GSU PHIL 1010 - 1010 Copyrighted Chapter 1 (40 pages)

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1010 Copyrighted Chapter 1



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1010 Copyrighted Chapter 1

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Pages:
40
School:
Georgia State University
Course:
Phil 1010 - Critical Thinking
Critical Thinking Documents
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1 Critical Thinking and Arguments Call me Ishmael Some years ago never mind how long precisely having little or no money in my purse and nothing particular to interest me on shore I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world Herman Melville Moby Dick 2008 1851 1 Our prior cases make two propositions abundantly clear First the fact that the governing majority in a State has traditionally viewed a particular practice as immoral is not a sufficient reason for upholding a law prohibiting the practice neither history nor tradition could save a law prohibiting miscegenation from constitutional attack Second individual decisions by persons concerning the intimacies of their physical relationship are a form of liberty protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution The petitioners are entitled to respect for their private lives The State cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime Their right to liberty under the Due Process Clause gives them the right to engage in private homosexual conduct without intervention of the government Lawrence v Texas 2003 17 18 material added and omitted Learning Outcomes After studying the material in this chapter you should be able to 4 LO1 Identify arguments LO2 Identify the conclusion and premise s of arguments LO3 Put arguments into standard form LO4 Identify main arguments and subarguments NOT FOR SALE What Is Critical Thinking 5 critical thinking is the skill of making decisions based on good reasons Learning to think critically is one of the most valuable skills you can acquire because it can be brought to bear on any issue Critical thinking has led people to create ideas and inventions that make life today dramatically better than it was in the past When you give reasons for what you believe you make arguments In this way critical thinking is linked to arguments The first passage on the previous page is the first sentence of Moby Dick a famous novel The second passage is part of the U S Supreme Court ruling that held that states may not ban private homosexual conduct The first passage doesn t make an argument The second does In this book we ll focus on passages that make arguments We ll work on identifying arguments and on determining whether arguments are good or bad What Is Critical Thinking Suppose that a professor in an economics course asks you to write a paper about whether gas prices will rise or fall over the next six months How should you decide what you believe One option would be to flip a coin Heads you decide to believe that gas prices will rise Tails you decide to believe that gas prices will fall Another option would be to consult an astrologer and believe what the stars tell you Neither of these is an example of critical thinking To use critical thinking skills to write your paper about gas prices you need to look for good reasons to think that gas prices will rise and good reasons to think that gas prices will fall Then you need to determine which reasons are better When you provide reasons for believing something you make an argument Here s an argument for the view that gas prices will rise Over the next six months China will have an increased demand for gas and other petroleum products So the price of gas will rise Here s an argument for the view that gas prices will fall Over the next six months Saudi Arabia will increase oil production So gas prices will fall Unlike someone who flips a coin to decide what to believe about gas prices someone who considers arguments is beginning to think critically Critical thinking is the skill of correctly evaluating arguments made by others and composing good arguments of your own Arguments can be about any subject For this reason critical thinking is an important skill You should use it in every college course you take and throughout the rest of your life NOT FOR SALE Key Term Critical thinking is the skill of correctly evaluating arguments made by others and composing good arguments of your own 6 Chapter 1 Critical Thinking and Arguments Many skills other than critical thinking are important The ability to quickly and correctly multiply is an essential life skill but it isn t critical thinking The ability to safely handle equipment in a chemistry lab is essential for doing well in chemistry classes but it isn t a critical thinking skill neither are reading writing study artistic interpersonal or time management skills Critical thinking isn t knowing facts Knowing facts is important in all college courses You won t do well in history if you think that the United States has existed for 500 years You won t do well in accounting if you don t know a debit from a credit Knowing facts is also vital outside of class Lots of people have lost lots of money because they didn t know important facts about their investments For centuries lack of knowledge about germs caused countless deaths But you can fail a course and make serious mistakes in life even when you know lots of facts If you can t think critically the facts you know are just floating around in your head You must use critical thinking skills to understand facts to put them into context and to see how they re connected to each other Habits of a Critical Thinker Self Reflection If you look back at the Key Term note above you ll see that the skill of critical thinking includes composing good arguments of your own Finding the strengths and flaws in the arguments made by others is usually easier than making arguments of your own Good critical thinkers compose their own arguments subject them to critical analysis and use what they ve learned from this critical analysis to compose new and better arguments Evaluating your own arguments is part of being self reflective Good critical thinkers know their own thoughts They stop and ask themselves What am I thinking They evaluate their own arguments You don t know your own thoughts unless you think about them Self reflective thinkers think about where their thoughts come from Did someone else put this LO1 LO2 thought into my head If so does that person have anything to gain from my having this thought Am I prone to these sorts of thoughts even though I shouldn t be A self reflective person might discover that she tends to see the downside of things If she is aware of that bias she has the opportunity to combat it Self reflective thinkers think about what they are doing with their


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