Not Just another Critical Thinking Skill: Recognise what is Not Being Said
Many arguments can contain hidden (latent or implicit) elements for various reasons. Which means that not all elements of an argument are spelt out explicitly and figuring out what is missing can sometimes be pretty challenging.
But why would it be important to figure out if something is not spelt out explicitly and hidden? When analysing an argument we want to make sure that there is a logical reasoning line linking the reasons, warrants and conclusions. By not spelling out certain parts of the argument, the writer or speaker might intend to use unproven warrants or reasons. As you can see in the diagram above, a good argument should have supporting evidence for the reason, but also supporting evidence for the warrant. So identifying any hidden elements can help us understand if there is any evidence needed which is not provided, or if there is any false assumption made.
Critical Thinking Flawless Structure: 5 Essential Tips
You should aim to adopt a logical order in your writing. A good critical thinker makes sense of chaotic reasons and puts order where before there was none. Logical order can be achieved with a good structure that follows a logical line of thinking. Here are the main points to consider for your argument’s structure. Each of these are further detailed in the next sections.
What is NOT an Argument: Straight Talk about Critical Thinking
It’s important to be able to recognize non-arguments so that you can effectively move to the essential part of a text: the argument(s). Depending on the language, style of writing, cultural factors and type of text, you’ll find that many arguments are surrounded by supporting information, such as summaries, explanations, descriptions or disagreements. Recognizing these types of material quickly, allows you to allocate more time towards finding and analysing the argument.
Critical Thinking and Psychedelic Drugs for Depression
Are you having challenges picking up the main idea of an article, deciding whether the author makes a good argument, so then you can make up your own mind about the issue at hand? Then keep reading, as you will find some fantastic tools which will help you improve your critical thinking. Having the skills to analyse arguments presented to us in various forms (newspaper articles, political debate, academic essays etc.) provides a net advantage of clear, rational thinking. Critical thinking at its core deals with analysing arguments and this is the area I will dive into today.
Stasis Theory in Critical Thinking
Stasis Theory offers a systematic way of asking questions about issues being debated. When two opponents discuss a certain matter, they must come to a point where they agree on what the matter being discussed is, or otherwise put, what is at issue. Another way to put it would be: what is it that we agree to disagree on?
Stasis theory can help a great deal in critical thinking, both through reading and understanding, as well as in writing.
Analysing Arguments with Argumentful
Many issues today call for analysing arguments. In this blog post I am analysing an argument by creating an argument map with Argumentful. The aim is to understand with more clarity what it is that the author is trying to convince us of, and whether the evidence he is using to support the main claim guides us logically to the conclusion. Although all reasons and conclusions might be correct, there must be a line of logical reasoning that move us from the reasons to the conclusion.
Logical Fallacies in Guardian’s Comments
Let’s talk logical fallacies. Rather than discussing these from a theoretical standpoint, I selected a Guardian Science Weekly entry- the podcast discussing comparisons between different countries on Covid-19. In it, mathematician Kit Yates talks about how helpful it is to compare the numbers reported by countries. He concludes that right now it is very difficult to compare the countries because they each have their different ways of measuring, and perhaps we’ll be able to make some useful comparisons after the event will have passed and all nations will have reported their numbers in a consistent manner.
About the Higher Death Rates from COVID-19 amongst BAME People
As we’ve mentioned in the previous posts, such research, which can be classified as a cross-sectional observational study, can’t explain the cause of this racial disparity. However, the findings are valid and do signal an important problem which needs to be understood and resolved in order to reduce mortality rates.
Identifying Arguments in Texts
Finding the argument in a discussion or the central idea in an article is easy, right? Just check out our examples of deductive and inductive reasoning! Well, not so fast! Some basic tutorials in argumentation would certainly have you believe that. But step away from the classic example- All humans are mortal/ Socrates is a man/ Therefore Socrates is mortal- and you might find yourself in muddy territory. It’s enough to pick up a newspaper article or academic essay and realize things are not so simple. You soon find yourself in the middle of a conversation which started way before you got there. There are comparisons included, ironies thrown, not to mention unstated opinions that you need to pick up with a fine tooth comb. All while trying to figure out the central idea or the author’s position on a specific issue.
Deductive Vs Inductive Reasoning
Deductive reasoning is the process by which we come to a certain and specific logical conclusion starting from given general premises. By contrast, inductive reasoning is the process by which we come to a probable and general conclusion starting from specific observations.
Coronavirus and Men – Yet Another Observational Study
Just as we were publishing the last post about the potential effects of pollution on mortality rates, the tabloids were busy digging up another study (so fresh it hasn't even been peer-reviewed) which suggests a potential explanation for men being more affected by the...
Coronavirus and Pollution – the Limitations of Observational Studies
We’re not fully satisfied with the tone of the articles which, similar to general approaches to media reporting, emphasised the fact that it’s a study (rather than some opinion), the fact that the authors are professors at important universities or that it was published in a reputable journal. We see that as important only to eliminate the suspicion of fake news, which would fall upon the study if it was published on some dodgy website. But it does appeal to authority which is not 100% scientific. The most important aspect is Methodology.
Constructing Arguments with Toulmin Method
Toulmin argued for a model of reliable arguments: for an argument to be considered good, it has to be formed of six components, divided in two groups.
How Artistic Proof is used to Influence People
Artistic proof is a term used in classical rhetoric and it refers to the means of persuasion that a speaker could employ. ‘Proof’ being the actual mean of persuasion. “Artistic” because the person who employs it has to work at creating it, it does not occur by itself in the same way a fact which constitutes evidence occurs.
Debunking the Fake News about the Coronavirus Origins
What is the cause of COVID-19? Conspiracy theories Vs. scientific studies.
What is Critical Thinking?
Life is all about choices. Or others might like to say it is about decisions. When we look back at our personal history, we might be tempted to believe that things happened to us, that events took over, that we were drifted on life’s waves. But is it really so? Try to...
Fake News, Misinformation and Disinformation. What to Look Out for, as a Normal Human Being
If we were to post a picture of a chubby golden Labrador on ANY social network, it would get 100+ likes in a few hours. In contrast, the following pinned tweet has received only 14 likes (including ours) since 2018. A reshare of a same research posted by @twistopherrobin almost a year ago received one like, from us. What’s wrong with the world in just one paragraph.
Caloric Restriction for a Longer Life. 17 Disinformation Techniques
A list of 17 disinformation techniques allegedly employed by Russia in its fight against “The West”.
What is the Best Pink Floyd Album?
We’re writing this post just to show how science deals with such questions because, amongst ourselves, we’ve settled this dispute a long time ago: Wish you were here (1975) is the best album!
Free Online Course on Rationality, AI Antibiotics, Science in Tabloids, Robots
The peer-reviewed journal Cell published a paper about the use of machine learning to identify new antibiotics. The approach used was to train a deep learning model using the ZINC15 database which contains millions of compounds. The algorithm found 23 potential antibiotics, eight of which were structurally different from any known antibiotics. One of them named halicin which worked when tested on mice.
Weekly News Update – 17th February
We’re starting a new section on this blog to include interesting news we’ve stumbled upon over the last week. It will all be related to science or critical thinking and we’ll try to keep cat and puppy videos to a minimum.