Critical Thinking Lecture 2:
Conditionals and Deduction
Last time we learned that an argument consist of premises and a conclusion,
and that premises can be linked or convergent. This week we will look at a very
important form of argume
Critical Thinking Lecture 5:
Induction and Inductive Scepticism
5.1 Begging the Question
We have seen that sound deductive arguments seem pretty impressive. They
guarantee the truth of their conclusions! Does this mean that, whenever we are unsure of
Critical Thinking Lecture 3:
3.1 Invalid Conditional Arguments
As we have seen, a valid deductive argument is one in which that the truth of
the premises guarantees the truth of the conclusion. If a deductive argument is valid,
then it is i
Critical Thinking Lecture 7:
Abduction & Conspiracy Theories
So far we have considered deduction and inductive generalisation, and set out
criteria for what constitutes good or bad deductive arguments and inductive
generalisations. The cri
Critical Thinking Lecture 10:
Probabilistic and Statistical Reasoning
10.1 Ambiguous Averages
Mark Twain made the following confession:
Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself;
in which case the remark attributed to
Critical Thinking Lecture 11:
Analogies and Fallacies
11.1 Analogies as Illustrations and as Arguments
An analogy is a comparison between two similar things, events or states of affairs.
Some analogies are intended to be illustrative or figurative rathe
Critical Thinking Lecture 8:
8.1 Causal Explanations
An important sub-branch of abduction is causal arguments. Causal explanations
are very common in everyday life, in the media, and in science.
e.g. The Space Shuttle blew up on re-entr
Critical Thinking Lecture 12:
12.1 False Dilemmas
A dilemma is a situation in which we face a choice between two options. e.g. At
a T-junction, I could turn left or I could turn right. I could believe p or I could believe not
p. In philos
Critical Thinking Lecture 6:
Inductive Generalisations and Surveys
6.1 Inductive Generalisations
An inductive generalisation is a form of inductive argument which includes in
its premises claims about only particular cases (usually observed cases) but dra
Critical Thinking Lecture 9:
Science, Pseudo-Science & Non-Science
9.1 What is Science?
In the US for the past few years there has been controversy raging over the
status of Intelligent Design Theory and whether it should be taught in school science
Critical Thinking Lecture 1:
Introduction, Arguments and Explanations
This is PHIL 2642: Critical Thinking. Information concerning class times,
assessment, web resources, etc. can be found on your unit handout.
In this unit we will be inv
Critical Thinking Exercises from Lecture 3
1. State the necessary and sufficient conditions for the conditional claim in these
arguments. What is the form of each of the arguments? Is this a valid form or an
a) A robot doesn't have DNA, and
Exercises from Lecture 10
1) In the following cases, is the argument convincing? What more information about the data
would you need to know in order to assess the conclusion?
a) The number of students at Sydney University who are caught cheating has rise
Exercises from week 12
1. Write a brief response to the following letter, and in your response commit a straw person
fallacy, a fallacious appeal to authority, a circumstantial ad hominem fallacy, a false dilemma
and a tu quoque fallacy.
Letter: We should
Critical Thinking Exercises from lecture 1:
1) Which of these are arguments? (Find the premises and conclusions.) Which are explanations?
(Find the explanandum and the explanans.) Which are just claims?
a) Trev: Stuart McGill is a better spin bowler than
Exercises from lecture 4:
1. Which form of definition (ostensive, descriptive, stipulative) would you use in each
case, and why?
a) Defining the word "landlord" in a legal contract.
b) Explaining the meaning of "interest rates" to your friend.
Exercises from Lecture 8: Causal Arguments
1) Assess the strength of the following causal arguments? What evidence would we look for to test
a) According to the forensics report, the car crash was caused by the car taking the corner too fast, and
1. For each of the following arguments, determine if it is a deductive argument, an inductive
generalisation or an abductive argument.
From the conversations I have been having with friends, colleagues, and family, it is clear that
most people are conc
Exercises for week 11: Analogies and Fallacies
1) Are the following arguments by analogy convincing?
a) Astronauts were able to walk around on the surface of the moon, and the moon is about as big as the
planet Mercury, so astronauts would also be able to
Exercises from Lecture 6
1) For the following inductive generalisations:
Identify the sample, the population, the measurement instrument, the detected
property and the target property.
Assess the strength of the argument.
a) Matthew had a pet rabbit for y
Critical Thinking Exercises from Lecture 2
1. (i) State the necessary and sufficient condition of each of these conditional
claims. Rewrite the claims in the form of If then . (If you have time, try
rewriting them in the forms is necessary for and is suff
Critical Thinking Lecture 4:
Definitions and Philosophical Analysis
We have been exploring conditionals and deductive arguments. As we have
seen, conditional statements consist of a sufficient condition and a necessary
condition. In this lec