Answer

Your lists will probably include many of the following car will be too noisy without a muffler could be stopped by law enforcement and fined without muffler can't drive car without muffler wasting electricity AC running inefficiently heat wave predicted for later in the week have trouble sleeping without AC live on fourth floor too hot without AC Conclusion you should probably get your car repaired first. While it may be uncomfortable without an air conditioner, you need your car to get to work...

ACT American College Testing

The ACT, like the SAT, is a college entrance exam taken by high school students. It consists of four separate tests English, reading, math, and science. The reading test is similar to the SAT Critical Reading test it consists of passages followed by questions that relate to them. The science test also involves critical thinking skills. It is designed as a reasoning test, rather than an assessment of your knowledge of particular science facts. As with the critical reading tests, you are given in...

Answers

Your answers may vary, but here is an explanation of this order. 5. Giving a speech requires the most concentration. You need to follow your written speech or notes, make contact with the audience, and speak clearly and slowly enough to be understood. 4. Attending a meeting typically requires the next greatest amount of concentration. In order to participate effectively at work you need to know what is going on. Listening carefully, understanding how your superiors and coworkers function in a...

Concept

Concept maps, also called target maps, should be used when you are exploring a topic that is not complex. To make one, draw a circle and add spokes radiating from it. Put your central idea or problem in the middle, and add possible solutions around it in any order. As you can see from the example that follows, a concept map visually arranges a simple decision and the factors that may be used in making that decision.

Check Dates

They typically include the date the site was written, when it was launched, as well as the last time it was updated. Without these dates, you cannot with any certainty use the information found on the site, especially if it is of a factual or statistical nature. If you have dates, ask yourself Is the information current enough for your needs If you are looking for time-sensitive information, are the facts you found stale or do they represent the latest findings If...

Bias and Stereotyping

Biases are preferences or beliefs that keep you from being impartial. Stereotypes are oversimplified opinions or prejudiced attitudes about a group of people. They get in the way of your making decisions and solving problems reasonably and logically. Having a bias or believing a stereotype prevents you from having an open mind. In order to think critically and logically, you need to recognize your biases and control them, rather than letting them control the decisions you make. Biases and...

Brainstorming with Graphic Organizers

In this lesson, you will learn how to use some of the most effective graphic organizers for brainstorming. Graphic organizers include word webs, Venn diagrams, and concept maps. Afteryou recognize and define the real problems and decisions you face, you must begin to develop viable, effective solutions. Brainstorming is a critical thinking skill that helps to do that by coming up with as many ideas as possible with no judgment being made during the process. Perhaps you have brainstormed before...

Causal Arguments

The inductive arguments above relied on the establishment of similarities between two events, ideas, or things. Causal arguments, which may be used to figure out the probable cause of an effect or event, rely instead on finding a key difference. Why might it be important to determine cause If you believe that one event (a cause) is somehow related to another event (an effect), you may want to either reproduce that relation, which would again cause the effect, or in some cases prevent the...

Concentrate

Situations occur around you all the time. Many of them require little or no attention on your part, such as your commute to work each day by bus. When you are a passenger, you can allow your mind to wander or even read or take a nap. The driving of the bus is taken care of for you. However, if you commute by car you must pay great attention, both to the road and to other drivers. In instances that call for your awareness you must pay careful attention. Concentrate on what you are observing or...

Distinguishing an Explanation from an Argument

An explanation helps you to understand a certain fact by giving reasons that are causes of the fact. It answers the question, why An argument, on the other hand, tries to convince you of the truth of its conclusion by giving reasons (premises) that are evidence for the conclusion. Simply put, an explanation provides causes, and an argument provides evidence. Even when you understand this basic difference, though, it can sometimes be difficult to tell one from the other. Why is it important to...

Critical Thinking for Exams

Increasingly, critical thinking exams are given not only to students, but also to those seeking employment or promotions in the workforce. This lesson shows you what critical thinking questions look like, and how to use this book to approach them effectively. ost high school students are familiar with the ACT and the SAT,tests that are used by colleges and universities to make admissions decisions. After college, graduate exams such as the GRE, GMAT, and LSAT are taken if you are interested in...

False Dilemma

A false dilemma is an argument which presents a limited number of options (usually two), while in reality there are more options. In other words, it gives a choice between one or another (either-or) even though there are other choices which could be made. The false dilemma is commonly seen in black or white terms it sets up one thing as all good and the other as all bad. When one option (typically the all bad one) is argued against, the false dilemma concludes that the other must be true. Stop...

Distracting llJ Y Techniques

In this lesson, you will learn about logical fallacies that aim to distract you from real issues. These fallacies include red herring, ad hominem, and straw man. Have you ever listened to political candidates' debates When they are over, you are probably left wondering, what just happened The debates are supposed to be about the real issues faced by voters and the solutions the candidates are offering. Instead, they are typically filled with distracting techniques designed to shift the...

Going to the Experts

Sometimes, you can't find out what you need to know from a website or the library. The information might be very timely, such as interest rates on mortgages that change daily, or it just might not be published (such as someone's opinion on a given subject). In such a case, you need to find a person or people who have the information you are looking for. Experts are simply those who know their subjects and can be relied upon to supply correct information. They might know about it because they...

Goal Setting Chart

What is in my way spending too much so I do not have the money to invest (habits I need to break) Step 1 limit restaurant meals to two times a week buy takeout from supermarket other nights buy cookbook and pick out one recipe a week to try Step 2 rent one movie a week, put in briefcase when done watching it so I will return it on way to work Step 3 limit clothing purchases to 100 a month watch ads for sales and shop them What I need to accomplish goal willpower to change habits Daily read...

In Short

As we learned in Lesson 14, inductive reasoning is used all the time to make generalizations from specifics. But it can be misused to create arguments for things such as racial prejudice and superstitions. These weak arguments involve fallacies such as jumping to conclusions, chicken and egg, and composition (making a conclusion about a whole based on the qualities of its parts). Learning how to recognize such faulty reasoning will help you to avoid being tricked by it, and also help you avoid...

GRE Graduate Record Exam General Test

The GRE General Test assesses the academic knowledge and skills needed for graduate study. It has three parts verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing. The verbal section is similar to the critical reading problems found in the SAT. After reading a passage, you will be asked to analyze, evaluate, and synthesize the information found in it. The analytical writing section also tests for critical thinking skills. It includes a 45-minute section in which you must Present Your Perspective on an...

How to Increase Awareness

An important step in critical thinking is understanding what is happening around you. You can't make good decisions or effectively solve problems if you are not paying attention. There are three notable ways in which to increase awareness. The first is to use your own powers of observation. By being attentive to your surroundings you can spot problems and potential problems. The second is to get information directly from another person, and the third involves your active seeking of information....

Judge the Accuracy of the Content

There are a few giveaways of marginal content. Review the website for the following 1. Sources of factual information should be clearly listed so they can be verified elsewhere. Do not accept anything as fact that you can't verify at least three times, in three unique locations. 2. Factual information should come directly from its source. A statistic from the Wall Street Journal is more likely to be correct if you get it from their website (http online.wsj.com public us), rather than rely on it...

Lesson 13 Misusing Deductive Reasoning Logical Fallacies

Arguments that contain an error in logic are invalid. These types of errors are known as fallacies. This lesson explored four ofthe most common logical fallacies that make deductive reasoning fall apart. The argument might have two true premises, and a conclusion that takes them to an extreme. This is known as the slippery slope fallacy. Or, it might be a false dilemma fallacy, which presents in its major premise just two options (either-or) when in reality there are others. In circular...

Manipulating Surveys

Authors, advertisers, and politicians rely on numbers for one important reason people tend to believe them. They use surveys, polls, and other statistics to make their arguments sound more credible and more important. The problem is, it is just as easy to mislead with numbers as it is with words. Below are some examples of how numbers are manipulated and why they should not always be trusted. In order to be able to reach accurate conclusions, numbers must be gathered correctly. There are two...

Persuasive Advertising

Informative marketing simply seeks to familiarize the consumer with a product or service by spreading the news about it. It can remind you of an existing product or introduce you to a new one. In persuasive advertising, the marketer aims to manipulate your spending habits by making you want to buy his or her product or service. The manipulation can occur by appealing to the consumer's senses, emotions, or intellect. Some of the most common appeals and claims...

Practice

You are trying to decide which college to attend, and are visiting the three schools on your list of possibilities. You arrange an interview at each school with the admissions department. What things can you do to most thoroughly investigate the colleges (circle all that apply) a. Write a list of questions for the interviews covering anything you did not learn about in the school's brochure and website. b. Ask to sit in on a class required in your chosen major. c. Tell the interviewer about...

Premises

The key to the credibility of a deductive conclusion lies in the premises. Since the conclusion must result from the premises, it is considered invalid if one or both of the premises is proven false. Therefore, the premises must be truthful facts, rules, principles, or generalizations. Just one word can change the premise from fact to fiction, such as the words all and every. Consider the following example All dogs have brown fur. Spot is a dog. Spot has brown fur. The truth is that some dogs...

Prevention Versus Cure

Another type of troubleshooting involves problem-causing trends. If you are constantly faced with the same type of problem, you should look at how to prevent it in the future. Figure out what is causing the problem and how you make changes to stop it from recurring. By employing this type of troubleshooting, you prevent a problem rather than always trying to solve it each time it occurs. Perhaps your boss meets with his boss every Friday morning to give an update as to your department's...

Preparing to Make a Judgment Call

If you can't gather all the pertinent information you need to come to a decision, is there a way to prepare to make a judgment call The answer is yes. You will not end up with all the facts, because they are not always clear, and it is debatable what to include and what to exclude. But arming yourself with information is still an important step toward making such as decision. Let's consider a real-life example as we explore the preparation for a judgment call. A food pantry is opened in a small...

Recognizing Persuasion Techniques

Every day, you encounter many attempts to persuade you. People in your life, such as your family, friends, and colleagues at work, try to get you to change your mind or do things their way. The media constantly gives you information, which, in its content and delivery, may be attempts to persuade you. Advertisers reach you on the radio, billboards, television, Internet, and print materials, telling you what to buy. When you are aware of these tactics and recognize how they are used you will not...

The Scholastic Aptitude Test SAT

The SAT is taken during high school and its scores are used by colleges and universities to make admissions decisions. The test is divided into two parts, verbal and math. It currently includes a critical reading section as part of the verbal half of the test, which consists of a number of passages. These passages are followed by questions that test your ability to comprehend and make inferences about their content. Critical reading questions account for almost half of the verbal section score....

Recommendations and Value Judgments

Many arguments express a recommendation, or value judgment. They then try to convince you of the goodness or rightness of it. Explanations do not contain such recommendations or judgments. They are about undisputed facts and not attempts at persuasion. For example, here is a conclusion to an argument The best place for a steak is Louie's Steak Shack. They use only high quality meat, How do we know this is not an explanation It is a judgment on the part of the speaker, meant to recommend. The...

Verify Reproduced Information

If the website includes quotes, statistics, or other information purported to be from another source, check it for accuracy. Never assume that simply because the words or numbers are printed, they are correct. Quotes that have been retyped may contain errors, have been deliberately altered, or be complete fakes. The best way to check is to find the information somewhere else, preferably at its source. For example, you find a website that claims the Earth's human population is decreasing. It...

Use Links to Evaluate a Site

Most websites use links to help you move from their site to other web pages. These links may be used to document sources (think of them as the Internet equivalent of footnotes) or simply to take you to more information about the topic which may be of interest. If there are links to other pages as sources, ask yourself the following Are they to reliable sources or only to other locations on the same website If they take you to more information on the subject, are they well chosen and well...

What Is a Judgment Call

Judgment calls are made all the time, about such varied topics as what stock to buy, whether to perform a surgery, and if a potentially game-winning basketball shot made it through the hoop before the buzzer. But these decisions do have a number of things in common. For instance the information you need is incomplete or ambiguous knowledgeable people disagree about them there are often ethical dilemmas and or conflicting values involved How can you make a judgment call with so much uncertainty...

Using This Book to Prepare for the SAT

The lessons in Critical Thinking Skills Success that relate directly to the skills you need to successfully complete the Critical Reading section are Lessons 1 and 3 Inference. These lessons cover how to take in information, and understand what it suggests, but does not say outright. When you infer, you draw conclusions based on evidence. Lesson 9 Persuasion Techniques. Some questions will ask you to evaluate arguments. Understanding how persuasion works, and being able to identify rhetorical...

Using This Book to Prepare for the Exam

Lessons 1 and 2 Recognizing and Defining Problems. These lessons will help you to zero in on the precise problems presented in Conflicting Viewpoint passages. Lesson 3 Focused Observation. Knowing how to concentrate and approach a problem thoroughly is critical, because not only are you expected to arrive at the correct answer, but you must record it in a relatively short period. Lesson 4 Graphic Organizers. You won't need to construct graphic organizers, but you will have to interpret them....

Trusting the Source

Not everyone who gives out information is telling the truth. Pretty obvious, you think, and many times you are right. You probably don't take newspaper accounts of 400-year-old prophecies coming true seriously, even though you see them in print. But what about a documentary that purports to reveal the same thing Can you be fooled by the delivery of the information, with fancy sets and a well-known actor as narrator, to believing what you might otherwise dismiss In order to trust the source of...

What Is the Actual Problem

Many times, the real problem facing you can be difficult to determine. For instance, your teacher returns your essay with a poor grade and tells you to rewrite it. With no other feedback, you may be unsure about the real problem with the essay and therefore unable to correct the problem effectively. In this case, defining the problem entails some work you will need to read the essay over carefully first to see if you find it. If it is still not apparent, you should approach your teacher and ask...

Webbing

Webs are visual organizers that are more structured and complex than concept maps. They are most useful when you are exploring possible solutions to a problem that has a number of symptoms or causes. To develop a web, write your problem in a circle. Next, write the symptoms or possible causes of the problem in smaller, or secondary, circles, each connected to the center by a line. From each of the secondary bubbles, draw smaller bubbles in which you brainstorm possible solutions. Each possible...

Watch Out for

A group of friends decides to go hiking in the mountains. They are all inexperienced hikers, so they choose an easy trail. Half way up, they run into a storm. It gets dark as a torrential downpour begins. Most of the group decides to head back down the trail, worried about the storm. Two in the group decide to keep going. They laugh about the quitters, and boast that the storm will not hold them back. These two let their egos make their decision. Instead of thinking rationally, they choose to...

What You Will Find on the Test

The SAT passages represent various writing styles and are taken from different disciplines, including the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. They are written at the college level, which means they are sophisticated, complex, and contain some vocabulary that may be unknown to you. It is not expected that you have any prior knowledge of the material in the passages, but rather that you have the ability to read, understand, and use the information in them. Each Scholastic Aptitude...

Composition

This fallacy occurs when the qualities of the parts of a whole are assumed to also be the qualities of the whole. It is a fallacy because there is no justification for making this assumption. For example, someone might argue that because every individual part of a large machine is lightweight, the machine itself is lightweight. They assume that 1. Since all of the parts of the machine (A) are lightweight (B), 2. Therefore, the machine as a whole (C) is lightweight (B). This argument is...

Determine Who Wrote the Page

The first step in determining the legitimacy of Internet information is to evaluate it in terms of authority. You should be able to find answers to the following three questions to establish authority 1. Who wrote or takes responsibility for the content of the page Look for the name and contact information (more than an e-mail address) of the author, who may be an individual, or an organization or institution. If no author is listed, you may find out who published the page by shortening the...

Defining a Problem

In this lesson, you will discover how to differentiate between real problems and perceived problems (those most immediately apparent), as well as understand the most common reasons for missing actual problems. When you locate and clearly define the issue you must resolve, you can then begin to work on a solution. No matter what issue you face, the only way to come up with an effective solution is to identify the actual problem that needs to be solved before you do anything else. If you don't,...

Finding Resources

Sometimes you may find yourself facing a complicated decision for which you do not have all the facts to resolve. Other times, especially at work or school, you may be asked to justify your decisions. This lesson is about finding the information you need to make decisions and create solutions. There are many problems and decisions that require little more from us than sorting through familiar details. For instance, you do not need to gather much information to decide about whether to ask for a...

How to Evaluate Information Found on the Internet

It takes very little, both in terms of money and skill level, to create a website that offers information on any subject. Therefore, the existence and look of a website is not an indication of its value as a resource. Content should never be presumed to be truthful and unbiased. That said, the Internet is a great resource for accurate and objective information. You must simply learn how to discern between legitimate and bogus information on the Internet.

Important Problems

Problems are viewed as important or unimportant in relation to one another, and according to personal priorities. When you are faced with a number of problems, you must evaluate them in terms of priority so that you are not dealing with minor issues first, and leaving the more important ones to go unattended until the last minute. Prioritizing means looking at each problem or issue, and ranking it in terms of importance. What is most important to you as you begin the critical thinking process.

Five Qualities of a Valuable Goal

in writing create a document of your goal specific use as much detail as possible to explain what you want to accomplish measurable describe your goal in terms that can be clearly evaluated realistic don't set the goal too high or too low you must be capable of reaching it with time and effort a completion date the achievement of your goal must hap pen in a reasonable time, not in a few weeks, or some time in the future The Goal Setting Chart below is a guideline. Depending on your goal, you...

Flattery

Making people feel good about themselves, whether you are complimenting their intelligence, good taste, or wise choices can be a successful persuasion technique. It is often used in conjunction with other means of persuasion because it is so important when trying to make a personal connection. Think about it in the reverse ridiculing a person's stand on an issue, brand they purchase, or other choice is probably not going to make them want to listen. The...

Lesson 1 Recognizing a Problem

You learned that problem solving begins with recognition of the need for a solution. Finding out about the existence of a problem happens either through your own observations or directly from another person. Problem solving continues with prioritizing does your problem demand immediate attention or can it wait until you are finished working on something else If there is more than one problem to resolve, which is most important and needs to be tackled first information. Graphic organizers can be...

Lesson 17 Judgment Calls

You learned how to make decisions and solve problems when the stakes are high, and there are no clear right or wrong answers. Judgment calls can be made on very different things, such as sporting events, investment decisions, and employment choices, but they have four things in common the stakes are high, the information you need is incomplete or ambiguous, knowledgeable people disagree about them, and there are sometimes conflicting values involved. Judgment calls are subjective and debatable,...

Observation

You are continuously using your senses to observe your environment. For instance, you see that the gas gauge is indicating that your tank is near empty you hear your dog barking when he needs to be let out you feel the heat coming off a grill before putting your food on it. This sounds simple, and often it is. Consciously using your senses to gain a better understanding of your environment, however, involves another step. Instead of simply noting something, you need to put it in a context or...

Problem Solution Outline

Regular outlines (the kind that use Roman numerals, capital letters, Arabic numbers, and lower case letters) are highly structured graphic organizers that don't work well for brainstorming. It is too difficult to come up with ideas quickly when you are trying to fit them into a complex pattern, such as a traditional outline, at the same time. The problem solution outline, however, is more simply structured. This type of graphic organizer is useful because the act of filling it out forces you to...

Think It Through

Another important way to distinguish between problems and their symptoms or consequences is to think it through. Ask yourself, What is really happening Look at the problem carefully to see if there is a cause lurking underneath or if it is going to result in another problem or set of problems. Thinking it through allows you not only to define the issue(s) you face now, but can help you anticipate a problem or problems (See Lesson 7 for more information about predicting problems.).

Together

This lesson brings together all of the skills you learned in Lessons 1-19, reviewing each important idea and term. This lesson may surprise you.Now that you have arrived at Lesson 20,you might not be aware of just how much you have learned in all of the previous 19 lessons. Use the summaries below as a review for the post-test which follows this lesson, or simply to refresh your memory. Either way, if any term or idea seems unfamiliar or confusing be sure to turn back to the relevant lesson and...

Two Forms of Deductive Argument

There are two common ways in which deductive arguments are expressed syllogisms and conditionals. The Difference Between Fact and Opinion A fact is an objective statement whose truth can be verified. For example, Saturn is one of the nine planets in the solar system. You can do some research to determine that Saturn is, indeed, one of the nine planets in the solar system. Ask yourself, is the statement always true If the answer is yes, then it is a fact. An opinion is a subjective statement...

What Is an Explanation

At first glance, this seems like a simple question. Someone asks, why did you do it Your answer, the explanation, gives them the reasons. In an explanation, a statement, or set of statements, is made that gives new information about something that has been accepted as fact. In answer to the question, why did you do it you are not going to reply that you did not do it (that would be an argument). It is accepted that you did something, and you are going to give information that tells why you did...

Using This Book to Prepare for the Test

Lessons 1 and 2 Recognizing and Defining Problems. These lessons will help you to zero in on the precise problems you will discuss in both the opinion and argument sections. It is especially important that you can make the distinction between a problem and its symptoms or consequences. Lesson 3 Focused Observation. Knowing how gather information is critical, because you must not only express an opinion or critique, but you must back it up with relevant examples and reasoning. Lesson 8 Fact and...

Ad Hominem

Another common distraction fallacy is the ad hominem (Latin for against the person). Instead of arguing against a topic, the topic is rejected because of some unrelated fact about the person making the argument. In other words, the person who makes a claim becomes the issue, rather than the claim he or she was making. If you are not thinking critically, you might be persuaded by such an argument, especially if you agree with the information given about the personality. For instance, a celebrity...

Chart

Consider brainstorming with a chart if you have two or more elements that you want to compare and contrast. Charts let you clearly see how each item is similar to the others, and how it differs. In order to make an effective chart, you need to define the elements you wish to compare, and then come up with two or more areas in which to compare them. Then, you may need to conduct some research to accurately fill out your chart. The chart will keep you focused on your purpose, and on relevant...

Avoid Making Assumptions

What is an assumption in terms of problem solving It is an idea based on too little or not very good information. For example, the manager of a convenience store has an employee who is often late for her shift. The manager makes the assumption that the employee is lazy and does not take her job seriously. In fact, the employee has had car trouble and must rely on unreliable public transportation to get to work. When you avoid making assumptions, you get all the information you need before...

Comparison Arguments

Inductive arguments arise from experiences or observations. They compare one event, idea, or thing with another to establish that they are similar enough to make a generalization or inference about them. The most important point to note about this type of argument is that the two events being compared must be similar. Rebekah says, Whenever I use bread flour to make my pizza, the crust turns out perfectly. So, every time I use bread flour, I will have a perfect crust. (A leads to B many times,...

Fast Forward

What about the future If someone is talking about what will happen tomorrow, you might think it must be an argument. Explanations are about undisputed facts, and arguments are about judgments and opinions. Can there be a fact about something that has not even happened yet The answer is yes. Just because you see the words tomorrow, next week, or some day, does not mean you are looking at an argument. Here are a few examples of explanadums about the future This fall, the leaves will turn color...

Create a Context

Focusing your observations also means bringing together many pieces to make a whole. In order to make sense of what you see or hear you need to create a context for it. That means understanding your observations in terms of their surroundings. You may hear someone talk about a problem that they want you to solve. The context in this case might be everything that person has said to you before. Perhaps he is constantly complaining about problems, many of which are not really worth your time. In...

Deductive Reasoning

In deductive reasoning, an argument is made based on two facts, or premises. If the premises are true, then it should follow that the conclusion of the argument must also be true. You hear deductive arguments,both good and bad, made all the time. In magazines,you read, If you use Brand X detergent your clothes will not get clean. But our detergent works much better. Use our detergent and your clothes will get clean. On television, you hear a politician saying, High taxes are putting people out...

Encyclopedias

Xrefer.com London-based reference book search engine searches over 50 encyclopedias, dictionaries (in many categories), and thesauri Encyclopedia.com Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th edition Britannica.com the first few paragraphs of each article are free, so if you need very basic facts, chances are you will get them for 50 per year you can have total access to the site Encarta.com some entire entries are free, others are blocked to those who have not paid 69 per year for the CD-ROM or DVD...

Evaluating Facts

In this lesson, you will learn about the difference between fact and opinion. In addition, you will learn how to differentiate between accurate, objective information and that which is false and or biased. Most people would agree that a newspaper is a good source of recent factual information. However, the last time you were in the supermarket checkout line did you notice a newspaper (or two, or three ) with headlines about the impending end of the life on Earth, or about alien encounters with...

Explanation or Argument

In this lesson, you will learn how to judge explanations, and what makes them effective or ineffective. You will also learn how to tell the difference between explanations and arguments. You have got some explaining to do Everyone is in the position on occasion to either explain themselves or hear explanations from others. Sometimes, it involves a simple incident like showing up late to a movie. At other times, though, an explanation can make or break a career, or encourage a terrible decision....

Feelings and Beliefs

Distinguishing between arguments and explanations can be tricky when they involve statements about how someone thinks or feels, believes or disbelieves. We have already determined that explanations are not value judgments or recommendations. Words like believe or feel are often a part of such judgments. But, they can also be a part of an explanation. For example, you are considering buying stock in a company that two of your friends work for. One tells you, Our company is doing really well....

How Deduction Can Be Misused

In the next lesson, you will learn about specific ways in which deductive arguments are used incorrectly, whether negligently or deliberately. The better you become at spotting these logical fallacies, the less likely you will be to accept one as truth. Simply, a deductive argument is invalid for one of two possible reasons either or both of the premises are invalid, or the wrong conclusion was reached even though the premises are valid. This example contains a premise that is not true All...

Lesson 12 Deductive Reasoning

You learned that in deductive reasoning, an argument is made based on two facts, or premises. These premises could be rules, laws, principles, or generalizations. If they are true, it should follow that the conclusion of the argument must also be true. That is, the truth of the conclusion is thought to be completely guaranteed and not just made probable by the truth of the premises. But, the conclusion must follow logically from and not go beyond or make assumptions about the premises. If it...

Lesson 10 Misusing Information The Numbers Game

You learned how numbers can sometimes lie. Whether by deliberate misuse, negligence, or plain incompetence the facts and figures we see, hear, and read are not always the truth. It all happens in one, or both, of two key areas. First, numbers must be gathered. If they are collected incorrectly or by someone with an agenda or bias, you need to know that. Second, numbers must be analyzed or interpreted. Again, this process can be done incorrectly, or by an individual or group with an agenda....

Persuasion and the Written Word

There are many tactics used by writers to persuade their audiences. Known as rhetorical devices, these techniques subtly show the reader that the writer's point of view should be theirs, too. Here are six of the most common such devices, with definitions and examples. 1. Rhetorical question implies that the answer is so obvious that there is no answer required. It persuades without making an argument. Example Can we really expect our teachers to maintain a high standard of professionalism when...

Lesson 15 Misusing Inductive Reasoning Logical Fallacies

You learned that an inductive fallacy looks like an argument, but it either has two premises that do not provide enough support for the conclusion, or a conclusion that does not fit the premises. Four common logical fallacies were explored, including hasty generalization, in which the premises do not contain enough evidence to support the conclusion. The chicken and egg fallacy occurs when you claim cause and effect without enough evidence. Post hoc, ergo Deductive versus Inductive Reasoning...

Lesson 2 Defining a Problem

This lesson explained how to avoid solving something that is not your actual problem. Defining a real problem entails gathering information, and carefully examining what may first appear to be a large problem (it could be a number of smaller ones). It also means not being tricked into solving offshoots of a problem or mistaking the more obvious consequences of a problem for the actual problem. Two ways to be sure you are considering a real problem are to avoid making assumptions and to think...

Lesson 8 Evaluating Facts

You learned how to differentiate between accurate, objective information, and that which is false and or biased. In order to trust the source of any information, you need to check out the author's credentials, documentation of sources, quality of sources (are they balanced and reputable ), and the opinion of others about the source. This is especially important when doing research on the Internet, where just about anyone can publish anything and make it appear legitimate. Find out who wrote the...

Minor Premise

The minor premise is a statement that deals with a specific instance of the major premise My mother is a woman. Tiger Woods is an athlete. Dr. Shiu is a professor. The minor premise either affirms the major premise, or denies it. When it affirms, part of the minor premise equates with the subject, or antecedent, of the major premise. When it denies, part of the minor premise does not equate with the consequent. For example Children like top 40 music. Charles is a child. In this case, the minor...

Making Judgment Calls

In this lesson, you will learn how to make decisions and solve problems when the stakes are high, and there are no obvious right or wrong answers. Most of the critical thinking skills that have been explored in this book have had to do with gathering facts and making decisions based upon them. Although not always easy, the process is pretty clear-cut you come to understand the situation you face, learn all you can about it and the options available, and choose a solution. Judgment calls are...

Problem Solution Outline Example

Causes Problems (fill in as many as applicable) Effects If we buy monthly payment would decrease, so have more money to save or invest also would have more privacy and quiet. If we continue to rent won't have moving expenses will pay more in rent, so have less money to save or invest will continue to have little privacy and noisy neighbors 1. establish budget for home purchase, get pre-approved for mortgage, and go house hunting to see if we can find something in next two weeks within budget 2....

Pretest Answers

This lesson teaches you how to recognize a problem and to determine its importance or severity, so that you can begin to think critically and begin problem solving. We all face problems every day. Some are simple, requiring a short period of time to solve, such as running low on gas in your car. Others are complex, and demand much of your time and thought. For instance, you might be asked by your boss to determine why the latest sales pitch for your largest client failed, and then come up with...

Road Block to Recognizing a Problem

One of the most common reasons for not recognizing a problem is the desire to avoid taking action or respon sibility. The thinking goes that no recognition means no responsibility. This can mean simply not noticing that you have five checks left in your checkbook (if you noticed, you would need to take action and order more checks). Or, you look the other way as faulty items come off the conveyor belt and are packaged for distribution (if you reported it to management, you might be asked to...

Roadblock to Good Resources

What is the most common obstacle to finding factual, pertinent information It is the proliferation of poorly researched, or even knowingly false, data. Primarily found on the Internet, fiction posing as facts, or simply slipshod work, can look like the real thing because legitimate websites with accurate content reside side-by-side with poor quality sites. It can be difficult to tell the difference. The best way to avoid reliance on poor information is to be suspicious. Do not take any...

Severe Problems

These problems may be identified by the following characteristics require immediate solutions may call for the involvement of others who have more expertise than you result in increasingly drastic consequences the longer they remain unsolved For example, a break in your house's plumbing is a severe problem. Water will continue to leak, or perhaps, gush out until the break is fixed. The water can damage everything it comes in contact with, including hardwood floors, carpeting, furniture, and...

Qualities of a Deductive Argument

It has two premises that provide a guarantee of the truth of the conclusion by providing support for it that is so strong that, if the premises are true, it would be impossible for the conclusion to be false. It is described by the terms valid and invalid when the premises are correct, and the conclusion that follows is correct, the argument is said to be valid. If either or both premises are incorrect, the argument is invalid. It is based on rules, laws, principles, or generalizations, as...

Troubleshooting Problems That Interfere with Goals

Troubleshooting foreseeable and potential problems can be difficult. It requires critical thinking skills to examine the path to your goal, and imagine or note all of the things that might go wrong as you work toward achieving it. For example, you had minor outpatient surgery and received a bill for 8,500. You can submit it to your insurance company which will cover 80 of the cost. However, the company has rules for filing claims, including that they be submitted no later than 30 days after...

Statistics

Statistics is simply a mathematical science that gathers information about a population so that population may be described usefully. Statistics are often used to draw conclusions and make decisions based on that information. So, what's the problem Statistics are complicated and their problems can be numerous. In general, though, problems with statistics are similar to those of other types of numerical data namely, they can be gathered, analyzed, and or interpreted incorrectly, or mishandled by...

Vocational and Other Critical Thinking Tests

In addition to the particular tests discussed in this lesson, critical thinking tests are given at many colleges and universities as placement exams (many use the California Critical Thinking Test or the Cornell Critical Thinking Test) in such diverse fields as agriculture, education, psychology, and nursing. Employers also use Critical Thinking Exams to help make hiring and promotion decisions. For instance, the U.S. Customs Ser vice gives a Critical Thinking Skills Test to those wishing to be...

Lesson 5 Setting Goals

Goals are clear statements of things you want to accomplish or solve in the future. You learned in this lesson that valuable goals must be in writing, specific and detailed, measurable, realistic, and deadline oriented. Using a goal chart helps with all five of these goal setting criteria. Do not set goals that are too large If they cover too much ground, or are about accomplishing something that will take a long time, your goals may be difficult to reach, or you may grow tired of your plan...

Making Decisions Under Stress

When the demands you face exceed your ability to meeet them, you are under stress. Stress can affect both physical and mental health, possibly resulting in increased heart rate, a rise in blood pressure, muscular tension, irritability, and depression. Therefore, it can affect the ability to think critically, solve problems, and make sound decisions. There is no way to control every potentially stressful situation that we may encounter time pressures at work, lack of information, information...

What Becomes a Goal

You work for a company that manufactures running shoes. Compared to figures from a year ago, profits and sales are slumping. You are asked to come up with a solution that will increase both. While brainstorming, you come up with three possible solutions a. start a major marketing campaign b. limit the availability of the product service When you are brainstorming, you come up with various possible solutions to a problem. But which one is worth pursuing Goal setting is about choosing the best...

Why Set Goals

You have learned how to define and clearly understand problems in Lessons 1 through 3, and how to brainstorm possible solutions in Lesson 4. Goal setting is the next important skill that takes you from being faced with problems and decisions, to solving them effectively. understand problem clearly brainstorm solutions * set goals to achieve solution (Lessons 1-3) (Lesson 4) (this lesson) Setting goals helps you make things happen. Goals give you a focus, and even a map, showing how to get from...

Identifying Problems That Interfere with Goals

After you set a goal and begin working toward it, you will inevitably be faced with a roadblock or two. You learned in Lesson 1 that you can't solve, or troubleshoot problems without first acknowledging them and that holds true for the problems that interfere with your goals. Some of these problems are foreseeable that is, you can anticipate them before you even begin to work toward your goal. Others are unexpected and must be dealt with as they arise. Unexpected problems are usually easier to...

Checking Credentials

As with other types of resources, before relying on an expert, determine that the person has the proper credentials. Ask questions about where they are getting their information from. On what sources do they rely How are they qualified to provide you with the information you are looking for For example, you need to know how many people have used your town park's picnic area this summer. You call your Recreation and Parks Department and ask if someone can help you. The director of the department...

Chicken and Egg Confusing Cause and Effect

The age-old question, which came first, the chicken or the egg is used to describe dilemmas to which there are no easy answers. In terms of logical arguments, when you are not sure which came first, you could make an error by confusing cause and effect. Just because two things regularly occur together, you cannot necessarily determine that one causes the other. Chicken and egg is a fallacy that has the following general form 1. A and B regularly occur together. 2. Therefore, A is the cause of...

Top Score Sample Argument Essay

The following appeared in a Letter to the Editor in the sports pages of a community newspaper. A teacher can't earn more than 50,000 a year doing one of the toughest jobs in the world. These saints work a lot harder and deserve to get paid a lot more for the miracles they perform on a daily basis. The average salary for professional athletes is 650,000. That's more than ten times what the average public high school principal makes. Basketball players can earn millions in just one season, and...

Red Herring

In an argument, a red herring can be any diversion that distracts attention from the main issue. The name of this distracter comes from a very strong-smelling cured fish that was once used, variously, to distract bloodhounds from the scent of escaping prisoners, or to distract hunting dogs from the trail of their prey. The diversion usually takes the form of an irrelevant topic, which is designed to lead attention away from the real issue and onto another topic. Typically, someone who is on the...

Correlation Studies

The gathering of information is not the only time during which manipulation can occur. Once numbers are obtained, they must be interpreted or evaluated. This step also has plenty of opportunities to distort the truth. As an example, let's look at comparisons between two sets of information between which there may be a connection. These types of comparisons are commonly referred to as correlation studies. Researchers use correlation studies when they want to know if there is a link between two...

The Art of Persuasion Has a Long History

In fourth century bc Greece, Aristotle studied and taught philosophy, science, and other subjects. In one of his most famous works, The Art of Rhetoric (meaning persuasion through language), he contends that the ideal form of argument was through reason (called logos). However, he also acknowledged two other powerful techniques an appeal to character (ethos) and an appeal to emotion (pathos). These same persuasion techniques are among the most successful and frequently employed ones in use...

Post Hoc Ergo Propter

We learned in Lesson 14 that to make a strong causal argument you need the cause to precede the effect. In other words, if problem A causes result B, cause A had to occur before result B. However, this is not the only factor in determining cause. Just because one event precedes another does not mean that it caused it. When you wrongly make that assumption, you commit the fallacy known as post hoc, ergo propter hoc. This fallacy, like the chicken and egg, has to do with cause and effect. Often...

Lesson 19 Critical Thinking for Exams

In this lesson, you learned how to apply what you have learned in Critical Thinking Skills Success to the exams you may face when applying to college or graduate school, or when entering the workforce. Critical reading questions, on tests such as the SAT and ACT, evaluate your ability to comprehend a passage, draw inferences based on the material presented, analyze information, and critique others' arguments. Other tests include sections on science reasoning, analytical writing, logical...

Lesson 9 Persuasion Techniques

This lesson examined how to recognize persuasion techniques used in speech, writing, and advertising. You learned about the three persuasion techniques described by Aristotle thousands of years ago (logos, pathos, ethos) and how they are still used today. Also explained were six common rhetorical devices including the rhetorical question, hyperbole, and comparisons. These techniques are used in persuasive 1. Librarians. They are trained professionals, who know how to find what you are looking...

Pretest

You conducted a successful job search, and 4. Which one of the following is NOT an example now have three offers from which to choose. What things can you do to most thoroughly Tigress jeans are available at your local investigate your potential employers (Fill in all The very best mothers serve Longhorn b. watch the news to see if the companies are Vote for me, and I promise our schools will improve. My opponent just wants to c. research their financial situations d. speak with...