Critical Thinking Unit 1 Key Words

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Ambiguous
A statement or word is ambiguous if it can mean more than one thing, and it's not clear which is meant or intended.
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Ad hominem
When an argument tries to get you to dismiss a counter-argument or accept a conclusion based on the goo or bad qualities of the person arguing, rather than their argument.
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Ability to see or perceive
How well someone was able to witness an event or how much access they have to all the facts of an argument. One of the credibility criteria.
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Appeal to authority
Part of an argument that refers to the opinion of an expert or someone in charge to justify a conclusion.
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Appeal
Part of an argument that tries to persuade you that a conclusion is true without using rational reasons.
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Analogy
A comparison that tries to persuade you that if you accept a claim about one of the things being compared, you must also accept the same claim about the other thing being compared.
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Appeal to popularity
Part of an argument that tries to persuade you that a conclusion is true because a lot of people believe it is.
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Appeal to history
Part of an argument which tries to convince you that because something's happened a certain way in the past, it'll also happen that way in the future.
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Appeal to emotion
Part of an argument that tries to persuade you that a conclusion is true by making you feel a certain way.
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Argument indicator
A word that shows that a reason or conclusion might be coming up e.g. therefore, because etc.
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Argument
A speech or piece of writing that tries to convince you to accept a conclusion. An argument must have at least one reason, and only one main conclusion.
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Appeal to tradition
Part of an argument which tries to persuade you that just because something was done a certain way in the past, that's the way it should be done now.
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Assertion
A conclusion that is not supported by any reasons.
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Assess
When you assess something, you have to discuss one side, discuss the other side and then draw a conclusion. E.g. credibility; pro's, con's and overall credibility.
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Circular argument
An argument where the conclusion repeats one of the reasons.
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Coherent
A coherent argument makes sense- it is consistent and is not illogical or confusing.
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Assumption and Unwarranted assumption
An unstated reason that is needed for the argument to work. An assumption that is at best questionable and at worst false.
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Claim
A statement that it is possible to question or disagree with.
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Conclusion
The suggestion, idea, belief or theory that the argument is trying to persuade you to accept. The conclusion is often referred to as the main conclusion.
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Begging the question
If an argument is begging the question you have to accept the conclusion before you can accept the reasons.
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Common notation
Using letters to stand for the different elements of an argument so you can see it's structure more clearly e.g. R=reason and C=conclusion.
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Confusing cause and effect
When and argument reverses a cause and its effect, saying that the effect brought on the cause.
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Bias
An irrational preference for a particular side of an argument. One of the credibility criteria.
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Conflation
A type of flaw where two words or concepts are used as if they mean the same thing when they actually have different meanings.
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Counter argument
Part of an argument that disagrees with the main conclusion. They always have a conclusion and at least one reason.
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Consistent/ consistency
Accounts are consistent if it is possible for all their claims to be true at the same time. One of the credibility criteria.
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Counter assertion
A statement that goes against the conclusion of an argument. They are not supported by reasons.
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Evaluate
If you are asked to evaluate something, you need to look at its strengths and weaknesses and decide its overall effectiveness.
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Contradict
Statements contradict each other if they say exactly opposite things.
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CRAVEN
Credibility criteria; Consistency/Corroboration, Reputation, Ability to perceive, Vested interest/bias, Experience, Neutrality.
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Evidence
Information that is used to support reasons e.g. facts, figures, quotes or personal observations.
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Converse
A statement that reverses the two events in a statement of hypothetical reasoning e.g. the converse of "if it is a square then it has four sides" is "if it has four sides then it is a square".
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False clause (Post Hoc)
When an argument claims that event A caused event B, but actually event A just happened before event B.
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False dichotomy (Restricting the options)
When an argument tries to present its conclusion as the best option by only discussing a limited range of options.
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Corroboration
When the two sources or claims agree with each other. One of the credibility criteria.
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Flaw
A mistake in the reasoning used to link an arguments reasons to its conclusion. Flaws weaken arguments.
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Straw man
When an argument misrepresents or distorts a counter-argument to make it easier to dismiss.
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Hypothetical reasoning
A claim that if one thing happens, then something else will happen as a result.
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Reason
Part of an argument that aims to persuade you that the conclusion is true. An argument must have at least one reason, but most have more.
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Vested interest
Someone has a vested interest if they gain something from supporting a particular side of an argument, or lose something if they don't.
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Intermediate conclusion
A conclusion made on the way to the main conclusion. It is supported by reasons, but it also acts as a reason for supporting the main conclusion.
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Tu quoque
When an argument defends an action by saying that the same action has also been done by other people e.g. it's okay to drive faster than the speed limit because everyone does- two wrongs do not make a right.
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Reason indicators
Are words often used to indicate a reason; because, since, as, due to etc.
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Opposite test
A test used to work out whether an assumption is necessary to make an argument work.
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Refute
Refuting a claim means giving reasons to prove that it is wrong.
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Conclusion indicators
Words to indicate a conclusion; therefore, thus, so, consequently, which is why etc.
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Plausibility
How reasonable a claim is or how likely the outcome is.
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Repudiate
Repudiating a claim means saying that it's wrong without giving any reasons why.
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Fallacy
A mistaken form of argument. A faulty piece or reasoning in which the conclusion does not follow from the supporting reasons.
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Ad hoc
A response somethings made to evidence that us a counter example to a generalization or that seems to falsify a theory. An attempt is made to rescue a hypothesis from being dis-proven by adding another bolt-on explanation for the troublesome evidence
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Correlation
A measured statistical relationship between phenomenon, which shows that these phenomenon are vonnected in some way rather than being a coincidence.
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Hypothesis
The term is used specifically within scientific language to describe a proposition that is being put forward to explain something and that must be tested.
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Average
A statistical term often quoted in arguments and explanations, but one that can be misleading. Mean, median and mode are different kinds of average, and in some sets of data their calculation produces different results.
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Devils advocate
A role adopted by someone who wishes to provoke a debate, in which he or she consciously puts forward an extreme or over-simplified view for the sake of the argument, to see what response they get.
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Non-sequitur
A Latin phrase which refers to something which does not follow from something else in a logical sense- a piece of reasoning is not valid or an argument contains fallacy.
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Burden of proof
In deciding whether someone is guilty of a crime, English law requires it to be shown that he is guilty beyond reasonable doubt. The burden of proof lies with the Crown, not the defence lawyer.
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Empirical
Factual, related to and based upon observations and experience. Knowledge gained this way is different to that arrived at by process of pure thought alone, as in mathematics.
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Paradox
A seemingly contradictory or absurd statement or an argument that reaches such a conclusion.
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Conjecture
An attempted conclusion or generalisation that is recognised as being incomplete. Used as a verb, this means the act of inferring such a conclusion or generalization- a plausible account worth considering.
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Emotive language
Words and phrases used in such a way as to create a desired emotional response in someone in order to get them to accept a conclusion being put forward.
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Validity
The logical quality in a piece of reasoning in which the conclusion follows from the reasons offered.
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Red herring
An irrelevant piece of information, question or line of enquiry the purpose of which, or at least the effect of which is to divert attention away from the path it has been taking.
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Argue from analogy
They are often used in arguments to make the point that if something applies in one situation then it applies, or should apply, in a comparable one.
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Necessary condition
That which needs to take place for something else to happen, without it, the other thing cannot occur.
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Representative
Whatever stands for something else. Examples are used to illustrate generalisations, and is this sense represent a more general truth.
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Clarifying
Giving words which have open meanings more focused, closed ones that fit the author's meaning as closely as possible as indicated by their line of argument.
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Premise
This is another word for a reason. This is the more technical term and is sometimes more precise, as it is normally used inlogic.
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Scepticism
An attitude of mind in which you do not accept everything that you are told at face value, but are questioning, even about your own beliefs, and remain alert to the possibility of doubt.
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Embedded argument
Where reasons for a new conclusion are presented somewhere within a text but the author has not given the argument directly, for example because they have reported or quoted from someone else's argument.
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Value judgement
A judgement is an opinion rather than a matter of fact.
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Slipper slope
Suggests that making one choice, or adopting one policy, must inevitably lead to another- often using emotive language.
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Factual in kind
A claim is factual in kind if its real true value is not just a matter of opinion, even if no-one knows for sure or there is a disagreement about what that truth is. 'There is no life on other planets' is factual in kind.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

When an argument tries to get you to dismiss a counter-argument or accept a conclusion based on the goo or bad qualities of the person arguing, rather than their argument.

Back

Ad hominem

Card 3

Front

How well someone was able to witness an event or how much access they have to all the facts of an argument. One of the credibility criteria.

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

Part of an argument that refers to the opinion of an expert or someone in charge to justify a conclusion.

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

Part of an argument that tries to persuade you that a conclusion is true without using rational reasons.

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
View more cards

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