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Techniques of Persuasion – Quiz 1 Notes - chapter 1, 2, and first half of 3.docx

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York University
Modes Of Reasoning
MODR 1770
Glen Hoffman

Techniques of Persuasion – Quiz 1 Notes Chapter 1 – The Power of Critical Thinking  Critical thinking is about the quality of one’s beliefs  Not about what you think, but about how you think  Is a belief worth believing?  A belief is worth believing if we have good reasons to accept it  The better the reasons for acceptance, the more likely the belief is to be true  Critical thinking – the systematic evaluation or formulation of beliefs, or statements, by rational standards  Critical thinking is systematic because it involves distinct procedures and methods  Entails evaluation and formation because it’s used to assess existing beliefs and to devise new ones  Critical thinking involves logic  Logic is the study of good reasoning, or inference, and the rules that govern it Why It Matters?  Thinking needs to be good in order to guide our actions  A consequence of “going with the wind” and believing whatever beliefs are common is a loss of personal freedom  If you passively accept beliefs, they are not truly yours  Your beliefs are only yours if you critically examine them for yourself to see if they are supported by good reasons  Some believe that critical thinking makes one excessively critical or cynical  Used offensively against people, this goes against critical thinking principles  Part of thinking critically is ensuring that we don’t let our emotions distort our judgments  Critical thinking can help clarify our feelings and deal with them more effectively  Critical thinking can complement creativity, needed to assess and enhance the creation  Scientist must critically evaluate their work  Critical thinking perfects creation How It Works Claims and Reasons  Can only evaluate beliefs that are explicit  A statement is an assertion that something is or is not the case o A triangle has three sides o I am cold o 7 + 5 = 12 1 o 7 + 5 = 13 o You should never hit your mother with a shovel  Can be true or false  Questions are not statements  A command is not a statement  Greetings are not statements  Again, have to assert that something is or is not the case Reasons and Arguments  Reasons provide support for a statement  Provide us with grounds for believing that a statement is true  Reasons themselves are statements  This combination of statements – a statement supposedly providing reasons for accepting another statement – is known as an argument  Premises – the statements given in support of another statement (reasons)  Conclusion – the statement that the premises are intended to support  Argument – a group of statements in which some of them (the premises) are intended to support another of them (the conclusion)  Inference – the process of reasoning from a premise or premises to a conclusion based on those premises  Stories are usually not arguments  THERE HAS TO BE A CONCLUSION AND SUPPORT  An argument gives us reasons for believing that something is the case, that a claim is true or probably true  An explanation tells us why or how something is the case  Arguments have something to prove explanations do not  Explanations can be used as parts of arguments  Indicator words frequently accompany arguments and signal that a premise or conclusion is present  Because usually indicates a premise  Other premise indicators o In view of the fact, given that, seeing that, as, being that, since, assuming that, as indicated by, the reason being  Conclusion indicators o Therefore, thus, which implies that, consequently, it follows that, we can conclude that, so, hence  Find conclusion first, look for support second Chapter 2 – The Environment of Critical Thinking Perils of a Haunted Mind  Category 1 obstacles – those hindrances that arise because of how we think 2 The Almighty Self  Self-interested thinking takes several forms  May decide to accept a claim solely on the grounds that it advances, or coincides with, our interests  Self-interest alone simply cannot establish the truth of a claim  May be tempted to accept claims for no other reason than that they help you save face  Accept or defend claims just to cover up the cracks in our image o Make a mistake, blame it on someone else o Behave badly, try to justify your behaviour  To overcome self-interest o Watch out when things get very personal o Be alert to ways that critical thinking can be undermined o Ensure that nothing has been left out Watch Out When Things Get Very Personal  Most likely to let self-interest get in the way when you have a big personal stake in the conclusions you reach Be Alert to Ways That Critical Thinking Can Be Undermined  Understand the techniques and principles of critical thinking, more likely to detect your own one-sided self-centered thinking Ensure That Nothing Has Been Left Out  Common flaw in reasoning is the failure to consider evidence or arguments that do not support your preferred claims or positions  Make a conscious effort to look for opposing evidence The Power of the Group  Appeal to popularity – an argument that tries to support a conclusion on the basis of the mere popularity of a belief (also known as appeal to the masses)  Best way to deal with the power of the group is to proportion your belief to the strength of reasons Perils of a Haunted World View Subjective Realism  Subjective relativism – the idea that truth depends on what someone believes  If you accept this notion or use it to try to support a claim, you are said to be committing subjectivist fallacy  View says truth is relative to individual persons  Subjectivist fallacy may be an excuse to forgo the tough job of critical inquiry  If we could make a statement true just be believing it to be true, we would be infallible 3 Social Relativism  Social relativism – the view that truth is relative to societies  Truth depends, not on an individual’s beliefs, but on society’s beliefs  Societies are infallible Skepticism  Philosophical skepticism – believing that we know much less than we think we do or nothing at all Chapter 3 – Making Sense of Arguments (up to p. 89) Argument Basics  Point of devising an argument is to show that a statement is worthy of acceptance, evaluating an argument is to see whether this task has been successful  When the argument shows that the statement is worthy of acceptance, we say that the argument is good, if it fails to do so the argument is bad  Deductive argument – intended to provide logically conclusive support for its conclusion  Inductive argument – intended to provide probably – not conclusive – support for its conclusion  A deductive argument that succeeds in providing such decisive logical support is said to be valid
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