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Chapter 3

SOCI 2P00 Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Critical Thinking

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Chapter 3: What are the Reasons?
Reasons are beliefs, evidence, metaphors, analogies and other statements offered to support or
justify a conclusion
o They are statements that form the basis for creating the credibility of a conclusion
You cannot determine the worth of a conclusion until you identify the reasons
Reason + conclusion = argument
Reasons are explanations or rationales for why we should believe a particular conclusion
Several characteristics of arguments grab out attention:
o They have intent. Those who provide arguments hope to convince us to believe certain
things or to act in certain ways. They call for a reaction and we must respond somehow
o Their quality varies. Critical thinking is required to determine the extent of quality in an
o 2 essential visible components a conclusion and reasons. Failure to identify either
destroys the opportunity to evaluate the argument. We cannot evaluate what we
cannot identify
Argument: consists of a conclusions and the reasons that allegedly support it
Initiating the Questioning Process
o Why? What does the writer or speaker believe that? Why does the writer/speaker believe that
o The statements that answer the questions are the reasons
Kinds of Reasons
o Evidence: specific information that someone uses to furnish proof for something she is trying to
claim is true
o Facts, research findings, examples from real life, statistics, appeals to experts and
authorities, personal testimonials and analogies
o When a speaker/writer is trying to support a descriptive conclusion, the answer to the why is
usually the evidence
o The conclusion needs to be supported by evidence
Keeping the Reasons and Conclusions Straight
Try to develop your own organizing procedure for keeping the reasons and conclusions separate
and in a logical pattern
Clues for identifying and organizing the reasoning of a passage
o Circle indicator words
o Underlie the reasons and conclusion in different colours of ink, or highlight the
conclusion and underline the reasons
o Label the reasons and conclusion in the margin
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