Critical Thinking – WK1D

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·      Selecttwooftherulesthateitheryouoroneofyourassociateshavebrokeninthepast.

·      Illustrateanexampleofanincorrectandacorrectuseofeachofthesetworules.

·      Discusswhytherulesareimportantinformulatingstrongarguments.

TheNatureofArgument

Rule 1 –Identifypremises&conclusion: Theveryfirststepinmakinganargumentistoaskyourselfwhatyouareconclusion?Rememberthattheconclusiontryingtoprove. Whatisyouristhestatementforwhichyouaregivingreasons.Thestatementsthatgiveyourreasonsareyourpremises.

Rule 2 –Developyourideasinanaturalorder: Shortargumentsareusuallydevelopedinoneortwoparagraphs. Putthe

conclusionfirst,followedbyanddrawtheconclusionattheend. Inanycase,setoutyourideasinanorderthatunfoldsyourlineofthoughtmostclearlyforthereader.

Rule 3 – Startfromreliablepremises: Nomatterhowwellyouarguefrompremisestoconclusion,yourconclusionwillbeweakifyourifyourpremisesareweak.

Rule 4 –Beconcreteandconcise: Avoidabstract,vague,andgeneralterms. “Wehikedforhoursinthesun”

isahundredtimesbetterthan“Itwasanextendedperiodoflaboriousexertion.”Beconcisetoo. Airyelaborationjustloseseveryoneinafogofwords.

Rule 5 –BuildonSubstancenotOvertone: Offeractualreasons;don’tjustplayontheovertonesofwords.

Rule 6 – Useconsistentterms: Shortargumentsnormallyhaveasinglethemeorthread. Theycarryoneideathroughseveralsteps. Thereforecouchthatideainclearandcare- fullychosenterms,andmarkeachnewstepbyusingthoseverysametermsagain.

LearningResources

·      Kirby,G.,&Goodpaster,J. (2007). Thinking (4th ed.). UpperSaddleRiver,NJ: PearsonEducation,Inc.

·      Weston,A. (2009). Arulebookforarguments (4thed.). Indianapolis,IN: HackettPublishingCompany.