1. What is critical thinking?


Why is the importance of critical thinking?

For us humans, there is an importance in critical thinking because it aids us in making good decisions. Often we do not realise how irrational our decisions can be, and this is where critical thinking comes in. Critical thinking basically means thinking about our thinking. We make use of logic and reason to determine whether or not a claim is true, if the reasoning behind it is sound and if we can draw a correlation or connection. It is not necessarily about coming up with claim as much as evaluating the correctness of claims that have been made and try to form a proper conclusion.

To achieve this, we evaluate our thinking on the basis of rationality. When we understand how critical thinking works, we can use this knowledge to be critical in multiple subjects and situations in our daily lives. It is, however, important to understand that criticising other people’s claims and ideas does not mean that we want to attack other people, only that we are trying to find the logic in them. Also, criticising other people in not always a case of critical thinking. People can criticise in the most illogical and unreasonable ways, without considering whether or not their claims are true or their reasoning sound.

When we come to a conclusion at the end of a reasoning, we call that a belief. Beliefs are prepositional and can be either true or false. Beliefs can be compared to a judgement or an opinion. When a belief is stated in a declarative way, that is when we start calling it a claim or statement. Claims are things that we can think critically about.

What are important elements of critical thinking?

Within critical thinking, there are three important parts: claims, issues and arguments. These parts can be analysed once they have been determined in conversation or writing.

Claims

Claims are things that we write or declare, to bring across information. With claims we often deal with statements, opinions or beliefs. Claims can be true or false and can be about pretty much everything and anything. Of some claims, it is pretty clear whether they are true or not; for instance take someone telling you they have flown to space and walked across Saturn. You can be pretty sure that this is a lie. However, of some claims it is harder to instantly determine their truthfulness and thus we must think critically about them.

Claims can be objective or subjective. The truthfulness of an objective claim is independent from anything that other people think about it. For example, ‘I ate pie yesterday’ is an objective claim. It can be a lie, but whatever other people think of the claim does not change whether it is true or not. This can also be with things we don’t know. ‘God exists’ is an objective claim, because the existence of God is independent of what us humans think of it.

A subjective claim, however, is dependent of what we think of the matter. ‘This cocktail is way too sweet’ is a subjective claim, because it is what I think of something. Thus, objective claims are often also called factual claims because they state facts. This, however, does not mean that all objective claims are true.

Relativism is the idea that the ‘truth’ of things is related to culture and situations. If, in a certain culture or language, people relate to a stone as ‘water’ instead of H2O, then in that culture that stone is ‘water’. Moral subjectivism takes the stance that the moral judgement of something is completely subjective.

Cultural relativism combines these two and says that all moral and/or ethical systems, also those that differ depending on culture, are equally valid. None of these are more true or better than the other.

Issues

Issues are always questioning statements and mostly have to do with questions that wonder if a claim is true or not. That sounds complicated but is in reality relatively simple. An example of an issue is: ‘is James taller than Emma?’

Sometimes it can be hard what the statement hiding in an issue is. This can be because people use confusing or difficult terms to hide the true intention of their statement or question, and thus purposefully do not want to clarify. If you notice someone doing this, it might be smart to think critically about it.

It is important to keep in mind that people have different qualifying systems when it comes to determining whether something is true or not. If someone beliefs that the Bible is the word of God, then obviously ‘God’s will is represented in the Bible’ is a statement that is true to the person saying this. However, for someone who believes in the Quran or doesn’t have a religion, this statement is not necessarily true.

Arguments

An argument is a reasoning that is provided to prove or disprove a specific statement. A statement provided to prove (or falsify) a statement is what we call a premise. The statement that the premise is trying to prove is called the conclusion. An example of such a premise is: ‘Emma’s boyfriend is cheating on her with her best friend.’ The conclusion to this premise would be ‘Emma should break up with him.’

Whether or not an argument is actually good or valid depends on how much the premise actually supports the conclusion. This can only be if the premise is actually true and relevant to the conclusion. This makes sure that the premise increases the chance of the conclusion being true. One must also remember that even if it might seem that someone is giving an argument, they might not. An argument is not a summation of facts, but rather a statement to support a conclusion and that is how you can recognise it.

How do you distinguish between arguments, statements and beliefs?

It often happens that people confuse statements and persuasion techniques with arguments. It is important to remember that an argument consists of both a premise and a conclusion and never just one of these elements. When the only thing given is the cause for a phenomenon, it is a statement, not an argument. The important difference between an argument and a statement is that arguments are used to prove or support a conclusion, while a statement is used to describe the cause of an event.

Persuasion techniques are different from arguments. If you try to convince someone, you want him or her to take over your vision or viewpoint of a particular situation. Conviction, therefore, is different from logical reasoning and using arguments to do so. It is possible to use an argument when trying to convince someone, but not all arguments are useful or necessary for that. In addition, many persuasion attempts do not use arguments. One must remember that negative opinions and facts about a concept are not arguments either. It is often not even useful to use arguments to convince someone of something. For this reason, real arguments are rarely used in commercials to sell a product for instance.

What are cognitive biases?

The formation of a belief is always influenced by unconscious characteristics of human psychology, the so-called cognitive biases. These biases influence the way in which information is processed both consciously and sub-consciously. For example, we tend to evaluate an argument based on our own conviction of the truth of the subject, context, and previous experiences rather than logic. A few of these biases are:

  • Persuasive bias (aka belief bias): this is the tendency to judge a reasoning based on the credibility of the conclusion. The moment an illogical reasoning is followed by a credible conclusion we are more inclined to believe it than a logical reasoning with a conclusion that, to our prior knowledge, seems unbelievable.
  • Confirmation bias: this is the tendency to place more weight on evidence supporting our own ideas, rather than evidence that disproves or falsifies them. We ignore things that are not parallel to our beliefs and look for information that does match to them.
  • Heuristics: these are general rules that we use unconsciously use when estimating probabilities. An example is the availability heuristic. We tend to judge the likelihood that something will happen is based on information that is best available in memory. For example, you might think a plane crashes much more often than they actually do, simply because you have seen it on the news recently. The consequence is that the probability is often overestimated or underestimated. This probably also explains how easily the error of generalizing on the basis of an anecdote occurs. The availability heuristics is also related to the "false consensus effect". This involves the tendency to assume that our attitudes and the attitudes of our environment are shared by the larger society; if all our friends think that the alcohol limit should be lowered, we assume that the rest of the population will agree as well.
  • Bandwagon effect: this is the tendency to align one's own thinking with that of others. Research has shown that when we hear others say something positive or negative about something, it can change what we think we see or show, and that we are more likely to buy something if we think everyone else does.
  • Negativity bias: people are more sensitive to negative information than positive information and remember it faster. This bias also plays a role in loss aversion, where people are more focused on avoiding loss than gaining profit.
  • In-group bias: this is the tendency to perceive members who do not belong to their own group (aka the 'out-group') as different and wrong, and members of their own group (aka the 'in-group') as good and correct. We also tend to attribute the success of the in-group to hard work, and the failures to bad luck, but the failures of the out-group to personal failures and their successes to good luck.
  • Fundamental attribution error: this is the tendency to directly attribute behaviour to a person's personality, without regard to context and situation.
  • Obedience to authority: this is the tendency for people to blindly follow the assignments of the authority.
  • Boldness effect: this is self-deception. For example, if someone is asked to estimate the percentage of their own correct answers to a test, then the estimate is likely to be on the high side, and generally always above average.
    • Better-than-average illusion: the tendency of people to judge themselves better than the average in some areas, for example a characteristic.

Truth and knowledge

It is possible to express the same statement in different ways. "The book is on the table" is the same as "It is a fact that the book is on the table". Plenty of philosophers have thoughts about what true knowledge really means. We can say that the statement 'the book is on the table' is true if (1) you believe the book is on the table, (2) you can justify said belief and prove that the book is on the table and (3) you have no reason to believe you are wrong (for example because you have been drinking or if you are on drugs). Some philosophers think that certain knowledge does not exist and that we can never know for sure whether the things that we "perceive" actually exist in the same way in the world.

We use critical thinking when we examine the fundaments of the conclusions that are drawn. Critical thinking will therefore not tell you that you have to get that puppy you saw in the shelter or that there is or isn’t a problem in climate change, but it can help you to spot a faulty foundation or someone trying to cover up their errors.

Practice questions

  1. When do we think critically?
  2. What are the three core elements of critical thinking?
  3. What is meant by "cognitive bias"?
  4. What are heuristics?
  5. When do we say a claim is "true"?

Answers practice questions

  1. We think critically when we use our reasoning to come to conclusions.
  2. The three core elements of critical thinking are (1) assertions, (2) issues, and (3) arguments.
  3. "Cognitive bias" is a belief that is influenced by unconscious characteristics of human psychology.
  4. Heuristics are general rules that we use unconsciously when estimating probabilities.
  5. A claim is "true" when it is free from error.
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Critical thinking - English summary 12th edition

1. What is critical thinking?

1. What is critical thinking?


Why is the importance of critical thinking?

For us humans, there is an importance in critical thinking because it aids us in making good decisions. Often we do not realise how irrational our decisions can be, and this is where critical thinking comes in. Critical thinking basically means thinking about our thinking. We make use of logic and reason to determine whether or not a claim is true, if the reasoning behind it is sound and if we can draw a correlation or connection. It is not necessarily about coming up with claim as much as evaluating the correctness of claims that have been made and try to form a proper conclusion.

To achieve this, we evaluate our thinking on the basis of rationality. When we understand how critical thinking works, we can use this knowledge to be critical in multiple subjects and situations in our daily lives. It is, however, important to understand that criticising other people’s claims and ideas does not mean that we want to attack other people, only that we are trying to find the logic in them. Also, criticising other people in not always a case of critical thinking. People can criticise in the most illogical and unreasonable ways, without considering whether or not their claims are true or their reasoning sound.

When we come to a conclusion at the end of a reasoning, we call that a belief. Beliefs are prepositional and can be either true or false. Beliefs can be compared to a judgement or an opinion. When a belief is stated in a declarative way, that is when we start calling it a claim or statement. Claims are things that we can think critically about.

What are important elements of critical thinking?

Within critical thinking, there are three important parts: claims, issues and arguments. These parts can be analysed once they have been determined in conversation or writing.

Claims

Claims are things that we write or declare, to bring across information. With claims we often deal with statements, opinions or beliefs. Claims can be true or false and can be about pretty much everything and anything. Of some claims, it is pretty clear whether they are true or not; for instance take someone telling you they have flown to space and walked across Saturn. You can be pretty sure that this is a lie. However, of some claims it is harder to instantly determine their truthfulness and thus we

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2. What are two ways of reasoning?

2. What are two ways of reasoning?


What is an argument?

An argument is used to prove or support a statement. An argument always has two parts: a premise and a conclusion. If a statement does not consist of these two parts, it is not an argument. "God exists" is not an argument, and "God exists, and if you don't believe that then you will go to hell," neither. The latter is just a way to scare you, not an argument.

 "Something has had to create the universe, so God exists" is an argument. The premise supports the conclusion that is being drawn. A premise is aimed at providing reasons for accepting that conclusion.

How do the conclusion and the premise relate to each other?

The same statement can be the conclusion of one argument and the premise of another argument. An example:

  1. Premise: The brakes, engine and steering wheel of the car are broken.
  2. Conclusion 1: The car is no longer usable.
  3. Conclusion 2: We need to buy a new car.

The statement "The car is no longer usable" is the conclusion that follows premise 1, but it also forms the premise for the conclusion that a new car must be purchased. Claim 1 is therefore, in addition to a conclusion, also a premise for Claim 2.

What do we mean by unspoken premises?

It often happens that arguments contain unspoken premises or conclusions. An example of an unspoken premise:

1. You cannot borrow books without a library card.

2. Jan cannot borrow books from the library.

The unspoken premise here is that Jan does not have a library card. This explains the reason he cannot borrow books from the library.

In addition, conclusions can also be unspoken. An example: "The political party that is most seen as the voice of the people will win the elections. The labour party will therefore win the elections. " The unspoken conclusion here is that the labour party is seen as the voice of most people.

What are two types of arguments?

Good arguments can be both deductive and inductive.

Deductive arguments

Words

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3. How do you write a proper text?

3. How do you write a proper text?


What are the consequences of ‘vague’ language use?

Written documents are sometimes difficult to understand. This is often because vague language is used in the text. A term is called vague when it is not clear where the line is drawn in relation to the term. An example of such a term is "bald". There are people who do not have any hair at all, but also people who are half-bald because of hair loss, but they do still have some. In these cases, it’s not clear to what extent the term "bald" applies to them. Vague concepts often also appear in the judicial system. An example is that the word "torture" is not clearly defined in the law.

Sometimes politicians deliberately use vague terms just so they won’t have to answer difficult questions. The rule of thumb is that some degree of vagueness is acceptable, provided that it remains clear what the information or claim is about.

When can we speak of ambiguity?

Ambiguity exists when a word or sentence has more than one meaning and can therefore be interpreted in different ways. Three types of ambiguity are distinguished: (1) semantic, (2) group related, and (3) syntactic ambiguity.

1. Semantic ambiguity

Semantic ambiguity occurs when a word or sentence is used that is accompanied by ambiguity. An example is: "Jessica is cold". Does this mean that she is feeling cold or that she has a cold personality? You can prevent this ambiguity by replacing the words or phrases in question with a clearer description.

2. Group-related ambiguity ("grouping ambiguity")

Group-related ambiguity occurs when a word is used to talk about an entire group while it is not entirely true for all members of a group. An example: "Secretaries earn more than lawyers." This is true at group level, because there are more secretaries than lawyers in the world and thus, these secretaries earn more money. At the individual level, however, it is not correct. An average secretary does not earn more than a lawyer. There are two errors of thought based on this form of ambiguity.

  • Thinking error of division ("fallacy of division"). Someone makes a fallacy of division mistake if he or she thinks
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4. When is something deemed credible?

4. When is something deemed credible?


We can look at the credibility of a statement itself, but also at the credibility of the source from which a statement comes. It is important to know that credibility comes in gradations. Credibility is therefore not an all-or-nothing principle. Sources (often people) are not all equally credible. A person's credibility can also be reduced, for example when you hear that someone has a criminal record - or it can become larger because you hear that someone, for instance, has a master’s degree in neuropsychology.

In general, the following can be said about a claim; a statement can be considered as unbelievable when the content of the statement is in contrast with was we already know (background knowledge), or if the source of the statement has an interest in whether or not you believe the statement.

We therefore pay attention to these factors if we want to determine whether someone is credible. Unfortunately, we often base our judgment on characteristics that do not matter, such as age, gender, origin, accent, clothing and height. In fact, we should not base our judgment on someone's credibility on these factors. It is important to remember some rules of thumb when talking about credibility:

  • "Interested parties" are less credible than other sources
  • If both the claim itself and the source (where the claim comes from) are not credible, then the claim must be distrusted. It is therefore important to consider two things: (1) the content of a statement itself and (2) where the statement comes from (the source).
  • A statement is not very credible if it does not match our observations, our (background) knowledge and / or other credible statements.

How are observations influenced?

We distrust claims that do not match our observations. For example, if we have just seen Mr. X's red car and Mr. Y says that Mr. X has a blue car, then we don't think Mr. Y is very credible and thus in the future, we will not trust everything Mr. Y says either.

Our observations are influenced by all kinds of factors: fatigue, distraction, worries about another event and emotional problems. Our observations are also influenced by our personal interests and cognitive biases (discussed earlier in Chapter 1). There are also factors in the outside world that can influence our observations: the amount of light and the amount of sound around us as well

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5. How does persuasion work?

5. How does persuasion work?


What are "rhetorical devices"?

Words can have a lot of persuasiveness ("rhetorical force / emotive meaning"). They can evoke images, feelings and emotions in us. Good and persuasive speakers apply a number of techniques that appeal to and convince us through rhetoric.

Rhetoric is about the research into convincing writing. For example, we can write a piece in a variety of ways, and we can either make sure that Hamas members portrayed as freedom fighters or we portray them as terrorists. There is of course nothing wrong with someone trying to convince others of something. However, it is important to think critically and therefore to distinguish between arguments and rhetoric. Rhetoric should not add anything to the credibility of a statement, because rhetoric is not about substantive arguments. In rhetoric, rhetorical devices are often used. These are methods of persuasion that are sometimes used through rhetoric.

What types of rhetorical methods are there?

Rhetoric methods can be divided into different groups of methods. The first group usually consists of a few words or short sentences that are either positive or negative. These are also called "slanters". Examples are euphemisms, dysphemism and weaselers. The second group of methods is dependent on unlawful assumptions. Examples are stereotypes, innuendo and loaded questions. The third group consists of methods that deal with humour. Group 4 consists of methods that use definitions, explanations and analogies. Examples are rhetorical analogies and rhetorical definitions.

Rhetoric methods I

Euphemisms and dysphemism

A euphemism is used to express something as positive or neutral instead of negative. An example is that the owner of a store selling second-hand clothing is talking about "clothing with a history" instead of clothing that someone else has been walking around in many times. A dysphemism is the opposite of a euphemism. A dysphemism is therefore used to evoke a negative feeling in someone. "Freedom fighter" is a euphemism, while terms such as "rebel" and "terrorist" are dysphemisms.

Weaselers

A "weaseler" is a linguistic method with which you can cover up a problem or subject. For example, it is used by adding it to a statement and it ensures that the claim cannot be criticized.

An example is a commercial about chewing gum without sugar. The commercial claims that three out of four dentists from a study recommend to customers who use chewing

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6. How does relevance work?

6. How does relevance work?


A thinking error is a reasoning error: an argument that does not support its content. With a relevance fallacy, the premise is not relevant to the conclusion or point in the question. The thinking errors discussed in this chapter are all relevance thinking errors. Such thinking errors are also called red herrings. This is because if you drag a herring around over the ground behind or around you, it becomes impossible for a dog to smell anything other than the herring, and therefore it loses track - just as one can lose track of their thoughts because of thinking errors.

What is the "ad hominem" thinking error?

The "ad hominem fallacy" (also called "argumentum ad hominem") is the most common relevance fallacy we make. We hereby assess a claim made by someone based on the source of the claim and not so much the claim itself. An example is that something a professor says must be true, since he or she has a lot of knowledge. A distinction is made between four types of "ad hominem" thinking errors.

  1. "Poisoning the well": when others, in advance, predict what someone is going to say and use this to ‘poison’ a persons credibility. Because someone already gave us a negative opinion of this person beforehand, we are more tempted to adopt this negative attitude as well, if the prediction serves to be true. This (mis)painting of someone’s character usually occurs beforehand and makes sure people do not believe the argument that follows.
  2. "Guilt by association": the concept whereby a person is convicted by the people / opinion with whom he or she surrounds or would surround himself. An example of this is saying; You think the economy is doing well? Ugh, that sounds like something a democrat would say.
  3. "Genetic fallacy": this occurs when we do not want to take a claim seriously because we believe that something is wrong with the person who claims it or the history of the claim. Make no mistake, in this case "genetic" does not mean that it has anything to do with genetics - "genetic" here means "of origin". Example: "God is just an idea that people came up with when science didn't exist."
  4. The Strawman thinking error. A person here is guilty of this fallacy when he or she deliberately misrepresents or exaggerates the view of the counterparty, so that his or her point of view comes across better. With the Strawman it is often an exaggerated extreme conclusion that is drawn. Example: "Russian immigrants? Well then, we
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7. Inductive reasoning I

7. Inductive reasoning I


Inductive errors of thought are intended to support the probability that their conclusions are true, but are in reality too weak to be able to do so. Chapter 11 will provide further information about inductive reasoning. However, this information is not necessary to be able to understand this chapter. This chapter is devoted to inductive thinking errors.

What are the fallacies when it comes to inductive generalizations?

Two thinking errors often occur with inductive generalizations are: (1) generalizing too quickly ("hasty generalizing") and (2) incorrect generalizing ("biased generalizing"). Below is an overview of the thinking errors that are made in inductive generalizations:

  • Fallacy of hasty generalization: this fallacy occurs when the chance of an argument being correct is extremely overestimated because it was based on a sample that is too small. This is also called the "fallacy of Small Sample". We humans are quick to make this mistake by using a one-time personal experience for a general conclusion. Such a "small sample" can be a personal experience, or a group of friends or a neighbor, etc.
    • Fallacy of the Lonely Fact: when a conclusion is made based on a single fact. This is an alternative to the aforementioned thinking error.
    • Argument by Anecdote: this is a form of generalizing too quickly. Often an argument in this case is based on one person or event. The chance that an argument is correct is then overestimated.
  • Generalizing from exceptional cases means that a statement is made based on a rare or biased sample. The latter is also called the "fallacy of biased sample". Another form of generalizing from exceptional cases is "self-selection fallacy". This is overestimating the correctness of a conclusion, which is derived from a relatively large but self-selected sample. An example is an online poll - people often forget that only a very specific group will find the poll at all.

The fallacy of "accident" is the reverse of the generalization of special cases. It happens when a speaker or writer assumes that a general statement automatically also applies to a specific case that is exceptional.

The weak analogy

The fallacy of "weak analogy" (also called false analogy) is a weak argument based on unimportant similarities between two or more things. Often these similarities are completely taken out of context in order to make the analogy. Example; "If you kill someone with a knife, it's murder, so if a surgeon kills someone on the operating table,

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8. What are the different types of thinking errors?

8. What are the different types of thinking errors?


What are formal thinking errors?

The three formal errors of thinking that will be discussed are "confirmation of the consistent", "denial of the antecedent" and "the undivided middle."

Confirmation of the consequent

In this chapter examples are given for two premises and one conclusion. An incorrect example is given below:

1. If P, then Q.

2. Q.

3. Therefore P.

In this example, the first part of the premise after "if" is the antecedent of the claim (sentence 1). The part after "then" is the consequent (sentence 2). The example is the thinking error "confirmation of the consequent". A premise incorrectly confirms the consequent of the other. When P and Q are turned around in (2) and (3), the argument is valid.

Incorrect Example;

1. If a dog is pregnant, then it is a female. (If P, then Q)

2. The dog is a female. (Q)

3. So the dog is pregnant. (P)

Denial of the antecedent

A premise denies the antecedent of the other. An example of this is:

1. If P, then Q.

2. Non-P.

3. Therefore non-Q.

Example;

1. If something is a reptile then it is an animal.

2. A sheep is not a reptile.

3. So a sheep is not an animal.

The undivided middle

This fallacy occurs when the speaker or writer assumes that two things that are related to a third thing are, in result, also related to each other. An example is:

All cats are mammals.

All dogs are mammals.

That's why all cats are dogs.

 

An example of such a scheme is:

1. X has characteristics a, b, c, etc.

2. Y has characteristics a, b, c, etc.

3. Therefore: X is Y.

This is an incorrect reasoning.

What are equivocation and amphiboly thinking errors?

Ambiguous statements can produce a thinking error. This is the case, for example, with the equivocation thinking error. This is related to semantic ambiguity. With this fallacy, statements such as premises and / or conclusions are used that contain words or sentences that can be interpreted in more than one way, and thus a false interpretation of a premise is made.

The ambipholy error also uses semantic ambiguity. In this fallacy, statements such as premises and /

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9. What deductive arguments are there?

9. What deductive arguments are there?


How can you analyse arguments?

There are two techniques for creating and evaluating deductive arguments. This chapter is mainly about categorical logic. This is logic based on the relationships of inclusion and exclusion between categories in categorical claims. Categorical logic is useful in clarifying and analysing deductive arguments. When we understand how this works, we can be more critical and precise with regard to propositions and arguments and avoid ambiguity.

Categorical claims

A categorical claim says something about categories of objects. A standard-form categorical claim is a claim that arises when names or descriptions are added to categories. Here are four types of:

  • The A-claim: "All ... are ...". Example: "All Protestants are Christians."
  • The E-claim: "None ... are ...". Example: "No atheists are Christians."
  • The I claim: "Some ... are ...". Example: "Some Christians are Arabic."
  • The O-claim: "Some ... are not ...". Example: "Some Christians are not Catholic."

By "some" we mean "at least one."

Terms

The words that appear on the dotted lines above are called terms. The word that appears on the first dotted line in a claim is called the "subject term". The word that appears on the second dot line is called the "predicate term."

The words that serve as "subject term" and "predicate term" in a sentence are collectively also called classes. The above claims can also be processed and displayed in Venn diagrams. Such a Venn diagram is a graphical representation of all possible hypothetical logical relationships between a finite set of statements. Visually, this is a circle for each category, overlapping the moment they have a community. Thanks to the overlap between some statements, you can draw conclusions from the statements; proportions are visible.

The claim "some dogs bite" would therefore be represented by two overlapping circles - one circle for "dogs" and one circle for "bite". The overlap is therefore "dogs that bite". Because this claim concerns all dogs, but for some dogs you put a cross in the overlapping piece to indicate that at least one dog is biting.

The A and I claims are called affirmative claims because they include part of another class. The E and O claims are called negative claims because they exclude a part of one class from another.

The conversion of claims

It is important to be able to convert a claim into a standard-form categorical claim that means the same. We say that two claims are the

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10. What other deductive arguments are there?

10. What other deductive arguments are there?


What are truth tables?

This chapter is about "truth-functional" logic (also called "propositional / sentential logic"). This specifically concerns the application of logic principles to assertions and analogies. Truth tables are often used in this context. These tables often contain two letters: P and Q. These are also called claim variables and are a symbolic representation of premises and conclusions.

A claim, P, is true (T) or false (F). This is indicated by noting the letter P, putting a line under it and then noting the letters T and F below each other. By noting it this way, the possible truth values ​​for P are displayed. Sometimes numbers are used, where "true" = 1 and "false" = 0.

What types of truth tables are there?

1. Negation (~): in this case the opposite (~ P) of the claim is processed in the table. An example of such a claim is "Jamie is not at home." In this case, P is "Jamie is at home" and ~ P that Jamie is not at home.

The truth table of the conjunction NOT (truth table for negation) shows that whatever value P may have, its denial (~ P) is always the opposite:

Truth table of the conjunction NOT:

P

~P

1

0

0

1

 

2. Conjunction (&): this is a claim that consists of two claims. These claims are called conjuncts. A conjunction is only true if the two claims that make up the general claim are true (so if P and Q are true). An example of a conjunction is; Jamie is home and Sophie is working. Jamie is P and Sophie is Q.

Truth table of the conjunction AND:

P

Q

P & Q

1

1

1

1

0

0

0

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11. Inductive reasoning II

11. Inductive reasoning II


What do analogy-based arguments look like?

An argument based on analogy is an argument that says that something has a certain property, because an equal thing has the same property. For instance:

  • Bill loves fishing.
  • That's why his brother Sam loves fishing.

The analogues in the example above are Bill and Sam. The conclusion analogue (Sam) is attributed a certain characteristic (to love to fish), because the premise analogue (Bill) loves to fish.

What guidelines for critical thinking about an argument based on analogy are there?

Here are a few guidelines for evaluating arguments based on analogy.

  • The more similarities there are between the premise analogue and the conclusion analogue, the stronger the argument.
  • The fewer similarities between the premise analogue and the conclusion analogue, the weaker the argument.
  • If there is more than one premise analogue, the argument becomes stronger.
  • If there is more than one premise analogue and there are not very many opposing premise analogues (a premise analogue that does not have the particular characteristic), the stronger the argument.

When it is proven that an argument based on analogy is wrong, there is "the attack of an analogy". A weak analogy (also called false analogy) is a weak argument based on unimportant similarities between two or more things.

When are you generalizing based of a sample?

You generalize from a sample when you attribute a certain trait to members of a certain population, because this is proven in a small(er) group that belongs to that population.

The most important principles for evaluating such arguments are:

  • The more a-typical the sample is, the weaker the generalization. If you have a sample with primary school children, but you do this at a school for super smart children, the generalization will be weak.
  • The less varied the sample, the weaker the generalization. If you do a sample that is based around racism and you only interview white people, your results will be very monotonous.
  • Generalizations based on samples that are too small to mirror the entire population are weak. Three people are not very representative of a world of seven billion, for instance.

The "sampling frame" is a definition of the population and the attribute. It helps us to determine whether an individual belongs to the population and whether

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12. Moral, Lawful and Aesthetic reasoning

12. Moral, Lawful and Aesthetic reasoning


What are value judgments?

A value judgment is a term for a statement in which a judgment emerges. A value judgment assesses the value or desirability of something or someone. An example is a teacher who says about a student who has committed fraud: "He deserves a 3 for that essay." The teacher does not describe the student but expresses an opinion about the student.

What is the purpose of moral reasoning?

With moral reasoning an attempt is made to establish moral value judgments. Not every value judgment expresses a moral value judgment. When it is said: "our queen dresses nicely," it is a value judgment, but not moral. A moral value judgment often contains words such as "good", "wrong" and "bad". An example of a moral value judgment is: "It was the teacher's fault to withhold information."

Two principles of moral reasoning

  1. The Consistency principle. If two separate cases do not differ in all relevant ways, they must be treated in the same way. If two separate cases are treated in the same way, they should not differ in all relevant ways. An example is if a teacher gives two students the same grade, despite the fact that student A did better than student B. The teacher violates the principle. If someone is suspected of violating the principle of consistency, it is up to the person who violates the principle to prove that he or she is not violating the principle.
  2. Moral principles. A moral principle is a general value judgment. It refers to what should generally be done. An example is: "Stealing is wrong." Moral value judgments are formed from moral principles. An example is: "It is wrong of James to steal".

Consequentialism: utilitarianism, egoism and altruism

Consequentialism is based on the principle that the consequences of a decision or action determine the moral value. If an action produces more happiness than the alternatives, then it is the right action to perform. This is then utilitarianism. In the case of utilitarianism, a trade-off is made between the different consequences of alternatives and then the choice that produces the most happiness. This perspective causes problems. When we consider whether or not to do something, we take into account various issues, such as the rights of others and our own duties. Another consequentialist theory is ethical selfishness. Here the starting point is that if an

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Bullet point summary -Critical thinking 12th edition (EN)

Bullet point summary -Critical thinking 12th edition (EN)


What is critical thinking? - CH.1

  • We think critically when we use our reasoning to come to conclusions. Conclusions are beliefs: these are propositional and can be true or false.
  • Critical thinking involves three things: (1) statements, (2) issues, and (3) arguments. Claims can be objective or subjective. An argument consists of a premise (a statement that is used as a reason to prove that another statement is true) and a conclusion.
  • "Cognitive bias" is a belief that is influenced by unconscious characteristics of human psychology. These biases influence the way in which information is processed. Heuristics are general rules that we use unconsciously when estimating probabilities.
  • A claim is "true" when it is free from error. When you believe something, you have a strong argument that you have no doubts about and have no reason to think you are wrong, you can claim that you know something.

Two ways of reasoning - CH.2

  • Arguments always consist of two parts: a premise (or multiple premises) and a conclusion. The same claim can serve as a premise in one argument and as a conclusion in another.
  • Reasoning can be done in two ways: deductive and inductive. A deductive argument is used to prove a claim, while an inductive argument is used to support a claim.
  • An argument is valid when it is impossible that at the same time the premises are true and the conclusion false.
  • Support is a matter of gradation and not of an all-or-nothing principle. An argument that gives more evidence for a conclusion is stronger than an argument that gives less evidence for a conclusion. Despite the fact that some people use strong inductive evidence as an absolute term, the word "strong" in this context is therefore relative.
  • There are three levels of beliefs: (1) ethos, (2) logos, and (3) pathos.
  • If you find it difficult to distinguish (parts of) arguments in a written piece, then it is an idea to make a diagram.

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Critical thinking - English summary 12th edition
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