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Developing Critical Thinking Skills with The Colbert Report

D statistics need a critical eye numbersstatistics can

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Unformatted text preview: of arguing? (Introduction) A. “to give an argument” = to offer a set of reasons or evidence in support of a conclusion 1. Arguments are efforts to support certain views with reasons 2. Arguments are essential not pointless B. Argument is a means of inquiry – we cannot determine is an argument is “right” based only on our current opinion. Many issues are involved and we need to examine varying arguments by asking questions. (Book provides the example of factory farming animals). C. Real argument takes time and practice – preparing our reasons, relating our conclusions to evidence, and considering objections are all acquired skills. 1. Argument helps our minds to become more flexible, open- ended, and alert 2. Through argument we can appreciate the difference critical thinking can make III. Rules for Short Arguments (Chapter 1) A. Identify premises and conclusions – determine what you are trying to prove. Your conclusion is the statement for which you are giving reasons. Your premises are statements that give your reasons for the conclusion. B. Develop your ideas in a natural order – since short arguments are developed in one or two paragraphs, you should put your conclusion first then follow with your premises. However, it may be just as effective to give your premises and then draw conclusions. Either way, it is about developing your ideas in an order that seems logical and natural. C. Start from reliable premises – if your premises are weak, then your conclusion and argument will be weak. D. Be concrete and concise – avoid abstract, vague, and general terms…be as specific as possible. E. Build on substance not overtone – in other words, offer actual reasons not emotionally loaded words. F. Use consistent terms – a short argument usually has a single theme or thread that carries one idea through several steps. Carefully choose clear terms and use those terms again and again throughout the argument. 5 The Academy for Teaching and Learning Excellence (ATLE) “Office hours for faculty.” (813) 974- 1841 | atle.usf.edu| [email protected] IV. Generalizations – Assessing Arguments by Example (Chapter 2) A. Use more than one example – a single example is useful as an illustration of an idea, but it offers little...
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