Thought and Knowledge: An Introduction to Critical Thinking

By Diane F. Halpern | Go to book overview
acceptable are the premises, how much support do they provide for the conclusion, and which and how many components are missing? At a minimum, you should be able to apply the three criteria for sound arguments to any set of statements. Unlike most of the other chapters, the skills involved in analyzing arguments are ordered, with less emphasis on selecting the correct skill than on the systematic application of the entire set.It is almost as important to be able to say why an argument is unsound as it is to be able to identify unsound arguments. You should be able to recognize the 21 fallacies presented in this chapter and explain how each of them violates one of the principles of sound arguments.The following skills for analyzing arguments were presented in this chapter. If you are unsure about how to use any of these skills, be sure to reread the section in which it is discussed.
Identifying arguments.
Diagramming the structure of an argument.
Evaluating premises for their acceptability.
Examining the credibility of an information source.
Determining the consistency, relevance to the conclusion, and adequacy in the way premises support a conclusion.
Remembering to consider missing components by assuming a different perspective.
Assessing the overall strength of an argument.
Recognizing, labeling, and explaining what is wrong with each of the 21 fallacies that was presented.
Recognizing differences among opinion, reasoned judgment, and fact. Understanding how visual arguments can be effective.
Judging your own arguments for their strength.
4. Have you reached your goal? This is a particularly important question in analyzing arguments because one of the steps involves considering components that are not there. Have you consciously tried to restructure the argument using an opposite perspective? Are you able to make an overall judgment about the strength of the argument? Have you arrived at a sound conclusion? It is important to review the way in which you weighted the supporting premises. Often a decision to weigh a premise as either weak or moderate will have very different effects on your overall assessment of the strength of the argument.
CHAPTER SUMMARY
1. An argument is an attempt to convince the reader (or listener) that a particular conclusion is true based on the reasons presented.
2. All arguments must have at least one conclusion and one premise (reason). Arguments may also have assumptions, qualifiers, and counterarguments.
3. Arguments have structures that can be identified and diagrammed.
4. Sound (good) arguments meet three criteria: The premises are acceptable and consistent, the premises provide support for the conclusion by being relevant to the conclusion and sufficiently strong, and missing components of the argument (e.g., assumptions, counterarguments, qualifiers, premises and rival conclusions) have been considered.

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Thought and Knowledge: An Introduction to Critical Thinking
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Acknowledgments for the First Edition xiii
  • 1 - Thinking: an Introduction 1
  • Chapter Summary 32
  • 2 - Memory: The Acquisition Retention, and Retrieval of Knowledge 36
  • Chapter Summary 70
  • 3 - The Relationship Between Thought and Language 75
  • Chapter Summary 115
  • 4 - Reasoning: Drawing Deductively Valid Conclusions 118
  • Chapter Summary 162
  • 5 - Analyzing Arguments 167
  • Chapter Summary 207
  • 6 - Thinking as Hypothesis Testing 212
  • Chapter Summary 237
  • 7 - Likelihood and Uncertainty: Understanding Probabilities 241
  • Chapter Summary 277
  • 8 - Decision Making 281
  • Chapter Summary 313
  • 9 - Development of Problem-Solving Skills 317
  • Chapter Summary 360
  • 10 - Creativethinking 364
  • Chapter Summary 389
  • 11 - The Last Word 393
  • References 395
  • Author Index 409
  • Subject Index 415
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