Critical Thinking I
Instructions: A passage is given below. The instructions for the passage are the following:
(a) Under the heading “The author argues that,” list the explicit conclusions for which the author
argues (if there are any).
(b) Under the heading “The author explains why,” list the explicit statements for which the
author provides a causal explanation (if there are any). Reminder: a causal explanation is an
explanation that answers a “why” question, such as “Why did Jill break up with Jack?”
Note: There may be some items that belong in both lists. This will be the case if there are some
explicit statements in the passage for which the author argues and for which the author also
provides a causal explanation.
Passage: Harriet must be amused because she is laughing. She is laughing because Hans told her
a joke. Unfortunately, Harriet doesn’t like to laugh – everybody knows that this is true. But why
doesn’t she like to laugh? The answer is that whenever she laughs she gets a headache.
Therefore, it’s too bad that Hans told her a joke.
(a) The author argues that:
1. Harriet must be amused.
2. It’s too bad that Hans told Harriet a joke.
(b) The author explains why:
1. Harriet is laughing.
2. Harriet doesn’t like to laugh.
3. It’s too bad that Hans told Harriet a joke.
Background information: The following passage consists of excerpts from an article by Stephen
Marche entitled “Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?” The article appeared in
magazine in May 2012. Some of the excerpted paragraphs have been shortened. The passage