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Philosophy (Critical Thinking) Test 1 flashcards |
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  • Argument

    A group of statements in which some of them (the premises) are intended to support another of them (conclusion)

    Conclusion

    In an argument, the statement that the premises are intended to support.

    Critical Thinking

    The systematic evaluation or formulation of beliefs, or statements, by rational standards.

    Explanation

    A statement or statements intended to tell why or how something is the case.

    Indicator Words

    Words that frequently accompany arguments and signal that a premise or conclusion is present.

    Inference

    The process of reasoning from a premise or premises to a conclusion based on those premises.

    Logic

    The study of good reasoning, or inference, and the rules that govern it.

    Premise

    In an argument. at statement, or reason, given in support of the conclusion.

    Statement

    An assertion that something is or is not the case.

    Appeal to Common Practice

    The fallacy of accepting or rejecting a claim based solely on what groups of people generally do or how they behave (when the action or behavior is irrelevant to the truth of the claim).

    Appeal to Popularity (or to the masses)

    The fallacy of arguing that a claim must be true merely because a substantial number of people believe it.

    Peer Pressure

    Group pressure to accept or reject a claim based solely on what one's peers think or do.

    Philosophical Skepticism

    The view that we know much less than we think we do or nothing at all.

    Philosophical Skeptics

    Those who embrace philosophical skepticism.

    Social Relativism

    The view that truth is relative to societies.

    Stereotyping

    Drawing an unwarranted conclusion or generalization about an entire group of people.

    Subjective Relativism

    The idea that truth depends on what someone believes.

    Subjective Fallacy

    Accepting the notion of subjective relativism or using it to try to support a claim.

    Worldview

    A philosophy of life; a set of beliefs and theories that helps us make sense of a wide range of issues in life.

    Affirming the Antecedent

    A valid argument form: (Modus Ponens)

    If p, then q.
    p.
    Therefore, q.

    Affirming the Consequent

    An invalid argument form:

    If p, then q.
    q.
    Therefore, p.

    Antecedent

    The part of a conditional statement (if p, then q.), the component that begins with the word if.

    Cogent Argument

    A strong inductive argument with all true premises.

    Conditional Statement

    An "if-then" statement; it consists of the antecedent (the part introduced by the word if) and the consequent (the part introduced by the word then).

    Consequent

    The part of a conditional statement (if p, then q) introduced by the word then.

    Deductive Argument

    An argument intended to provide logically conclusive support for its conclusion.

    Denying the Antecedent

    An invalid argument form:

    If p, then q.
    Not p.
    Therefore, not q.

    Denying the Consequent

    A valid argument form: (Modus Tollens)

    If p, then q.
    Not q.
    Therefore, not p.

    Dependent Premise

    A premise that depends on at least one other premise to provide joint support to a conclusion. If dependent premise is removed, the support that its linked dependent premises supply to the conclusion is undermined or completely canceled out.

    Disjunctive Syllogism

    A valid argument form:

    Either p or q.
    Not P.
    Therefore, q.

    In the syllogism's second premise, either disjunct can be denied.

    Hypothetical Syllogism

    A valid argument made up of three hypothetical, or conditional, statements:

    If p then q.
    If q, then r.
    Therefore, if p, then r.

    Independent Premise

    A premise that does not depend on other premises to provide support to a conclusion. If an independent premise is removed, the support that other premises supply to the conclusion is not affected.

    Inductive Argument

    An argument in which the premises are intended to provide probable, not conclusive, support for its conclusion.

    Invalid Argument

    A deductive argument that fails to provide conclusive support for its conclusion.

    Modus Ponens

    A valid argument form: (Affirming the Antecedent)

    If p, then q.
    p.
    Therefore, q.

    Modus Tollens

    A valid argument form: (Denying the Consequence)

    If p, then q.
    Not q.
    Therefore, not p.

    Sound Argument

    A deductively valid argument that has true premises.

    Strong Argument

    An inductive argument that succeeds in providing probable-but not conclusive-support for its conclusion.

    Syllogism

    A deductive argument made up of three statements- two premises and a conclusion.

    Truth-Preserving

    A characteristic of a valid deductive argument in which the logical structure guarantees the truth of the conclusion if the premises are true.

    Valid Argument

    A deductive argument that succeeds in providing conclusive support for its conclusion.

    Weak Argument

    An inductive argument that fails to provide strong support for its conclusion.

    Appeal to Authority

    The fallacy of relying on the opinion of someone deemed to be an expert who in fact is not an expert.

    Background Information

    The large collection of very well supported beliefs that we all rely on to inform our actions and choices. It consists of basic facts about everyday things, beliefs based on very good evidence, and justified claims that we would regard as "common sense" or "common knowledge."

    Expert

    Someone who is more knowledgeable in a particular subject area or field than most others are.

    Gambler's Fallacy

    The error of thinking that previous events can affect the probabilities in the random event at hand.

    Exercise 1.1 Review Questions

    ...

    What is critical thinking?

    Critical thinking is the systematic evaluation or formulation of beliefs, or claims, by rational standards.

    Is critical thinking primarily concerned with what you think or how you think?

    Critical thinking is primarily concerned with how you think.

    Why is critical thinking systematic?

    Critical thinking is systematic because it involves distinct procedures and methods.

    According to the text, what does it mean to say that critical thinking is done according to rational standards?

    Critical thinking operates according to rational standards in that beliefs are judged by how well they are supported by reasons.

    According to the text, how does a lack of critical thinking cause a loss of personal freedom?

    If you passively accept beliefs that have been handed to you by your parents, your culture, or your teachers, then those beliefs are not really yours. If they are not really yours, and you let them guide your choices and actions, then they-not you-are in charge of your life.

    What does the term critical refer to in critical thinking?

    The critical in critical thinking refers to the exercising of careful judgment and judicious evaluation.

    In what way can feelings and critical thinking complement each other?

    Critical thinking can help us clarify our feelings and deal with them more effectively. Our emotions often need the guidance of reason. Likewise, our reasoning needs our emotions. It is our feelings that motivate us to action, and without motivation our reasoning would never get off the ground.

    What is a statement?

    A statement is a claim that asserts that something is or is not the case.

    Give an example of a statement. Then give an example of a sentence that is not a statement.

    Critical thinking is essential. Is critical thinking essential?

    According to the text, by what standard should we always proportion our acceptance of a statement?

    We should proportion our acceptance of a statement according to the reasons in its favor.

    What is an argument?

    An argument is a claim (or claims) supposedly providing reasons for accepting another claim.

    Give an example of an argument with two premises.

    If the accident happened at 5:00 p.m., it was John's fault. The accident did happen at 5:00 p.m., so it was John's fault.

    What is a premise?

    A premise is a statement given in support of another statement.

    What is a conclusion?

    In an argument, a conclusion is a claim that premises are intended to support.

    Why can't a mere assertion or statement of beliefs constitute an argument?

    An argument requires reasons that support a conclusion; the mere assertion of a belief does not provide reasons.

    Does the following passage contain an argument? I couldn't disagree more with Olivia. She says that video games provoke young men to violence and other insensitive acts. But that's just not true.

    No.

    Does the following passage contain an argument? Alonzo asserts that the government should be able to arrest and imprison anyone if they are suspected of terrorist acts. But that's ridiculous. Doing that would be a violation of basic civil liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

    Yes.

    What are indicator words?

    Indicator words are words that frequently accompany arguments and signal that a premise or conclusion is present.

    List three conclusion indicator words.

    Therefore, consequently, so.

    List three premise indicator words.

    Because, since, for.

    Give an example of a short argument that uses one or more indicator words.

    The poll suggests that most people are happy. Therefore, most of them are happy.

    What is probably the best strategy for trying to find an argument in a complex passage?

    Look for the conclusion first.

    True or False: You can almost always find an argument in narrative writing.

    False

    True or False: All disagreements contain an argument.

    False

    Exercise 1.2

    Indicate whether it is or is not a statement.

    ...

    Now that you're mayor of the city, do you still believe that the city government is a waste of time?

    No claim.

    Do not allow your emotions to distort your thinking.

    No statement

    If someone wants to burn the American flag, they should be able to do it without interference from the police.

    Statement

    Do you think that I'm guilty?

    No claim

    Should our religious beliefs be guided by reason, emotion, or faith?

    No statement

    Stop driving on the left side of the road!

    No statement

    The Vietnam War was a terrible mistake.

    Claim

    The Vietnam War was not a terrible mistake.

    Statement

    I shall do my best to do my duty to God and my country.

    Statement

    Are you doing your best for God and country?

    No claim

    Exercise 1.3

    Indicate whether it constitutes an argument. For each argument specify what the conclusion is.

    ...

    Rene hates Julia, and she always upsets him, so he should avoid her.

    Argument. Conclusion: He should avoid her.

    Rene hates Julia, and his feelings against her cause him tremendous pain.

    No Argument.

    I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

    No Argument.

    Why do you think you have the right to park your car anywhere you please?

    No Argument.

    Drop your gun! You're under arrest.

    No Argument.

    If you smoke that cigarette in here, I will leave the room.

    No Argument.

    The Titanic sank, and no one came to save it.

    No Argument.

    Jesus loves me, for the Bible tells me so.

    Argument. Conclusion: Jesus loves me.

    Spiderman is a better superhero than Superman because kryptonite can't hurt him, and he doesn't have a Lois Lane around to mess things up.

    Argument. Conclusion: Spiderman is a better superhero than Superman.

    "Whether our argument concerns public affairs or some other subject we must know some, if not all, of the facts about the subject on which we are to speak and argue. Otherwise, we can have no materials out of which to construct arguments."

    Argument. Conclusion: Whether our argument concerns public affairs or some other subject we must know some, if not all, of the facts about the subject on which we are to speak and argue.

    If guns are outlawed, then only outlaws will have guns. Don't outlaw guns.

    Argument. Conclusion: Don't outlaw guns.

    If someone says something that offends me, I should have the right to stop that kind of speech. After all, words can assault people just as weapons can.

    Argument. Conclusion: If someone says something that offends me, I should have the right to stop that kind of speech.

    "Citizens who so value their 'independence' that they will not enroll in a political party are really forfeiting independence, because they abandon a share in decision-making at the primary level: the choice of the candidate."

    Argument. Conclusion: Citizens who so value their "independence" that they will not enroll in a political party are really forfeiting independence.

    If someone says something that offends me, I cannot and should not try to stop them from speaking. After all, in America, speech- even offensive speech- is protected.

    Argument. Conclusion: If someone says something that offends me, I cannot and should not try to stop them from speaking.

    "Piercing car alarms have disturbed my walks, cafe meals or my sleep at least once during every day I have lived in the city; roughly 3,650 car alarms. Once, only once, was the wail a response to theft..Silent car alarms connect immediately to a security company, while the noisy ones are a problem, not a solution. They should be banned, finally."

    Argument. Conclusion: Car alarms should be banned.

    "If history is a gauge, the US government cannot be trusted when it comes to our children to war. It seems that many years after Congress sends our children to war, we find out that the basic premise for the war was an intentional lie."

    Argument. Conclusion: The U.S. government cannot be trusted when it comes to sending our children to war.

    Exercise 1.4

    Indicate whether it constitutes an argument. For each argument specify both the conclusion and the premises.

    ...

    Faster-than-light travel is not possible. It would violate a law of nature.

    Argument. Conclusion: Faster-than-light travel is not possible. Premise: Faster-than-light travel would violate a law of nature.

    You have neglected your duty on several occasions, and you have been absent from work too many times. Therefore, you are not fit to serve in current capacity.

    Argument. Conclusion: Therefore, you are not fit to serve in your current capacity. Premise: You have neglected your duty on several occasions. Premise: You have been absent from work too many times.

    Racial profiling is not an issue for white people, but it is an issue for African Americans.

    No Argument.

    The flu epidemic on the East Coast is real. Government health officials say so. And I personally have read at least a dozen news stories that characterize the situation as a "flu epidemic."

    Argument. Conclusion: The flu epidemic on the East Coast is real. Premise: Government health officials say so. Premise: I personally have read at least a dozen news stories that characterize the situation as a "flu epidemic."

    Communism is bunk. Only naive, impressionable pinheads believe that stuff.

    No Argument.

    "Current-day Christians use violence to spread their right-to-life message. These Christians, often referred to as the religious right, are well known for violent demonstrations against Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics. Doctors and other personnel are threatened with death, clinics have been bombed, there have even been cases of doctors being murdered."

    Argument. Conclusion: Current-day Christians use violence to spread their right-to-life message. Premise: These Christians, often referred to as the religious right, are well known for violent demonstrations against Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics. Premise: Doctors and other personnel are threatened with death. Premise: Clinics have been bombed. Premise: There have even been cases of doctors being murdered.

    "I am writing about the cost of concert tickets. I am outraged at how much ticket prices are increasing ever year. A few years ago, one could attend a popular concert for a decent price. Now some musicians are asking as much as $200 to $300."

    No Argument.

    "Homeland security is a cruel charade for unborn children. Some 4,000 per day are killed in their mother's womb by abortion. This American holocaust was legalized by the Supreme Court in an exercise of raw judicial power."

    No Argument.

    Witches are real. They are mentioned in the Bible. There are many people today who claim to be witches. And historical records reveal that there were witches in Salem.

    Argument. Conclusion: Witches are real. Premise: They are mentioned in the Bible. Premise: There are many people today who claim to be witches. Premise: Historical records reveal that there were witches in Salem.

    Stretched upon the dark silk night, bracelets of city lights glisten brightly.

    No Argument.

    Vaughn's car is old. It is beat up. It is unsafe to drive. Therefore, Vaughn's car is ready for the junkyard.

    Argument. Conclusion: Therefore, Vaughn's car is ready for the junkyard. Premise: Vaughn's car is old. Premise: It is beat up. Premise: It is unsafe to drive.

    Exercise 1.7

    Determine if there is an argument present. If so, identify the premises and the conclusion.

    ...

    "The Religious Right is not 'pro family'...Concerned parents realize that children are curious about how their bodies work and need accurate, age-appropriate information about the human reproductive system. Yet, thanks to religious right pressure, many public schools have replaced sex education with fear-based 'abstinence only' programs that insult young people's intelligence and give them virtually no useful information."

    Argument. Conclusion: The Religious Right is not pro-family. Premise: Concerned parents realize that children are curious about how their bodies work and need accurate, age-appropriate information about the human reproductive system. Premise: Thanks to Religious Right pressure, many public schools have replaced sex education with fear-based "abstinence only" programs that insult young people's intelligence and give them virtually no useful information.

    "Francis Bacon is the father of experimental philosophy..In a word, there was not a man who had any idea of experimental philosophy before Chancellor Bacon; and of an infinity of experiments which have been made since his time, there is hardly a single one which has not been pointed out in his book. He had even made a good number of them himself."

    Conclusion: [Francis Bacon] is the father of experimental philosophy. Premise: Before Chancellor Bacon, no one had any idea of experimental philosophy. Premise: Of an infinity of experiments which have been made since his time, there is hardly a single one that has not been pointed out in his book.

    "Is there archaeological evidence for the Biblical flood? If a universal flood occurred between five and six thousand years ago, killing all humans except the eight on board the Ark, it would be abundantly clear in the archaeological record. Human history would be marked by an absolute break. we would see the devastation wrought by the catastrophe in terms of the destroyed physical remains of pre-flood human settlements...Unfortunately for the flood enthusiasts, the destruction of all but eight of the world's people left no mark on the archaeology of human cultural evolution."

    Argument. Conclusion: There is no archaeological evidence for the [Biblical] Flood. Premise: If a universal Flood occurred between five and six thousand years ago, killing all humans except the eight on board the Ark, it would be abundantly clear in the archaeological record. Premise: The destruction of all but eight of the world's people left no mark on the archaeology of human cultural evolution.

    "Subjectivism claims that what makes an action (morally) right is that a person approves of it or believes that it's right. Although subjectivism may seem admirably egalitarian in that it takes everyone's moral judgements to be as good as everyone else's, it has some rather bizarre consequences. For one thing, it implies that each of us is morally infallible. As long as we approve of or believe in what we are doing, we can do no wrong. But this cannot be right. Suppose that Hitler believed that it was right to exterminate the Jews. Then it was right for Hitler to exterminate the Jews..But what..Hitler did was wrong, even if he believed otherwise."

    Conclusion: Moral subjectivism has some rather bizarre consequences. Premise: For one thing, it implies that each of us is morally infallible. (As long as we approve of or believe in what we are doing, we can do no wrong.) Premise: But we cannot be morally infallible.

    Exercise 2.1

    ...

    According to the text's definition of critical thinking, what factors must be present for critical thinking to be realized?

    For critical thinking to be realized, the process must be systematic, it must be a true evaluation or formulation of claims, and it must be based on rational standards.

    What are the two main categories of common obstacles to critical thinking?

    Those hindrances that arise because of how we think and those that occur because of what we think.

    What did W.K. Clifford say about the morality of believing claims?

    Clifford asserts that it is morally wrong to believe a proposition without justification or evidence.

    What is stereotyping?

    Drawing conclusions about people without sufficient reasons.

    From the standpoint of critical thinking, what event signals that we have allowed our bias in favor of ourselves go too far?

    We take things too far when we accept claims for no reason.

    According to the text, what effect can our urge to save face have on our thinking?

    To save face, we may accept or defend claims just to protect our image—blaming others for our mistakes, trying to justify our unjustifiable behavior, or failing to admit error.

    When are you most likely to let your self-interest get in the way of clear thinking?

    You are most likely to let your self-interest get in the way of clear thinking when you have a significant personal stake in the conclusions you reach.

    According to the text, what should you do if you sense a rush of emotion when you think about a particular issue?

    The rule of thumb is this: If you sense a rush of emotions when you deal with a particular issue, stop. Think about what's happening and why. Then continue at a slower pace and with greater attention to the basics of critical reasoning, double-checking to ensure that you are not ignoring or suppressing evidence or getting sloppy in your evaluations.

    What is selective attention?

    A kind of biased thinking in which we notice certain things and ignore others, even though we should be noticing both.

    According to the text, how might selective attention affect your thinking when you are examining evidence for or against a claim?

    We may ignore facts that contradict our beliefs and search out facts that support them.

    How might the influence of a group that you belong to affect your attempts to think critically?

    Group pressure can affect your attempts to think critically by allowing your need to be part of a group or your identification with a group to undermine critical thinking.

    According to the text, what is the most powerful group pressure of all?

    The group pressure that comes from presuming that our own group is the best and all other groups are not as good.

    What is the appeal to popularity?

    The fallacy of arguing that a claim must be true merely because a substantial number of people believe it.

    What is a worldview?

    A worldview is a set of fundamental ideas that help us make sense of a wide range of issues in life.

    What is subjective relativism?

    The idea that truth depends on what someone believes.

    According to the text, how could subjective relativism make critical thinking unnecessary?

    In large part, critical thinking is about determining whether statements are true or false. But if we can make a statement true just by believing it to be true, then critical thinking would seem to be unnecessary.

    Is critical thinking concerned with the objective or the subjective truth of claims?

    Critical thinking is concerned with objective truth claims.

    What is social relativism?

    The view that truth is relative to societies.

    What is philosophical skepticism?

    The view that we know much less than we think we do or nothing at all.

    Does our knowledge require certainty?

    It seems that our knowledge does not require certainty, for we seem to know many things even though we do not have absolutely conclusive reasons.

    What kind of doubt is involved in the acquisition of knowledge?

    Reasonable doubt, not certainty, is central to the acquisition of knowledge.

    Exercise 2.2

    ...

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