it is assumed that one factor has caused the other and it could be the other way around. 

- oversimplifying causal relationships are common errors 

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circular argument

- also known as begging the question 

- arguments at first could appear to be useful new information but the line of reasoning only reads back to the beginning of the argument so the case is not made convincingly

- the evidence is not supported by any independed source that can be investigated 

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Post hoc

-'after this'

- it refers so the assumption 'what happened after this must have happened because of this'

- refers to single incidents rather than a pattern of events.

- the two things are often unrelated 

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confusion of necessary and sufficient conditions

- a necessary condition is vital for something to happen

- a sufficient conditions guarantees that the next step must follow 

eg a candidate for a job has all the necessary qualifications to recieve the position. She should therefore get the job - BUT having all the necessary qualifications may not be sufficeint due to other factors such as competition 

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restricting the options

- presents listeners or readers with a choice between a limited number of actions, normally two,

- this is usually done to persuade them to opt for the least undesirable, when is fact there are otherm nire desirable, possibilites that the arguered has either chosen to not present or not even thought of 

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sweeping/hasty generalisation

- this is a universal claim that may not be true for all examples yet the writer has used it as if it is in their argument. 

eg people without A-levels will be rejected from universities.

this is not the case for those with alternative qualifications. 

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unrelated conclusion

- involves arguing from one thing to another without cogency

- eg the arguer presents fairly persuasive evidence that seems to support a particular conclsion but then moves of in a different direction without making a convincing link - as a result the final conclusion does not follow the initial reasons given. 

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ad hominem

- this technique involves criticising some feature of an opponent so that someone dismisses his or her argument without giving it serious consideration. 

- the flaw criticised often has no relevance to a person's expertice about a specific situation.

- this is trying to discredic an opponent by raising feelings againts him/her without having to think of convincing counter arguments. 

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straw person

- arguer finds some minor weakness in the opponent's suggestion eg a small exceptional group for which a proposed scheme would not work for. 

- this trivial negative aspect is exaggerated, taking the focus away from the many strenghts of the opponent's argument.

- this is done so that the whole argument can be 'blown away' as easily as it if were a flimsy man build out of straw. 

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slippery slope

- chain of arguments that starts with a moderate claim and predicts a series of events leading to an alarming outcime.

- works by arousing so much fear that the reader fails to question whether each event will inevitably lead to the next.

- a slippery slope argument often jumps to the next hasty point without really considering the optios 

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tu quoque 'you too'

- involves deflecting what might be sound criticism by accusing the critic of being guilty of the same or a similar fault.

- a variation is to point out that other people have also commited the act, so it cannot be wrong

- thsi is illogical because 'two wrongs don't make a right." 

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Appeal to emotion

- works by reffering to things that make us feel very emotional, and attempts to persude the audience to support the conclusion because they feel strongly about it rather than by using good reasons. 

-an appeal to emotion may arouse fear within a reader to try and persuade them to accept a conclusion. 

- advertisements may appeals to people's emotive want to look attractive.

- charity often appeals to emotion through envoking our pity using loaded language 

- distract from flaws in an argument 

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appeal to tradition

- an appeal to tradition involves taking the viewpoint that because something has been done in a certain way regularly in the past it should be done the same way, because the old ways have been successful

- unless there is clear evidence that the approach of the past actually was the best, and will continue to be so, this is an appeal to nostalgia 

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appeal to history

- this involves predicting furutre events on the basis of what has happened in the past.

- exactly the same situation never recurs.

eg it might have been unwise for Chamberlain to appease Hitler rather than opposing him from the start, but that does not necessarily mean it would be wise for subsequent national leaders  to take a forceful approach to every dictator. 

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appeal to authority

- an arguer may claim that some authority figure suports the conclusion being proprosed instead of providing another source of evidence. 

- this could add to credibility is the person is from a relevant field, but they often are not. 

- an appeal might provide inadequate support if other experts held a different view of if the authority figure had a bias or vested interest.

- if an arguer fails to name an authority figure and simply refers to "experts" then there is no way to validate the legitamcy of their expertice - decreases credibility 

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appeal to popularity

- appeals to popularity acknowlasges that we may be swayed to belive a claim if told that it is a majority belief - but this is not sufficient to prove that it is the truth

- members of the general public rely on on experts or the media for most of their information - both of these can be mislead.

- history is full of widely erroneous beliefs showing that just because many people believe something it is not necessarily right.

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evaluating an analogy

1 - identify precisely the situations being compared

2- identify the conclusion supported by the analogy

3- consider sigificant similaries between the situations 

4- consider significant differences between the situations

5- evaluate whether the difference outweight the similarites. 

6- decide whether the analogy helps support the conclusion. 

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evaluating a principle

- does the principle apply to the situation in question?

- in what other situations does the principle apply?

- are there any situations where the principle does not apple?

- does this principle support the author's conclusion 

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