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SSH 105 Study Guide - Final Guide: Peer Pressure, The Slippery Slope, Begging

Social Sciences and Humanities
Course Code
SSH 105
Andrew Hunter
Study Guide

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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.
Assertion (Statement):
- 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.
- Example:
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).
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.

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1) Adam stole the money, for three people saw him do it. (Argument)
2) Adam stole the money because he needed to buy food. (Explanantion)
Be aware that NOT all series of statements contain arguments.
- So how do we recognize arguments?
- Look for a conclusion (a statement that is being supported), and look for premises.
- Often we can identify these by the use of certain indicator words
- Thus
- Therefore
- Hence
- Entail(s)
- … it follows that
- … we may conclude …
- Consequently
- So
- Since
- Because
- For
- As
- … given that …
- … inasmuch as …
- … for the reason that …
Two Points about Indicator words:
- First: They may not actually be present in arguments.
- Second: In arguments, premises do not always come before conclusions; conclusions do not
always come after premises
textual priority versus logical priority”:
- “Religious beliefs cannot be proven. If something is a matter of faith, it cannot be proven, and
religious beliefs are obviously a matter of faith.”
Truth versus Logical Strength:
- Premises and conclusions may be true, or they may be false.
- Evaluating the truth-value of premises and conclusions is distinct from evaluating the logical
strength of arguments.

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1) Ryerson University is in Guelph, ON.
2) The RAC is located within Ryerson U.
3) The RAC is located in Guelph, ON.
Deductive Arguments
- A deductive argument is intended to provide conclusive support for its conclusion.
- A deductive argument that succeeds in providing conclusive support for its conclusion is said to
be valid.
- One that fails to provide conclusive support is said to be invalid.
- A valid argument is such that if its premises are true, then its conclusion must be true.
- For this reason, deductively valid arguments are said to be truth-preserving.
- An argument is deductively valid if and only if it is not possible for the premises to be true and
the conclusion false.
- i.e., if all the premises were true, the conclusion would have to be true too.
- An argument is deductively invalid if and only if it is not deductively valid.
Validity and Soundness:
Deductive Validity:
A deductively valid argument:
(1) All bachelors are unmarried.
(2) Ivan is a bachelor.
(3) Ivan is unmarried.
An invalid argument:
(1) Some politicians smoke marijuana.
(2) Jones is a politician.
(3) Jones smokes marijuana.
Remember, a valid argument need not have true premises, and it need not have true conclusions:
what’s important is the logical relationship between the premise(s) and conclusion(s).
(1) All Americans are ten feet tall.
(2) Prof. Hunter is an American .
(3) Prof. Hunter is ten feet tall
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