IMPORTANT by dandanhuanghuang

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									 AS Level Critical Thinking

(3) WHAT ARE
ARGUMENTS AND
WHY ARE THEY
IMPORTANT?
WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING ARE ARGUMENTS
AND WHY?


   (1) ‘For heaven’s sake go and clear up that
    mess in your room.’ ‘Why should I?’

   (2) ‘For heaven’s sake go and clear up that
    mess in your room.’ Why should I? We pay the
    cleaner to do that and besides, my sister never
    cleans her room.’
    Do this conversation illustrate different types
    of argument? …1



   1. ‘For heaven’s sake go and clear up that mess
        in your room.’

      ‘Why should I?’

      ANALYSIS: This is an argument in the sense that
      people disagree about something.
Does this conversation illustrate different types
of argument? … 2

   2. ‘For heaven’s sake go and clear up that
        mess in your room.’

      ‘Why should I? We pay the cleaner to do that
       and besides, my sister never cleans her
       room.’

      ANALYSIS: In the second conversation people
      are still disagreeing but there is an argument
      being used in another sense - reasons are being
      given for not tidying the room. There is an
      attempt to persuade not just to refuse to
      cooperate.
ARGUMENT IN CRITICAL THINKING


   It is the second sense of the word ‘argument’
    that it is central to Critical Thinking:
   KEY DEFINITION: ‘An argument is an attempt to
    persuade      by giving reasons which lead to a
    conclusion.’

   EXAMPLES:
   (1) ‘The film is really challenging and interesting.
    You would benefit from seeing it.’
   (2) ‘Drinking alcohol before you drive your car can
    impair your judgment. It’s better to have nothing
    to drink if you intend to drive.’
WHY ARE
ARGUMENTS
IMPORTANT?
    WHY ARE ARGUMENTS IMPORTANT?



   Arguments     play    a   central    part in    any
    communication, written or verbal, where we are
    trying to persuade or convince someone to think
    about a problem in a particular way or to get them
    to choose a particular course of action

   This is why the quality of the arguments we
    construct and our ability to challenge arguments
    put by others are fundamentally important skills in
    a range of situations and contexts
ARGUMENTS AND EXPLANATIONS

   Explanations for something are often expressed
    in language similar to that of an argument.
   C F Ennis has devised a test to help distinguish between
    an argument and an explanation:
   ‘If the author seems to assume that the consequence
    is true then you probably have a causal explanation;
    on the other hand, if the author is trying to prove the
    consequence, then it is probably an argument.’

   EXAMPLES:
   (1) ‘Charles 1 died because his head was cut off.’ is an
    explanation.
   (2) ‘Fewer cars and we will have less damage to the
    ozone layer’ is an argument.
    EVALUATING ARGUMENTS AND EXPLANATIONS
   Sometimes an explanation can look like an
    argument and telling the difference is important
    because we would want to evaluate them in different ways.

   The question to ask about an argument is whether or not it
    has succeeded in persuading.

   In an explanation the part which might look like a
    conclusion is assumed to be true. This might need to be
    challenged.

   In evaluating an explanation we need to ask: have all the
    alternatives been considered and is there evidence to rule
    out other possibilities or support the one that is offered?

								
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