Role of English
How to Solve It
|Arguments, Beliefs, Claims, Analysis & Criticism
We should all learn to demonstrate:
Examples of claims include:
premise - all birds have feathers;
rationale: (because) the sparrow has feathers;
thesis (therefore) the sparrow is a bird.
The premises provide support for the conclusion. In other words, the conclusion is assumed or proposed to be true on the basis of the premises.
Arguments are used to change an opinion or move an audience to action. Arguments are not simply to describe, explain or compare a subject. Arguments are part of the process of critical reasoning and thinking.
A Deductive Argument is an argument in which the conclusion is supposed to follow from the premises in such a way that it would be difficult to state the premises and deny the truth of the conclusion.
Premise - All philosophers are wise.
Premise - Socrates is a philosopher.
Conclusion - Therefore: Socrates is wise.
An Inductive Argument is an argument in which the truth of the premises is supposed to make the conclusion probable; an argument in which a general conclusion (i.e. one applying to ALL instances) is derived from a premise or premises concerning one or many instances (but not ALL instances).
Premise - ‘This swan is white, and that one, and that one and…
Conclusion - Therefore, all swans are white’
Even if the premises are true, the conclusion can still be false.
Skills needed to learn critical thinking are how to recognize an argument and recognize and assess the logic of an argument.
You should learn how to practice negative criticism which is not "bad" but is used to explain that some part of an argument is mistaken or not true.
Equally important is practicing positive criticism which is not simply to agree but instead, to reinforce some part of an argument that is weak.
Finally, you must think ahead so you can anticipate objections which are likely to be raised & to build a defense against them, something called a counter argument. You must also understand the difference between a theme (or topic) and thesis (or main belief).
Bias or Prejudice
If we have a bias (a personal prejiduce or viewpoint) we should try to be aware of it when we attempt to think critically. A bias is when you are influenced by assuming something that may or may not be true, or when you have a prejudice or discriminate against someone or something without any basis in fact or direct knowledge. A bias is anything which can distort the true nature of an event or observation.
Thought as a process:
"When we try to communicate, it is often easy to see if someone ELSE has an assumption about or bias toward some idea, but it is very difficult for the observer to discover or be aware of his or her own assumptions or biases. If thought is a process, then it requires attention. A software program may have "bugs" or mistakes and flaws written into it, therefore when these "bugs" are discovered, they require careful attention to rewrite them so as to attempt to eliminate the flaws; so it is the same with communication. We must be constantly alert to the "bugs" in our own thoughts as well as those of the people with whom we try to communicate."
"We haven't really paid much attention to thought as a process. We have ENGAGED in thoughts, but we have only paid attention to the content, not to the process. Why does thought require attention? Everything requires attention, really. If we ran machines without paying attention to them, they would break down. Our thought, too, is a process, and it requires attention, otherwise it's going to go wrong ."
"On Dialogue" by David Bohm,
There is no simple way to reduce our biases but we can begin to do so by being aware of them; by being humble in our attitudes to others; by questioning personal judgments within ourselves; by noting ethnic, class, religious or social differences or myths and by recalling previous beliefs that we once held strongly but now reject.
For example: the infallibility of your parents when you were a young child.
Critical thinking may not be separated from emotions, desires, and traits (a feature or characteristic) of mind. However, we should be aware of the differences between thinking, feeling, wanting, and our minds can easily be deceived by unethical thought.
We must learn to develop experience in identifying our ignorance in a wide variety of subjects (ignorance whose admission leads one to say, "I thought I knew, but I merely believed"). We become less biased and more broad-minded when we become more intellectually empathic and humble, and that takes practice and commitment.
To develop our critical thinking abilities, we should learn to wait before we make a judgment; that is, we should not jump to an immediate conclusion (snap judgement) while we try to apply critical thinking to an issue.
What is it?
Arguments & Claims
Modeling & Questions
*6 Basic Mistakes
*7 Rules Thinking Skills
*Knowledge for Business