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PP201 reasoning and argumentation (all lecture and textbook notes) organized.docx

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Hugh R Alcock

PP201 reasoning and argumentation Critical thinking: -rational appraisal of our beliefs -can be either acquired in a rational manner or appraised rationally- makes it a rational belief -our actions are guided by beliefs, what we choose to do is limited by and empowered by beliefs Statements: to state is to claim or assert that something is true. Most sentences are statements. It is a semantic message that can be false or true therefore must be truth-evaluable. Explanations: additional information after belief in the statement is already established, offer reasons or causes of the statement. These tell us why things are the way they are. Arguments: adds support to the statement. Tells us why we should belief something to be credible. Evidence includes facts, evidence is only as good as the underlying theory of it. (reasons) Set of statements (premises) that support or establish the truth of another statement (conclusion). Premises: statements given in support of another statement intended to support the conclusion Inference: reasoning from a premise to a conclusion based on those premises Indicator words: signal that a premise or conclusion is present ex. Because, therefore Theory: set of beliefs that can be used to explain or predict certain things. Logic: study of good reasoning, or interference and the rules that govern it Study in JPSP people whose competences were weak tended to overestimate them, to not know and be unaware of it, when knowledge os increased we can recognize our limitations Psychology of beliefs: There is a fast way of thinking and a slow deliberate way of thinking, they interfere with one another We tend to look for patterns and think no further In general our beliefs guide our actions, therefore we are driven to get answers. Beliefs are empowering. Reasons we acquire false belief: 1. Conformity 2. False impressions 3. Consistency (supports what we have already committed to) 4. Ignoring the evidence 5. Making the wrong connections General aptitude to reason: -sometimes we dismiss an opinion because it doesn’t fit how we see the world -we can be clouded by ideologies and philosophies Worldview could be characterized as a set of prejudices we have acquired that reflects our overall values by which we lead our lives. Often collectively or socially determined, what you presuppose to be possible and important and what you take to be fundamentally real are acquired from others bit by bit, however hasty sweeping generalizations can also be negative in stereotyping Relativism: everything is true for the person believing it this is logical a dead end, truth is no longer useful if nothing is wrong Therefore the concept of truth only makes sense if it is objective Truth is the core of objectivity Social relativism: some things may only be true in the context of their society World view: philosophy of life, set of fundamental ideas that guide us Philosophical skepticism: the view we can’t know anything Deductive: provides logically conclusive support for its conclusion, can be either valid or invalid. A seductively valid argument with true premises is sound. Doesn’t have to do with content of statements but rather their logical connections to one another. Once truth values of premises are known we can determine by mechanical procedure whether the conclusion follows. – it concerns a set of predetermined steps known as an algorithm or program. If premises are shown true and conclusion is deductible from them then there is no choice but to accept it. Ampliative- conclusion is more than the premises allow, inferring a conclusion even though it doesn’t strictly follow the premises Most of our generalizations are based on experience or observation which means they are inductively inferred Truth preserving: deductively valid arguments Conditional: contain an if then statement Antecedent: the if part Consequent: the then part Affirming the antecedent: modus ponens, valid, if p then q, p therefore q Denying the consequent: modus tollens, if p then q, not p therefore not q, valid Syllogism: argument made of three statements, if p then q, if q than r, therefore if p then r, also called chain arguments Denying the antecedent: invalid, if p then q, not p then not q, possible for premises to be true and conclusion to be false Affirming the consequent: invalid, if p then q, q therefore p. Disjunctive syllogism: valid, either p or q not p therefore q Inductive: provides probable support for its conclusion, can be either strong or weak. If inductively strong arguments have true premises they are cogent. If a claim conflicts with other claims we have good reason to accept we have good reason to doubt it Background information: large collection of very well supported beliefs that we all rely on to inform our actions and choices We should proportion our belief to amount and quality of evidence Expert: someone more knowledgeable in a field than most other people are, they would have more access to info and have better judgment on the subject • Education from reputable institutions in the field • Experience making reliable judgments in the field • Reputation among peers • Professional accomplishments Appeal to authority: fallacy, experts are not experts outside of their field, or if experts are biased, or not really expert Personal experience: alright to believe if no reason not to, but can be impaired by perception, distortion of memory, if we have previous expectations it could alter our perception, if stimuli is vague or ambiguous Pareidolia: tendency to perceive things that are not really there when it is vague or ambiguous, we see or hear exactly what they expect Gambler’s fallacy: think that previous events have an outcome on probabilities of an event at hand Confirmation bias: look for evidence that confirms what we believe Availability heuristic: we think something happens more often if it is more readily available in our memory Passive reporting: reporters often have stories just handed to them -many of our claims not supported, we ask for evidence -claims judged against a background of beliefs which we endeavor to keep consistent In doubting, there are different kinds of evidence we can ask for: to be shown (empirical evidence: personal experience- anecdotal, and controlled observation- scientific experiment), to ask an expert (appeal to authority). Our personal experience tends to be common sense, but we shouldn’t jump to hasty conclusions, it is reasonable to accept until there is reason to doubt it. Science being the development of the theories which best explain and predict phenomena. A scientific theory is as good as its predictive efficacy, it must be thoroughly tested. Expertise measured by: amount of education, training, experience in making reliable judgments, reputation among peers and professional development Appeal to authority is only legitimate when: -authority is identified -authority is respectable -subject is in authority’s field of expertise -should be consensus among experts Noam Chomsky: Media is for manufacturing consent, furthering of certain goals. Media is the arena of persuasion. Government is buffer between corporate interests and the masses. Branding: don’t sell the product directly, sells the consumer a life-style which neatly fits their product, presents the company in a favorable light Harry Frankfurt, Bullshitting: advertising strategies are largely divorced from concern about telling the truth, the Bullshitter has no interest whatsoever in the truth Three rhetorical methods: Aristotle -logos (reason) -pathos (emotion) -ethos (character) Reporters subject to pressures and news sources also worry about their bottom line • Consider if report conflicts with what you know • Look for reporter slanting • Consider the source • Check for missing info • Look for false emphasis • Check alternative news sources How ads manipulate:  Appeals to emotion  Appeals to popularity  Hasty generalizations  Identifications such as celebrity endorsements  Slogans to embed into our minds the brand  Misleading comparisons  Weasel words such as some, may, up to Faulty reasoning: Fallacy: flawed arguments, have either irrelevant premises, unacceptable premises, bad ways of reasoning Genetic fallacy: arguing that a claim is true or false because of its origin. Strength of a claim should not depend on its source. Ex. Psychotherapy doesn’t work because Freud was on cocaine Gambler’s fallacy: you think the odds change as you pay which is false Appeal to the person: ad hominem, criticism of the person making the claim, not the claim itself Tu Quoque- argue whether someone is hypocritical about their claims, criticism of someone based on circumstances. Means “you as well”. Abusive ad hominem: attacking personality or character of proponent Circumstantial ad hominem: to suggest that the proponent only holds the position in question because of certain circumstances Composition: to argue what is true of parts must be true of the whole, ex each note in the song sounds great therefore the whole song will sound great Division: arguing what is true of the whole must be true of the parts, ex the building he lives in is huge so his apartment must be huge Equivocation: use of a word on two different senses in an argument ex only man is rational, a woman isn’t a man therefore women are irrational Appeal to popularity: assuming it’s true because a lot of people believe it Appeal to common practice: assuming it’s true because everyone does it Appeal to tradition: saying it’s true because it’s a tradition Appeal to ignorance: arguing lack of evidence proves something because it hasn’t been proven false. Burden of proof- rests on the side that makes a positive claim, can’t use to disprove because their side has more burden of proof Appeal to emotion: use of emotion in any premise
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