Critical Thinking 2

24 Nov

 As mentioned in part 1, a sound argument must pass three tests:

  1. Is there any degree of logical strength between the premises – matter if the premises are true or false?
  2. Are the premises true?
  3. Do the premises support the conclusion?

So after we find out if the premises have logical strength and indeed are true, we must think if they actually support the conclusion. If they do support the conclusion, to what degree the support is. It is to say, are the premises are enough for us to have 100% certainty that the conclusion is sound.

There are two types of conditions:

  1. Necessary condition: the premises (stated and implied) are needed to come to conclusion, but that’s not all because we still need more premises or data to say that our conclusion is true. So conclusion may only happen if premises are true, but more premises are needed for us to say that the conclusion is true.
  2. Sufficient condition: the premises (stated and implied) are enough to come to conclusion; we don’t need anymore premises or data to say that our conclusion is true.

Well, I think it’s not that simple. For example: “To get distinction, you need to score an average of 65% or higher on your course work, 70% or higher on your dissertation, and score 70% or more overall. “ In this argument, the three premises together are sufficient to guarantee the outcome, and each premises is necessary condition for the outcome.

However, say my teacher only tell me,”To get distinction, you need to score an average of 65% or higher on your course work and 70% or higher on your dissertation.” without mentioning the 70% or more overall. I would assume that the two premises are actually sufficient for me to get a distinction when they are actually not.

How can we know if our premises are enough to come to conclusion? How can we know if no information is missing? With our limited knowledge, how can we be confidence with our conclusion?

Primary purpose of argument is to arrive at an understanding of things that is as reasonable and plausible as it can be

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