Critical Thinking key terms

Key Words for critical thinking AQA As level. Hope they help!

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  • Created by: Harriet
  • Created on: 17-05-11 17:50


Extent to which the evidence is reliable.

CRAVEN system can be used. What does Craven stand for?

Corroboration: someone supports the claim of someone else

Reputation: Belief about someone due to previous eperience

Ability to observe: how well you can see/hear what happened

Vested Interest: does somone gain personally if they support a paticular view?

Expertise: Specialist knowledge in paticular field, appeal to authority of expert witness

Neutrality: opposite of bias, neutral source is impartial

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Ad Hoc: ad hoc explanation is one that is employed to explain away 1 inconvenient truth & then is discarded, similar to 'shifting the goalposts'

Ad Hominem: Attacking arguer rather than addressing arguement

Arguement from ignorance: arguing something must be true if it cannot be proved false

Begging the Question: circular reasoning, conclusion usually reststating reasons

Cause Correlation Confusion: correlation doesn't necessarily prove causation, 2 things may be connected without 1 causing each other

False Dilemma: restriction of options, also known as false dichotomy

Tu quoque: means 'you too.' arguing two wrongs make a right

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More flaws

Sweeping Generalisation: unwilling to allow exceptions to general rule

Confusion of necessary & sufficient conditions: e.g necessary to buy lottery ticket to win lottery but buying a lottery ticket isn't sufficient to win

No True Scotsman: No true Scostman puts sugar in porridge, but my uncle Hamish is Scottish and does so, so conclusion would be Hamish isn't a true Scotsman, which is wrong

Slippery Slope: arguement where there's a chain of reasoning, argued 1 step will set off chain reaction, fallacicious when original event isn't properly linked to last & jump is too extreme

Straw Man: opponent's arguement is distorted & arguer attacks distorted version rather than real case

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Irrelevant appeals to...

Popularity: something must be true because majority believe it

Pity: 'sob story'

Authority: nature of expertise = irrelevant to subject matter

Fear, Children, Wealth, Spite, Flattery

Consequences: e.g something must be good because something good happened

Modernity: it's good because it's the latest thing

Ignorance: must be true because it can't be proved false

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Number Words

Average: middle position in a set of data, median can be more accurate than mean because it is not skewed by extremes

Per capita: per head, useful for identifying rate at which something happens

Probability: likelihood of something happening

Ratio: relation between 2 amounts showing proportion of each item

Percentage: when statistic is shown as fraction out of 100

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Analogy: arguing because 2 things are similar, they should be treated in the same way

Assumption: something the authour must believe in, even if they haven't stated it

Ethical arguement: involves moral judgement

Hypothetical reasoning: if A then B style of reasoning

Inference: drawing a conclusion based on given reasons

Principles: general moral belief taken as rule for action

Relativism: belief that concepts of right and wrong, truth or falsehood are not absolute because there are different opinions and cultures

Validity: conclusion must be true if the reasons are true

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