Critical Thinking – CHAPTERS 1,2,3,4,5,6 STUDY GUIDE
What is Critical Thinking?
- The systematic evaluation or formulation of beliefs, or statements, by rational standards.
- It’s systematic because it involves distinct procedures and methods (not just gut feelings).
- It’s used to evaluate existing beliefs and formulate new ones.
- It evaluates beliefs in terms of how well they are supported by reasons.
- An assertion is a declarative sentence that is intended to make a claim of some sort. (Ex. I have
3 coins in my pocket.)
- Sometimes these are called statements or propositions.
“I am taller than you.”
“It is raining.”
“She will win the race.”
- Assertion can be true or false.
- A premise is a statement that is offered in support of a conclusion.
- A conclusion is a statement that is held to be supported by a premise or premises.
Premise: All whales are mammals.
Premise: Moby Dick is a whale.
Conclusion: Moby Dick is a mammal.
- An argument is a set of statements one of which (the conclusion) is taken to be supported by
the remaining statements (the premises).
- Here’s another way of saying this:
An argument is a group of statements in which some (the premises) are intended to support another
The conclusion is what the speaker wants you to accept.
The premises state the reasons or evidence for accepting the conclusion.
- An inference is the move from a premise (or premises) to a conclusion (or conclusions).
- Critical thinking is all about inferences
- Inferences are identified and evaluated
Don’t confuse arguments with explanations.
- An explanation tells you why something happened.
- An argument tells you why you should believe something.
- Arguments have something to prove; explanations do not.