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Critical Thinking

TermDefinition
Argument One or more statements (premises) offered in support of another statement (a conclusion).
Premise: A reason offered in support of an argument’s conclusion.
deductively valid: An argument that guarantees that if all its premises are true, then its conclusion also must be true, because the claim asserted by its conclusion already has been stated in its premises, although usually only implicitly
deductively invalid Any argument that does not have a deductively valid form.
induction Reasoning: that a pattern of some sort experienced so far will continue into the future.
induction by enumeration: An inductively valid argument moving from a premise stating that all so far examined As are Bs to the conclusion that all As whatsoever are Bs.
inductively valid: Correctly reasoning that a pattern experienced so far will continue into the future.
Appeal to authority: Accepting the word of alleged authorities when there is not sufficient reason to believe that they have the information we seek or that they can be trusted to provide it to us or doing so when we ought to figure the matter out for ourselves.
Inconsistency Accepting the conclusion of an argument that has self-contradictory statements or statements that contradict each other
straw man which is committed when we misrepresent an opponent’s position, or a competitor’s product, or go after a weaker opponent or competitor while ignoring a stronger one.
False dilemma: A dilemma that can be shown to be false either by “going between the horns” of the dilemma or by “grasping its horns.”
Begging the question Assuming without proof the question, or a significant part of the question, that is at issue, or answering a question by rephrasing it as a statement.
Questionable (false) premise Accepting a less than believable premise or other statement. Example: Accepting the claim that Budweiser is the best beer as a reason for deciding to switch to Bud.
Suppressed evidence Failing to bring relevant evidence to bear on an argument. Example: Advocates on both sides of the debates about the merits of “three strikes and you’re out” laws who slight sensible arguments and objections of their opponents.
Ad hominem An irrelevant attack on an opponent rather than on the opponent’s evidence or arguments.
Common practice: committed when a wrong is justified on the grounds not that one other person or group, but rather lots of, or most, or even all others do the same sort of thing.
Irrelevant reason: Trying to prove something with evidence that is or comes close to being irrelevant.
Equivocation Using a term or expression in an argument in one sense in one place and another sense in another.
Hasty conclusion Accepting an argument on the basis of relevant but insufficient information or evidence. Example: Sherlock Holmes’s conclusion that Dr. Watson was an army man just back from Afghanistan.
Unrepresentative sample Reasoning from a sample that is not representative (typical) of the population from which it was drawn. Example: Conclusions drawn about primate mating habits based on a sample of three human couplings, a gibbon mating, and those of one troop of baboons.
Questionable (false) cause: Labeling A as the cause of B on evidence that is insufficient, negative, unrepresentative, or in serious conflict with well-established high-level theories.
post hoc, ergo propter hoc (literally, “after this, therefore because of this”). Since Heroin addicts smoked cannabis before they tried heroin, cannabis must have made them try heroin.
Questionable (false) analogy: Drawing an analogical conclusion when the cases compared are not relevantly alike. Example: Comparing Bush to Hussein in the prisoner abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib.
Two wrongs make a right Justifying a wrong by pointing to a similar wrong perpetrated by others. Example: Baseball players justifying aggressive retaliation against a pitcher on the other team because he hit a batter and knocked him down.
Appeal to ignorance Arguing that the failure to find evidence refuting a claim justifies believing that it is true. Example: Arguing that there is no intelligent life on other planets since no one has been able to prove there is.
Slippery slope Accepting a claim that a particular action must be avoided because, if taken, it would lead to another action, and another—down a slippery slope to undesirable consequences, when no or insufficient reason has been presented to justify that claim.
Sphere of consensus This sphere contains those topics on which there is widespread agreement, or at least the perception thereof. Within the sphere of consensus, 'journalists feel free to invoke a generalized "we" and to take for granted shared values and shared assumptions
Sphere of legitimate controversy For topics in this sphere rational and informed people hold differing views these topics are the most important to cover also onesupon which journalists are obliged to remain disinterested reporters rather than advocating for or against a particular view.
Sphere of deviance Topics in this sphere are rejected by journalists as being unworthy of general consideration. Such views are perceived as being either unfounded, taboo, or of such minor consequence that they are not news worthy.
Both sides fallacy Both side of an argument have an opinion
man bites dog fallacy man bite dog would get more attentions rather then dog bites man. all about the stories that sell.
 

 



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