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Module 1 Lecture- Wed, Sept 18, 2013.docx

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Department
Modes Of Reasoning
Course
MODR 1730
Professor
Philip Mac Ewen
Semester
Fall

Description
Module 1 – Getting Started in Argument and Argumentation 1.1 Introduction  We reason in many aspects of our daily lives – ex. to make a judgment, analyze, ask questions, explain an event, and apply an idea or when we follow or give directions etc. Reasoning – Process of connecting and assessing ideas  To develop our reasoning and argument skills is to reason more accurately o Which involves differentiating if our judgment is an opinion, or from a reasoned basis, and if it is based on evidence or unexamined beliefs and claims  We often reason implicitly based on environmental influences without critical analysis o Critical= looking at details of issue and evaluating o Analysis= Breaking ideas down in parts to further asses them Critical Reasoning – Thinking systematically (analytically) and reflecting on our reasons by analyzing and evaluating them according to standards + assessing standards used in evaluation In other words…Reasoning explicitly and being critical about it 1. Helps us make better decisions –we analyze our claims against standards of good reasoning and evaluate the accuracy/truth/reality of those reasons. ex. decision to choose a major based on more than interest in the subject but thinking about the future and job market in your decision as well. 2. Helps us become autonomous (independent) – Instead of naively accepting ideas of those around us, we begin to critically asses the ideas we are exposed to and make decisions that are more reflective of who we are as individuals – choices are becomes ours, not a reflection of others 1.2 Why Think Critically?  Critical thinking is not criticizing others reasons on a position, critical thinkers are not “flaw catchers”  Critical thinking involves developing arguments to support positions + responding to the challenges of those arguments – gain better understanding of positions  Barriers to Critical reasoning and thinking: feelings, prejudices, assumptions, group membership, prior knowledge, faulty reasoning, native patterns of reasoning, time or interest etc.  Intrinsic reason (why something is good for its own sake) way one should view learning how to effectively use critical thinking as it has practical benefits  Practical benefits - Help us make better decisions, understand the world more clearly and distinguish b/w true and false claims (Practical decision in daily life = many practical questions) ex. Listening to horoscopes? Where to invest money? Do vaccines cause autism?  Other Benefits of Critical Thinking: 1. Basic to knowing and defending our freedom of rights – basis of democratic public – To defend our rights/freedoms we must understand their meaning and functions + understand their implications and consequences 2. Help us see false/misleading claims, identify what is important, and make selections on which policy or individuals will support general welfare – make autonomous decisions 1.3 Claims: Opinions Reasoned Opinions, and Evidence Claim – statement that can be true or false. Not a question or exclamation but an answer can be a claim.  Claims are complete sentence; not phrase/sentence fragments such as “downloading copyright material” – not all sentences are claims. ex. AIDS is a serious various – is a claim  Claims have both a subject and predicate. Subjects are what claims talk about and predicates are what they say about their subjects  You can have more than one predicate as there are multiple premises (reasons) with a common subject such as “Critical thinking is valuable because it(subject) helps us think more clearly and make better decisions” (predicate)  There is no justification to accept claims, they are just statements, however we do accept claims easily without evidence/justification or analysis o Supported Claim – claim for which we provide support, justification or evidence o Unsupported Claim – claim for which no evidence or support is given  To know if a claim is true or false we need justification or evidence! Opinion – Is an unsupported belief  Some believe claims are opinions if so that would mean that the truth or falseness of an argument would be based on personal belief or onion and critical thinking would not be needed in seeking truth or understanding – reasoning would be purely subjective in nature Simple Opinion – Belief for which no explicit reasons are provided  Not enough for someone to believe or adopt one’s opinion or understanding a position  Satisfying “the Why?” Is the critical element to understanding a position and reasoning/argument Reasoned Opinions – Belief for which explicit reasons are provided  Reasoned opinions allow for us to engage in argument about  Gives us the ability to understand our beliefs better and be open to correction if they are wrong  Through arguing about beliefs we grasp a better understanding of what and why we hold commitments to certain beliefs  When we have reasons for our opinions we examine them critically and see if there is a solid basis for accepting them Evidential Claim – A claim for which we can give reason that refer to things in the world independent of subjective belief  Believing a claim does not always make it true, as claims have consequences independent of what we believe about them, ex. If I believe gravity doesn’t exist and walk off the top of the CN Tower I will quickly discover it does exit  Not simply a matter of opinion as it requires evidence outside of anyone’s opinion or belief Tolerance – practice of recognizing and respecting the beliefs and practices of others  Often confused, to be tolerant doesn’t mean we should accept all beliefs as equally legitimate as not all reason or argument are equally good  Respecting that others can hold any belief but not accepting their beliefs too  Out of respect it is worthy to challenge or correct false reasoning and beliefs, however the individual has the right not to accept your opinion, no forcing to believe - you most respect other choices  We show greater respect for others by engaging in rational argumentation about their ideas, then simply tolerating everyone’s beliefs and whatever they think 1.4 Arguments Argument – A set of at least 2 claims, one is a response, justification or evidence of another Conclusion – The claim that the writer or speaker is trying to convince another person to accept, ex. Reason – Premise; Claims that provides support, evidence, or justification for the conclusion (evidence on why you should accept the claim/argument)  Reason(s) + Conclusion = Argument ex 1. No one under eighteen-years-old can vote. (R/P) 2. Jen is under eighteen-years-old. (R/P) 3. Therefore, Jen cannot vote (C)  A premise (reason) is a claim which claims to show that a conclusion is true while a conclusion is the point or claim that a premise(s) claim to show is true  Argument doesn’t have to be considered good to be an argument – needs only 1+ reasons to support the conclusion to be considered an argument Indicator of Premise (Reason) Words Indicator of Conclusion Words Because Then Since Therefore For Thus In view of Consequently Given the fact that It follows that In light of … As a result … If the passage contains no indicator words, try these two strategies: a. Ask yourself, "What claim is the writer or speaker trying to prove?" That claim will be the conclusion. b. Try putting the word "therefore" before each of the statements in turn. The statement it fits best will be the conclusion Argue – Is to give reasons for a conclusion  Everyday meaning of “argue” is the negative idea of a heated confrontation with raised voices and strong emotion – not always correct definition or idea  Argue – allows for people to present reason for their claims in argument – to understand each side while providing support for the argument 1.5 From Arguments to Argumentation The Critical Analysis and Evaluation of arguments involves: 1. Understanding meaning of claims by clarifying meaning and paraphrasing (explain using different words) the key claims 2. Identifying the parts of an argument (reason and conclusion) and developing structure of arguments – show how reasons are related to conclusion 3. Evaluating whether the reason supports conclusion 4. Evaluating the truth of the reason(s) 5. Evaluating the argument for errors in reasoning  Good argument tries to establish the truth of the conclusion by showing that the conclusions logically follows from and is justified by good reasons  Reasons provide us with a basis for accepting the conclusion Argumentation – Process of presentation and elaboration of an argument or arguments – to understand an issue more accurately  Dynamic process of reasoning between people – construct argument, present argument and challenging and responding to challenges of others – process until mutual understanding is reached  Through argumentation we get other involved to consider how other might respond to our argument + what alternate arguments they may raise (Presenter + Challenger)  Argument is more of straightforward/static claims, argumentation tracks more of the complex process through which people formulate and defend their claims while following rules Three major components of Argumentation: 1. The Content  Body (substance) about what is being argued: issues, claims, positions, and conclusions from the process of arguing 2. The People  “Argument Partner” – someone who is either defending or critiquing an argument (or sometimes both)  Argument Partners – People who engage in the practice of arguing – argumentation is a co- operative process were both roles are involved in the process of understanding the truth Minimally two roles taken in argumentation: Advocate Challenger Role of defending a position in an argument Role of critiquing a position in an argument *Single individuals can switch roles; or assume both to understand different perspectives of an issue 3. The Process  How people in argument relate to each other (communication, dynamics and how people use principles of argumentation) The Content The People - Roles (Presenter or Advocate Concepts, Claims,, Challenger) Argument and Feelings, Criteria) Interpretations, Perceptions, Point of View, Interests, ValuThe Process Relationships Coomunication, Princples of Argumentation, Dynamics Argumentation 1.6 Reasoning About Issues, Positions, and Reasons  Arguments and argumentation focus on issues Issue – a point of contention within a given context and between at least two points of view that produces disagreement about truth and/or about a problem that produces disagreement about the correct solution  Important skill in critical thinking is being able to identify the precise issue of contention  We take positions on issues and give reasons for those positions  Issues are usually phrased as questions and usually differing answers – any subject may have multiple issues and as a question we can distinguish issue from positions, ex. “Is abortion ever morally wrong” – issue, while “Abortion should be illegal” – position Main Issue – the issue we are trying to resolve or understand, however other issues may also be central  An issue is central to a dispute or inquiry when its resolution is critical to resolving it Criteria for a Well-Formed Issue: 1. Is precise – exact and definite as possible to clearly distinguish different relevant possibilities ex,“Is one morally justified in downloading copyright material from the
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