CRITICAL THINKING CHAPTER 3
Denotation- what the word directly refers to Ex: rose denotes a
certain type of flower
Connotation- some characteristics of what is directly referred to,
association that accompanies a word Ex: the word fire may suggest, or
connote the warmth of a living room fire place
Association- ideas or concepts that would bring to mind
Emotionally charged language/loaded language- a mood or
attitude can be set without providing arguments reasons, or any
consideration of alternative possibilities.
EX: the difference between calling a change a “diversion of
funds”(emotionally negative charged language) or a “reform”
(emotionally positive charged language)
Hyperbole: where an exaggerated sense of word is used to argue for
a point without necessarily evidence.
Our side bias: (double standard) selective use of words or values so
to show ones own position more favorable.
EX: We have aggressive players, but their players play dirty
We are out to win, but they are desperate for a victory.
We have a clever new strategy, but they are underhanded
Euphemism: bland, polite deliberately disguises a word so to look
less harsh, an effort to desensitize lesson diminishing effect of used
PROBLEMS WITH LANGUAGE: AMBIGUITY TWO KINDS
Ambiguity- language is used ambiguously if, in the context in which a
word or phrase appears, it could have any one of several distinct
1) Semantic ambiguity - arises from multiple meanings connected to
the word used. (also pun-making is based on semantic ambiguity)
EX: Pavarotti is a big opera star— not clear if he is he fat or important?
Semantic ambiguity is related to denotation, connotation and
association of a word
2) Syntactic ambiguity- when a phrase or sentence suggests
EX: Robert was profoundly upset because Jim broke promises he had
made with his wife. Fallacy- argument based on a common mistake in reasoning, a sort of
mistake that people tend not to notice.
Fallacy of equivocation- fallacy committed when a key word in an
argument is used in two or more senses and the premises appear to
support the conclusion only because the senses are not distinguished.
Ex: Micah White says he has “endured persecution” for his belief, but
an atheist by definition is one who lacks belief.
1) MW is an atheist
2) All atheists lack beliefs
3) So, MW lacks belief
4) Anyone who lacks beliefs cannot be persecuted for their beliefs
5) Therefore MW cannot be persecuted for his beliefs
CONCLUSION: belief, a key word in the argument is being used in
more then one sense of the word.
* like semantic ambiguity but a whole argument is formulated on two
senses of a word rather then just a sentence.*
Vagueness- a word is used vaguely if, in the context in which it
appears, we cannot determine what things the world would apply to.
No clear meaning of the word.
Jargon- jargon is used to compensate for the lack of evidence for the
argument by the way of intellectual intimidation.
Ambiguity and vagueness especially, can be over come by
definition. There are 5 kinds of definitions.
1) Ostensive- indicated by pointing at a thing example to which the
Problems- not always clear which feature you are eluding to
2) Reportive (or lexical)- intended to capture the literal meaning
(or denotation) of a word.
Problem- scope of definition two broad or to narrow
Not circular- difference between explain and mean, they are not the
3) stipulative- specifying a new or special use of a term. Usually to
narrow and clarify a specific use of a term
problem- you can make any word mean anything. Ex- by table I mean space monster
4) Persuasive- implicit, a new or denotation to a word while
preserving its previous emotional associations. ( new meaning of word
while still keeping the old one)attempts to alter attitudes beliefs,
favorably or unfavorably, usually without argument.
Problem- not bad as long as you don’t change your opinion without
5) Operational- a type of stipulative definition with a narrow
specification of a procedure that a word implies.
Problems- procedure specified may not be good enough.
CHAPTER 4 GOOD ARGUMENTS INTRODUCTIO