Developing Critical Thinking Skills with The Colbert Report

You may also have to try several forms of argument

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Unformatted text preview: An impartial source is found with people or organizations that do not have a stake in the immediate issue and who have a prior and primary interest in accuracy. Also, sources that spend their time making extreme or simplistic claims or spend too much time attacking and demeaning the other side weaken their own position. D. Cross- check sources – it is important to consult and compare a variety of sources to determine if other equally good authorities agree. Disagreement between authorities does not mean that a source should not be used rather it simply means that there is no consensus on an argument. Therefore, care should be used when determining your own position on the topic. E. Use the Web with care – since the Web allows anyone to say anything at any time, only rely on websites that are identifiable and independently reputable. If the source of a website cannot be determined then it should not be trusted as an informed source. Key questions: who created the site? Why did they create it? What are their qualifications? What does it mean if they don’t tell you this information? How can you double- check and cross- check its claims? VII. Arguments about Causes (Chapter 5) A. Causal arguments start with correlations – correlations are regular associations between two events/conditions or kinds of events/conditions. Correlations suggest causality. Inverse correlations (this increases while that decreases) can also suggest causality and non- correlations imply a lack of cause. B. Correlations may have alternative explanations – any correlation may be explained in multiple ways because the correlation may be coincidental, correlation itself does not determine the direction of the connection, other factors may underlie and explain both correlates, and multiple or complex causes may be at work. C. Work toward the most likely explanation – start by filling in the connections to spell out how each explanation could make sense. To fill in the connections, you need more information. D. Expect complexity – there are many factors at work and causes and effects may interpenetrate as well. VIII. Deductive Arguments (Chapter 6) A. A deductive argument is an argument that if its premises are true then the conclusion must also be true. Properly formed deductive arguments are called valid arguments. 7 The Academy for Teaching and Learning Excellence (ATLE) “Office hours for faculty.” (813) 974- 1841 || [email protected] B. Modus ponens – “the mode of putting” – the simplest valid deductive form. For example: If (sentence x) then (sentence y). (Sentence x). Therefore, (sentence y). C. Modus tollens – “the mode of taking” – a second valid deductive form. For example: If x then y. Not- y. Therefore, not- x. D. Hypothetical syllogism – a third valid deductive form. For example: If x then y. If y then a. Therefore, if x then a. E. Disjunctive syllogism – a fourth valid deductive form. For example: x or y. Not- x. Therefore, y. F. Dilemma – a fifth valid deductive form. For example: x or y. If x then a. If y then b. Therefore, a or b. G. Reductio ad absurdum – “reduction to abs...
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