Critical thinkingJames PowellIM / TMAHvA University of Applied Sciences, Amsterdamj.email@example.com
What’s your point?IdentifyingargumentsWhy identify arguments?Must you agree for anargument to be valid?Are arguments you agreewith necessarily goodarguments?
The componentsof a goodargumentArguments refer to: Contributing arguments i.e.individual reasons incl. premises Overall arguments i.e. theconclusion, the position, the motion tobe provedLine of reasoning refers to the waythe contributing arguments supportthe overall argument.
Activity 1Longer prison sentences should beintroduced. Heavy punishments detercriminals. Current penalties for crimesare too lenient and don’t detercriminals. Since prison sentenceswere reduced, crime has increased. Inaddition, victims need to see thatperpetrators are punished.Q1. Which sentences are thesupporting arguments?Q2. What is the overall argument ofthis text?
Activity 2We should stop investing in spacetravel. Space travel is expensive andthe costs outweigh the benefits. Thereare much more urgent projects thatneed investment more than spacetravel. Better alternatives for fuel maybe available in the future.Q1. Which sentences are thesupporting arguments?Q2. What is the overall argument ofthis text?
Activity 3Now for something a bit more difficult!First, turn to page 45 of your CriticalThinking Skills book and do ex’s 3.18& 3.19.Identify the main argument, reasonsand conclusions.When this is done, take a look at thisvideo. WARNING! Contains apolitician!Tony Blair, speech, 2001
Activity 4Tony Blair, speech, 2001Now answer the following questions:1. What is/are his overall argument(s)?2. What are the main supportingarguments?(Hint. 1. Tony Blair’s speech can be basicallysummed up with two, related, but separateoverall arguments. 2. There are a number of“right” answers, here.)
Feedback - Activity 4Tony Blair’s speech can be basically summed up with two, related, but separateoverall arguments:1. We need to defeat terrorism or be defeated by it2. We must build an international community in order to bring freedom, justiceand democracy to the people around the world.He supports these arguments with (there are others and you may well have noteddown different examples):Supporting arguments for overall argument 1- I believe their memorial can and should be greater than simply the punishmentof the guilty.- Other efforts have failed (not lashing out, not killing innocent people, giving anultimatum)- Diplomacy is futile- Understanding the causes of terrorism is not appropriate in this case– There is no compromise possible with such people, no meeting of minds, nopoint of understanding with such terrorSupporting arguments for overall argument 2- We are realising how fragile are our frontiers in the face of the world’s newchallenges- Today conflicts rarely stay within national boundaries- Our self-interest and our mutual interests are today inextricably woven together- If globalisation works only for the benefit of the few, then it will fail and willdeserve to fail
Now it’syour turn...For last week’s homework, you chosea text / video. Volunteers, please?! Tellus: the overall argument / story; at least 3 supporting arguments (ifapplicable, otherwise move on to...); the examples used to illustrate thesupporting arguments.Discuss...
Mid-term presentationThe mid-term presentation is an opportunity to “show off” the skills that you willlearn in the first half of this course. It counts for 30%. It’s a group assignment.You will primarily be assessed on your ability to: present an objective background to an issue identify the relevant “stakeholders” surrounding an issue gather views from a range of different sources gather views from a range of different perspectives recognise the “gaps” in your knowledge
Mid-term presentationLoosely speaking, your presentation should follow this basic structure:Introduce the motion and why you have chosen it i.e. it’s relevanceOutline those parties you felt to have a stake in this issue and whyIntroduce / summarise (approx.) 5 different articles that you have sourcedFor each, detail their overall argument; the supporting arguments and premises;For each, outline in what ways their arguments might be biased and/or flawedOutline, on balance, which additional perspectives would be needed to form a“well-rounded” conclusion to this motion**It is important that you DON’T form a concluding judgement on the motion. By which, is meant, it is not the purpose of this exercise touncover some “truth” or “right answer”. Rather, to outline the breadth and complexity of the issue.
Homework Extra materials: Information on the ideas discussed in today’s lesson, see Ch.3 of the Critical Thinking Skills coursebookFor next lesson: SeeDecide on your presentation topic, www.themindfulthinker.com forand bring three articles (printed) these activities and more.that relate to this topic Extra resources and information on Critical Thinking can also be found at the following websites: http://philosophy.hku.hk/think http://www.criticalthinking.org