IntroductionUp until now we’ve been applying our analytical skills to relatively simple arguments. Now we will begin to apply those skills to extended arguments. What’s an extended argument? Well, I’m glad you asked: An extended argument is one that has a main conclusion supported by premises which themselves are in turn supported by sub-premises. When […]Read More Critical Thinking: Extended Arguments and Inference Indicators
IntroductionIn the last post we looked at the properties of a strong argument: (a) premise acceptability and (b) logical force (i.e., validity). The concept of validity can be further sub-divided into two components: (i) premise relevance and (ii) premise sufficiency. Now we’re going to look at the dark side of arguments: fallacies. Fallacies are […]Read More Critical Thinking: Informal Fallacies Part 1: Red Herring and Straw Man
IntroductionIn the previous post we talked about logical force or logical consequence (they are interchangeable). These terms refer to the degree to which we must accept the conclusion if we’ve assumed the premises to be true. When an argument has maximum logical force we say it is valid. Generally, there are two types of logical force: deductive […]Read More Critical Thinking: Evaluating Logical Strength of Deductive and Inductive Arguments through Relevance and Sufficiency
Part 1: I’m a Ramblin’ ManOk, so maybe I ought to put “ethical” from ‘ethical eating’ in bunny ears. I’m still eating meat but, as I will explain, I am making an effort to make sure that the meat I eat is humanely “produced” (?)–and I’m not eating bunny ears. Man, I can’t even write […]Read More Thoughts on Ethical Eating, "Healthfood" Stores, and Sustainable Food
IntroductionUp until now we’ve spent quite a bit of time looking at the role of biases in argument. Understanding how they influence arguers and our perception of arguments is important; however we’re now going to move beyond the psychological aspects of analysis (tell me about your mother…) and start to hone our technical skills.The first […]Read More Critical Thinking: Burden of Proof, Strong Arguments, and How to Criticize.
IntroductionIn this section we are going to start learn how to detect BS. Lets move beyond the general notion of ‘bias’ and get more specific about biases and how the affect the strength and validity of arguments. Recall that one way we can classify biases is according to how much skin the arguer has in […]Read More Critical Thinking: BS Detectors on Stun. How to Detect Illegitimate Biases
IntroductionThe previous chapter on arguments focused on how differences in systems of beliefs give rise to arguments. People with disparate systems of beliefs often hold differing values and beliefs, which in turn influence what they consider to be basic assumptions (to be used in an argument as premises).It should also be mentioned that sometimes the difference isn’t […]Read More Critical Thinking: Biases, Vested Interests, and Conflicts of Interests