Critical Thinking 4

11 Dec

After all the theories, finally we can try to use critical thinking in analysing others’ arguments. Like what Howard said, there are times when people just talk in such a complicated way that we have to sit down and dissect the arguments to understand it.

How? Divide and Conquer

Part 1: Divide

  1. Identify the conclusion(s) & annotate with C1, C2 etc.
  2. Decide which of them is the main conclusion (one that summarise the whole text) and annotate C.
  3. Change the secondary conclusions to be premises to support the conclusion, and annotate P1, P2 etc.
  4. Identify the stated premises that support P1,P2 etc & annotate with P1.1, P2.1 etc
  5. Identify the missing premises that needed to support any of the conclusion & annotate with MP1, MP2 etc
  6. If there is no conclusion, identify the missing conclusion & annotate MC1, MC2 etc
  7. Identify the shape starting from the main conclusion and work upward.

Voila, we have the relationship tree. We have identified whether the premises do support the conclusion.

Sometimes when the premises do not make sense, make some assumptions or sound foolish, we still have to apply Principle of Charity to improve the argument. But the name Principle of Charity is a bit deceiving (hahaha) since we improve the argument in order to prove that it is a foolish argument.

Part 2: Conquer

After identifying all the premises, we then ready to do the logical strength and truthfulness test. 

  1. Do the premises have logical strength (Note: skip this step if V shape)
  2. Is each of them true?

If the premises fulfill these two tests, then conclusion is sound.

PS: not the end yet. should be more to come next semester

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