Unit 1a - Language of Reasoning

Language of Reasoning

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  • Created by: Rhianne
  • Created on: 13-12-12 14:41

Argument Components

  • Argument - A set of reasons leading to a conclusion, intended to persuade you to accept the conclusion
  • Conclusion - The claim/statement that the writer wants to be accepted as correct/true
  • Reasons - A claim/statement that aims to persuade you to accept a conclusion
  • Opinions - Similar to the conclusion in an argument, but without reasons or evidence offered
  • Accounts - Descriptions of something that do not try to persuade you of anything
  • Explanations - Telll you why/how something has happened or why something is the case
    - No persuasion is involved 
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Reason Indicators

- Because
- As
- Since
- Due to
- Such as 

Conclusion Indicators

- Therefore
- So
- Thus
- It follows that
- Consequently
- Should
- Ought 

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Claims and Assumptions

  • Hypothetical Claim - Something will happen on the condition that something else happens
  • - e.g. If x then y
  • Assumption - An unstated claim/reason
    - Never written or spoken by the author of the argument
  • - A reason that the authour accepts
    - Necessary for the conclusion to follow
    Reason 1: The traffic is always heavy on Monday mornings
    (assumption) Your normal bus will be delayed in this heavy traffic
    Reason 2: It is important that you get to college on time
    (assumption) An earlier bus will have enough time to go to college in heavy traffic
    (assumption) An earlier bus will be on time
    Conclusion: You should catch an earlier bus than usual 
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  • Counter argument - An argument that opposes another argument
    - Can be included in an argument in order to dismiss that argument
  • Counter claims/assertions - Claims that are dismissed in an argument
    - The claims do not agree with the main conclusion
  • Counter example - An example that challenges the truth of a claim 
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  • Evidence - Factual claims   - Personal observations   - Estimates  
    - Statements from a source or witness  -Example  - Statistical or numerical data
    - Supports reasons     - Can root argument in the real world
  • Examples -One form of evidence
    - Give you a situation in which the reason holds as true
    - Support the argument by showing cases where the reasons hold as correct
    - Any example is not part of the reason 
    - Usually of three types:
    1. Illustrative list
    2. Developed case study or scenario
    3. Illustration of a general principle 
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Evaluating the Use of Evidence

Questions to ask:

  • How large is the sample size?
  • How representative is the sample? (in terms of age,gender, social class, ethnicity etc.)
  • What were the circumstances in which the evidence was collected?
  • What is the generalisability (recent and relevant)?
  • Is the evidence ambiguous?
  • Is it meaningful?
  • Is it reliable?
  • What alternative interpretations of the evidence is possible?
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Evaluating Examples

Questions to ask:
Are the examples
1. Typical
2. Representative
3. Moderate

They must also be precisely focused on supporting the reason/argument in the question 

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Reasons Supporting Conclusions

Evaluating how well reasons support a conclusion:

1. Identify the conclusion
2. Identify the reason(s)
3. Compare the words in the two parts to see whether the conclusion can be drawn totally from the reasoning. If it can, the reasons give strong support; if it cannot, there is weak support for the conclusion.
4. In the case of the reason giving weak support, try to identify the assumption needed for the conclusion to hold as true.

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