Critical Thinking AS - Unit 2

Evaluating

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Evidence (1)

  • When asked about weaknesses in the use of evidence, you ned to explain why there is a problem with the way the author is using the evidence to support their reasoning
  • When asked about the strength in the use of evidence, you need to show that the evidence is precisely relevant to the reason or conclusion it is supporting, and that it does support that reason or conclusion
  • Example: The evidence that the average spend on a wedding is $20,000 might give some support to the reason that 'it is clear that things have got out of hand'. If the average spend is this much, then the people at the top extreme of the group must be spending huge amounts of money, and the total amount spent on weddings must be vast.
  • Questions to ask when considering whether evidence is relevant:
    • Does the evidence refer to one year, where this may not be representitive of a trend or a reliable guide to past or future?
    • If the evidence refers to an average, is this statistic being used (incorrectly) in a way which suggests it is representitive of the whole group?
    • Does it refer to the same group of people or subject as the reason it is meant to be supporting?
    • Does it refer to the same timescale as the reason?
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Evidence (2)

  • Questions to ask when considering whether the evidence is sufficient:
    • Do we need more information to draw the conclusion?
    • Is there an alternative conclusion that could also be supported by this evidence?
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Examples

  • When asked about the weakness of the use of an example, you ngged to explain why there is a problem with the way the author is using the example to support their reasoning
  • When asked about the strength in the use of an example, you need to explain how this particular example lends good support to the reasoning
  • Questions to ask when evaluating examples:
    • Is the example illustrating the argument or is it being used to support a general conclusion?
    • Is the example previsely the same as the situation being talked about?
    • Is the specific example typical or representitive of the group being talked about?
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Analogies

  • Steps to take when evaluating an analogy:
    • Identify precisely the situations being compared
    • Identify the conclusion being supported by the analogy
    • Consider significant similarities between the situations
    • Consider significant differences between the situations
    • Evaluate whether the differences outweigh the similarities
    • Decide whether the analogy helps support the conclusion
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Hypothetical reasoning

  • Questions to ask when evaluating hypothetical reasoning:
    • Is the condition likely? (the first part)
    • Does the consequence follow from the condition?
    • Does the hypothetical reasoning support the conclusion?
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Principles

  • Questions to ask when evaluating the use of a principle:
    • How generally does this principle apply?
      • Does the principle apply the situation in question?
      • In what other situations does the principle apply?
      • Are there any situations in which the principle doesn't apply?
    • Does this principle support the author's conclusion?
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