Philosophy Critical Thinking

" And there are a lot of different things that she might say in response.

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Okay, our last topic is to distinguish two different types of arguments.

So I'm gonna put up here, on the left, the orange argument, which is the second response that your friend gave, "Monty's really shy" and[br]"He rarely goes to parties." On the right we'll put[br]the purple argument, "Monty's in Beijing" and "He can't get from Beijing[br]to the party in time." Both of them have the same conclusion, "Monty won't be at the party." Now, as I said before, both of these are good arguments, they both do give you reason to believe the conclusion, i.e., both of them have premises which support the conclusion, but there's an important difference between the two arguments[br]that I want to point out.

If he's really shy and[br]rarely goes to parties, then it's probable that he[br]won't be at tonight's party.

Similarly, the third reason[br]also gives you a good reason to believe that[br]Monty won't be at the party.

I teach at Northern Illinois University, and this is an introduction[br]to critical thinking. And third, what's the difference between deductive and ampliative arguments? Well, fundamentally, critical thinking is about making sure that you have good reasons for your beliefs. So suppose that you and your friend are talking about who's[br]gonna be at tonight's party.

In this lesson, we're gonna[br]talk about three things. And she says to you, quite confidently, "Monty won't be at the party." You're not sure whether[br]or not to believe her, so it would be natural[br]for you to follow up by asking, "Why do you think so?So, for example, we can consider one of your friend's responses[br]before as an argument.She's given you two statements, "Monty's really shy" and[br]"Monty rarely goes to parties," which together comprise[br]a reason for believing that Monty won't be at the party.I'm not using it to indicate anything having to do with morality or ethics.So it's not morally right or morally good to believe something on[br]the basis of good reasons.If he's in Beijing, and[br]it's impossible to get here from Beijing in an afternoon,[br]then it's guaranteed that he won't be at the party.And when you notice things like that, when you distinguish between good and bad reasons for believing something, you're exercising your[br]critical thinking skills.First, she might say, "I can't stand him, and I want to have a good time." Second, she might say,[br]"Well, he's really shy, and he rarely goes to parties." And third, she might say, "He's in Beijing, and it's impossible to get here from[br]Beijing in an afternoon." The first response that she gives you does not give you a good reason to believe that Monty won't be at the party.The second reason,[br]though, is a good reason to believe that Monty[br]won't be at the party.Rational people want to have true beliefs, and they want not to have false beliefs.And the best way to be[br]rational in this way is to form beliefs only when you find good reasons for them.


Comments Philosophy Critical Thinking

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