Critical thinking evaluating claims and arguments in everyday life

James T. Kirk in one episode, noted that:.

Informal logic: Analysis and construction of arguments

Aristotle is, indeed, the world's first great logician, but the famous thinker is remembered today primarily as a great Greek philosopher. Go back far enough, and it's clear that you can't separate philosophy and logic; you can't have one without the other. Philosophy is based on the idea that you need to think clearly to grapple with the major and minor questions of the universe; logic is the way to accomplish that Herculean task.

Share Flipboard Email. Austin Cline, a former regional director for the Council for Secular Humanism, writes and lectures extensively about atheism and agnosticism. Philosophy is based on reasoning, and logic is the study of what makes a sound argument, and also of the kind of mistakes we can make in reasoning. So study logic and you will become a better philosopher and a clearer thinker generally. Logic is the study of the forms of reasoning in arguments and the development of standards and criteria to evaluate arguments.

Inductive arguments , by contrast, can have different degrees of logical strength: the stronger or more cogent the argument, the greater the probability that the conclusion is true, the weaker the argument, the lesser that probability. The Latin root arguere to make bright, enlighten, make known, prove, etc. Informal arguments as studied in informal logic , are presented in ordinary language and are intended for everyday discourse.

Conversely, formal arguments are studied in formal logic historically called symbolic logic , more commonly referred to as mathematical logic today and are expressed in a formal language. Informal logic may be said to emphasize the study of argumentation , whereas formal logic emphasizes implication and inference. Informal arguments are sometimes implicit. That is, the rational structure — the relationship of claims, premises, warrants, relations of implication, and conclusion — is not always spelled out and immediately visible and must sometimes be made explicit by analysis.

There are several kinds of arguments in logic, the best-known of which are "deductive" and "inductive. Each premise and the conclusion are truth bearers or "truth-candidates", each capable of being either true or false but not both. These truth values bear on the terminology used with arguments. A deductive argument is one that, if valid, has a conclusion that is entailed by its premises.

In other words, the truth of the conclusion is a logical consequence of the premises—if the premises are true, then the conclusion must be true. It would be self-contradictory to assert the premises and deny the conclusion, because the negation of the conclusion is contradictory to the truth of the premises.

3. What Is Logic?

Deductive arguments may be either valid or invalid. If an argument is valid, it is a valid deduction, and if its premises are true, the conclusion must be true: a valid argument cannot have true premises and a false conclusion.


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An argument is formally valid if and only if the denial of the conclusion is incompatible with accepting all the premises. The validity of an argument depends, however, not on the actual truth or falsity of its premises and conclusion, but solely on whether or not the argument has a valid logical form. The validity of an argument is not a guarantee of the truth of its conclusion.

Under a given interpretation, a valid argument may have false premises that render it inconclusive: the conclusion of a valid argument with one or more false premises may be either true or false. Logic seeks to discover the valid forms, the forms that make arguments valid. A form of argument is valid if and only if the conclusion is true under all interpretations of that argument in which the premises are true. Since the validity of an argument depends solely on its form, an argument can be shown to be invalid by showing that its form is invalid. This can be done by giving a counter example of the same form of argument with premises that are true under a given interpretation, but a conclusion that is false under that interpretation.

In informal logic this is called a counter argument. The form of argument can be shown by the use of symbols.

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Critical Thinking by Brooke Noel Moore

For each argument form, there is a corresponding statement form, called a corresponding conditional , and an argument form is valid if and only if its corresponding conditional is a logical truth. A statement form which is logically true is also said to be a valid statement form. A statement form is a logical truth if it is true under all interpretations. A statement form can be shown to be a logical truth by either a showing that it is a tautology or b by means of a proof procedure.

The corresponding conditional of a valid argument is a necessary truth true in all possible worlds and so the conclusion necessarily follows from the premises, or follows of logical necessity. The conclusion of a valid argument is not necessarily true, it depends on whether the premises are true.

If the conclusion, itself, just so happens to be a necessary truth, it is so without regard to the premises. In the above second to last case Some men are hawkers See also, existential import. The forms of argument that render deductions valid are well-established, however some invalid arguments can also be persuasive depending on their construction inductive arguments , for example.

See also, formal fallacy and informal fallacy. Non-deductive logic is reasoning using arguments in which the premises support the conclusion but do not entail it. Forms of non-deductive logic include the statistical syllogism , which argues from generalizations true for the most part, and induction , a form of reasoning that makes generalizations based on individual instances.

An inductive argument is said to be cogent if and only if the truth of the argument's premises would render the truth of the conclusion probable i. Cogency can be considered inductive logic 's analogue to deductive logic 's " soundness. The lack of deductive validity is known as the problem of induction. In modern argumentation theories, arguments are regarded as defeasible passages from premises to a conclusion. Defeasibility means that when additional information new evidence or contrary arguments is provided, the premises may be no longer lead to the conclusion non-monotonic reasoning. This type of reasoning is referred to as defeasible reasoning.

For instance we consider the famous Tweedy example:. This argument is reasonable and the premises support the conclusion unless additional information indicating that the case is an exception comes in.

Learning to Analyze and Critically Evaluate Ideas, Arguments, and Points of View

If Tweety is a penguin, the inference is no longer justified by the premise. Defeasible arguments are based on generalizations that hold only in the majority of cases, but are subject to exceptions and defaults.

Critical thinking creates "new possibilities for the development of the nursing knowledge. Nurses can also engage their critical thinking skills through the Socratic method of dialogue and reflection. This practice standard is even part of some regulatory organizations such as the College of Nurses of Ontario — Professional Standards for Continuing Competencies Critical thinking is also considered important for human rights education for toleration.

The Declaration of Principles on Tolerance adopted by UNESCO in affirms that "education for tolerance could aim at countering factors that lead to fear and exclusion of others, and could help young people to develop capacities for independent judgement, critical thinking and ethical reasoning.

Critical thinking is used as a way of deciding whether a claim is true, partially true, or false. It is a tool by which one can come about reasoned conclusions based on a reasoned process. The advent and rising popularity of online courses has prompted some to ask if computer-mediated communication CMC promotes, hinders, or has no effect on the amount and quality of critical thinking in a course relative to face-to-face communication. There is some evidence to suggest a fourth, more nuanced possibility: that CMC may promote some aspects of critical thinking but hinder others.

For example, Guiller et al. Newman et al. They found that while CMC boasted more important statements and linking of ideas, it lacked novelty. The authors suggest that this may be due to difficulties participating in a brainstorming-style activity in an asynchronous environment. Researchers assessing critical thinking in online discussion forums often employ a technique called Content Analysis, [47] [46] where the text of online discourse or the transcription of face-to-face discourse is systematically coded for different kinds of statements relating to critical thinking.

Searching for evidence of critical thinking in discourse has roots in a definition of critical thinking put forth by Kuhn , [48] which emphasizes the social nature of discussion and knowledge construction. There is limited research on the role of social experience in critical thinking development, but there is some evidence to suggest it is an important factor. For example, research has shown that 3- to 4-year-old children can discern, to some extent, the differential creditability [49] and expertise [50] of individuals.

Further evidence for the impact of social experience on the development of critical thinking skills comes from work that found that 6- to 7-year-olds from China have similar levels of skepticism to and year-olds in the United States.


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  5. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The analysis of facts to form a judgment.

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