1200 Critical Thinking – Christmas Exam Review
Chapter 1: Reason and Critical Thinking
Reasoning: actively linking thoughts together
Inference: active process of reasoning; connecting thoughts – creating relationships
Inference Indicators: words that indicate that one thought is meant to support
Statement: a sentence used to make a claim that is capable of being true or false.
Argument: a set of statements that claim one or more of the statements (premise),
support another of them (conclusion).
Logical Strength: when the premise(s) supports the conclusion.
Deductive Argument: truth of premise guarantees the truth of the conclusion.
Inductive Argument: truth of premises does not guarantee, but implies/ makes
possible the truth of conclusion.
Sound Argument: Maximum logical strength (premises flow with conclusion)
premises and conclusion is/are true, a property of an argument as a whole.
Challenges: (1) Finding meaning of argument, understand clearly. (2)
Determining the truth or falsity of statements. (3) difficulty accessing
argument & inferences.
Truth: property of statements (premise)
Logical Strength: property of inferences.
Counterfactual Arguments: an argument with a premise known or assumed to be
false – at least one premise is a counterfactual statement.
Reductio As Absurdum: a statement is proven true by assuming a statement is false
and deriving a contradiction from that assumption.
Chapter 2: Meaning and Definition
Complexity of Language:
-One thought can be expressed in many ways, one meaning/sentence expressed in
several ways, speech could be different from original thought due to the translation
from the brain to the listener.
Reference Theory Meaning:
-Meaning of a word consists of whatever it refers to, difference between knowing
meaning of a word and knowing what it refers to. (Meaning vs. Reference)
Idea Theory of Meaning: (John Locke)
-Meaning of a word consists of the idea/mental image it produces. BUT if mental
image is meaning, and we cannot imagine the same things, how can we be sure we
are speaking of the same thing.
Meaning as Use: -Primary source of meaning exists in sentences, not words. The only meaning a
word can have is the meaning it gains from sentences.
To Find Sentence Meaning: What is the speaker, talking to this audience, in this
particular context, using this sentence to do?
-Context gives sentence meaning via speaker.
Main Functions of Language (Types):
1) Descriptive: to describe, convey factual information.
2) Evaluative: make a value judgment on something, evaluate it (aesthetic,
moral, economical, etc.)
3) Emotive: used to express emotion
4) Evocative: evoking emotions in audience.
5) Persuasive: to persuade people to accept something / act in a certain way.
6) Interrogative: to elicit information, we must ask for it. Asking a question or
7) Directive: command others to do something or provide advice.
8) Performative: speaking preforms action in addition to saying a sentence.
9) Recreational: telling jokes, stories, playing games, language used out of
-Functions of language are both subjective and objective.
-Subjective: regard speakers intention/purpose as primary
-Objective: disregard speakers intention and consider how the audience is affected.
Sense: we understand the sense of a word when we understand it’s meaning.
Reference: the class of things to which a word refers.
Types Of Definition:
1) Reportive: conveys information used to convey word correctly, a meaning of
a word in it’s standard usage.
2) Simulative: create new, precise meaning, avoids confusion, used for
3) Essentialist: reveals essential nature of a word, compressed theories (i.e,
what fire consists of)
Methods of Definition:
1) Genus – Species: defining a word referring to a kind of thing. Genus – to
which the thing belongs. Species – specify what makes thing different.
2) Ostensive: conveyed by giving examples
3) Synonym: define word by giving a synonym ( a word it is similar to in terms
4) Operational: specifying role of operation, term is to be applied when
something yields specific results.
5) Contextual: using a word in standard context and providing a different
sentence that does not use the word but has the same meaning.
Accessing Reportive Definitions:
1) Too broad: defining phrase refers to something(s) that are not included in
the reference of the term being defined. 2) Too narrow: defining phrase refers to something(s) not included in the
reference of the term being defined.
3) Too broad and too narrow: defining phrases refers to something which the
term does not & fails to refer to something things to what the term does.
4) Circular: the term being defined is in the definition.
5) Obscure: useless definition by use of vague, obscure metaphorical language.
Chapter 3: Clarifying Meaning
Principle of Charity:
-When a statement/argument has two meanings, it’s easy to interpret the less
plausible meaning to refute.
-The principle of charity is used to find the fairest presumption possible. The most
reasonable of the interpretations of the words among the possible contexts.
Ambiguous Sentence: one that has two or more different but possible precise
Vague Sentence: lacks a precise meaning. – arise from words in sentences.
Referential Ambiguity: word/phrase could only refer to two or more properties of
-Differentiate between collective and distributive use of a term.
-Most nouns refer to a class of individual objects – Distributive
-Use terms to say something about the class – Collective
Grammatical Ambiguity: grammatical structure of sentence allows two
interpretations, each of which gives rise to a different meaning.
Use and Mention:
Use: When speaking of the word “guitar” – as in the instrument we use the world
Mention: When speaking of the word “guitar” – as in the 6 letter word, we mention
Analytic: true by definition
Contradictory: false by definition
Synthetic: true/false not depending on meaning of words
Antecedent Conditions: conditions that have to be met in order for statements to be
true/something to occur.
X is necessary condition for Y
X is false, Y is false
X is true, Y is false -The truth of X doesn’t grantee the truth of Y
X is a sufficient condition for Y
X is true, Y is true
-X is present, Y must occur.
Jointly Sufficient Conditions: all necessary conditions for something.
Chapter 4: Reconstructing Arguments
-Define premises of an argument by: identifying the premises and conclusion as wel
as the structure.
Conclusion = C, Intermediary Conclusion = IC, Premises = P1, P2, etc., Missing
Premises = MP1, MP2, etc.
-Identify conclusion then the premises.
-Assuming something the speaker left out, use the principle of charity.
Presupposition: premises that general principle, the speaker takes to be important
in connection between statements but it is missing from the argument
*What must be logically presupposed about mandatory sentences in order for
conclusion to be true?
Report of Argument: contain arguments but not true arguments, explanations with
inference from premises, to conclusion.
-Says “so and so believes x y and z.”
Explanation: why/how something happens.
-Trying to prove why the statement is occurring, not whether or not it is true.
Is The Conclusion:
1) A statement that is true but understand more clearly in the light od evidence
provided in premises. (Explanation)
2) A statement whose truth is in question, but is supported to be true on the
basis of the evidence provided in the premises. (Argument)
Structure of Arguments:
Simple Argument: one premise, one conclusion.
T-Argument: two or more premises that rely on each other to support the
V-Argument: two or more premises that provide sufficient support for the
conclusion without relying on each other for support.
Complex Argument: Two premises in simple argument form, with a conclusion. The
second premise is a sub-conclusion, supported by the first premise. (P1, therefore
P2. P2, therefore C)
Chapter 5: Strategies for Assessing Arguments
-Arguments support conclusion: premises are true, premises support conclusion. Fallacies: mistakes that an argument can have. An error or weakness that detracts
from the soundness of argument.
A Sound Argument:
1) True premises, must be acceptable and able to be proven.
2) Logical Strength, premises must be relevant to conclusion.
3) Premises must be adequate support for conclusion.
Chapter 6: Truth Claims
Types of Truth Claims:
Empirical Truth Claim:
-If a truth claim is true, it is verified, if it is false, it is falsified but it can remain
-If the truth claim is not empirical (gained from experience) it is non-empirical.
Particular Empirical Statement: about particular emp