Critical Thinking across the Curriculum: A Brief Edition of Thought and Knowledge

By Diane F. Halpern | Go to book overview

5
Analyzing Arguments

Eat All Day and Still Lose Weight

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I hope that you weren't looking for a coupon for this marvelous weight loss product. The preceding paragraph was taken verbatim from a full-page advertisement in a popular fashion magazine. The only change that I made was to omit the name of this "miracle" diet. The name has a chemical sound to it. It's multisyllabic and ends with a number. The name sounds like a chemical formula. I had trouble selecting which advertisement I wanted to use here because there were so many that made numerous unsupported claims. Advertisements like this one can be found in most magazines and newspapers. I refer back to this advertisement later in this chapter when I talk about analyzing arguments and recognizing fallacies. Hold onto your money until you've read these sections.


THE ANATOMY OF AN ARGUMENT

Neither a closed mind nor an empty one is likely to produce much that would qualify as effective reasoning.

-- Nickerson ( 1986, p. 1)

-98-

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