Critical Thinking

revision for Unit 1 critical thinking

Understanding the meaning of the key terms:argument, conclusion and reason.

Identifying simple arguments,reasons,conclusions argument indicators and understanding importance of Critical Thinking.

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Argument Indicators

A word or short phrase that helps the reader to identify the elements of an argument.

Somtimes conclusion indicators have uses other than showing what follows as a conclusion. ( make sure you check what is the conclusion)

Examples of indicators,

Indicating a reason; because, as, since, due to, such as.

Indicating a conclusion, therfore, so, thus, it follows that, consequently, should, ought.

Using argument indicators,

The becasue test- insert 'because' to check for reasons.

Rhe therefore test- insert 'therfore' to check for the conclusion.

If you have used these words correctly then the text should still make sense.

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Counter-argument and counter-assertion

Counter-argument; an aditional argument that is againts or counter to, what the conclusion seeks to establish. The writer normally presents the counter argument in order to dismiss it.

Counter-assertion; if the writer presents a reason that would support an opponents argument, rather than a counter argument, the the writer is making a counter assertion or claim.

By advancing a counter-argument, the writer also creates the impression that the issue has been concidered in a balanced way because an opposing view has been taken into account.

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Hypothetical reasoning

Claim; a statment or judgement that can be challanged.

Hypothetical claim; a claim in the form 'if this...then that...' hypothetical claim indicator words and phrases include: if, provided that, on condition that, given then...then...

Tends to be in the form of a prediction.

hypothetical reasoning; this looks at the consquences that might occur of somthing were the case.

hypothetical reasoning uses a hypothetical claim as a reason to support a conclusion.

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This is a missing reason in an argument. The writer accepts the assumption, but has not started it. the assumption is essential for the conclusion to be drawn.

Checking assumptions: the 'reverse' test

A stratergy for checking wheather an assumption is needed by an argument, by asking yourself if the argument would work with the assumption reversed.

This means working out the exact opposite of the assumption you have formulated and seeing how that relates to the argument.

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evaluating evidence

Problems with evidence based on surveys and sampling,

In using evidence to support an argument, many writers interpret, or use selectivly, the outcomes of research or surveys. Sometimes the methods used to carry out the research itself are flawed.

Personal observation and statments form sources or witnesses...

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.Evaluating the argument

This means, 'Does the reason support the conclusion?'

Is the reason relavent to the conclusion?

if the reason is relavent, does it make a difference to the conclsion?

would other evidence (not in the argument) make a difference to the conclusion?

so concider is it; relavent, reliable, representative, are the finidingsof any reasearch ambiguous, could the evidence be interpreted differently?

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Assessing the reasonableness of assumptions

in the examination you may be asked to assess the reasonableness of an asumption you have identified in an argument.

remember when you analyse an argument (that is when you break it down into reasons, conclusions, evidence, and other elements) you should follow these steps.

always identify the conclusion first.

then look at reasons, which may be supported by evidence like statistics or examples.

the meaning of any unfamiliar technical words can probably be guessed from the context and will not prevent you analysing the argument.

you must pay attention to the small words- some, all, only, always, never.

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