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PHI1101 CH.1 NOTES.docx

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University of Ottawa
Sonia Sikka

Chapter One Critical Thinking “The systematic evaluation or formulation of beliefs, or statements, by rational standards”  Systemic: because it involved distinct procedures and methods (not just gut feelings, etc.)  Evaluation and formulation: used to assess existing beliefs and devise new ones  Rational standards: beliefs are judged by how well they are supported by reasons  Used in problem solving, an evaluation of beliefs and actions, persuasion o Sources of belief may stem from family, friends, media, science, country, religion, etc. The Elements of Reasoning – Recognizing Arguments Three Tasks - Define the concept of the argument - Learn to recognize arguments - Introduce some standard terms What is an argument?  An argument is a set of claims that can be divided into a conclusion and one or more premises.  A premise is “a claim put forth as a reason for a conclusion” or “a claim given in support of another claim”.  A conclusion is “a claim meant to be supported by reasons offered in the argument”, or “a claim that premises are used to support”  Therefore, the conclusion is what the speaker wants the audience to accept, and the premises state reasons for the audience to accept that conclusion. o Premises provide reasons (evidence, grounds) for believing that the conclusion is true Premises to Conclusions  Inference: the process of reasoning from premises to conclusion o [verb] to infer – “based on these tests, it seems safe to infer that it’s safe to drink the water” o [noun] infer – based on these tests, it seems safe to make the inference that it’s safe to drink the water o “Statements imply, people infer.” Three Considerations: Recognizing Arguments: - Length of arguments - Inference indicators - Arguments and disputes - Implicit premises/conclusions - Good and bad arguments - Questions, commands, exclamations, exhortations Premise Indicators:  Premise indicat
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