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CRITICAL READING 1717 Ten Steps Chapter 10. INTRODUCTION Skilled readers are those who can recognize an author’s point and the support for that point.

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Presentation on theme: "CRITICAL READING 1717 Ten Steps Chapter 10. INTRODUCTION Skilled readers are those who can recognize an author’s point and the support for that point."— Presentation transcript:

1 CRITICAL READING 1717 Ten Steps Chapter 10

2 INTRODUCTION Skilled readers are those who can recognize an author’s point and the support for that point. Critical readers are those who can evaluate an author’s support for a point and determine whether that support is solid or not. This chapter will help you:  Separate fact from opinion  Detect propaganda  Recognize errors in reasoning

3 SEPARATING FACT FROM OPINION FACTS Facts are solidly grounded and can be checked for accuracy  Can be proved true through objective evidence  Can be physical proof, spoken testimony, or written testimony Examples of facts:  My grandfather has eleven toes.  In 1841, William Henry Harrison served as president of the United States for only thirty-one days; he died of pneumonia.  Tarantulas are hairy spiders capable of inflicting on humans a painful but not deadly bite.

4 OPINIONS Opinions are afloat and open to question  Belief, judgment, or conclusion that cannot objectively be proved true Examples of opinions:  My grandfather’s feet are ugly.  Harrison should never have been elected president in the first place.  Tarantulas are disgusting.

5 ADDITIONAL POINTS ABOUT FACT AND OPINION 1. Statements of fact may be found to be untrue. 2. Value words (ones that contain a judgment) often represent opinions. They are generally subjective, not objective.  Best, worst, better, worse, great, terrible, lovely, disgusting, beautiful, bad, good, wonderful 3. The words should and ought to often signal opinions. 4. Don’t mistake widely held opinions for facts.

6 DETECTING PROPAGANDA Propaganda promotes something (a cause, business, person, etc.). It is often misleading. This chapter will introduce you to six of the many types of propaganda techniques:  Bandwagon, Testimonial, Transfer, Plain Folks, Name Calling, Glittering Generalities

7 BANDWAGON “Jump on the bandwagon.” Tells us to buy a product or support a certain issue because, in effect, “everybody else is doing it.” Example: An ad on the bus tells you to “Become one of the growing number of people who watch Action News.”

8 TESTIMONIAL Involves celebrities and people who are famous for various things The testimony of famous people influences the viewers that admire these people Example: “This yogurt can help regulate your digestive system in just two weeks,” says a famous actress. And it tastes great.”

9 TRANSFER Most common type of propaganda Products or candidates try to associate themselves with something that people admire, desire, or love. Example: A beautiful woman is used to promote a cause. (The hope is that we transfer the positive feelings we have toward an attractive person to the product being advertised.) Example 2: An American flag is used to promote a product. (The hope is that we transfer our feelings of patriotism to the product being advertised.)

10 PLAIN FOLKS Plays on the fact that people are distrusting of those with more power Involves presenting oneself as an ordinary, average citizen to appeal to the masses Example: The chairman of a poultry company is shown leaning on a rail fence in front of a farmhouse. He says, “I’m proud to uphold the values that go back to our company’s start on my great- grandfather’s farm in 1900.”

11 NAME CALLING The use of emotionally loaded language or negative comments to turn people against a rival product, candidate, or movement Example: The opponents of a political candidate say he is a “spineless jellyfish.” Example 2: A cell phone service advertises: “Unlike some services, we won’t rip you off with hidden charges or drop your calls.”

12 GLITTERING GENERALITIES An important-sounding but unspecific claim about some product, candidate, or cause Cannot be proved true or false because no evidence is offered to support the claim Uses general words like “great,” “ultimate,” or “simply the best.” Example: A financial advisor says: “True wealth is about more than money. It’s about achieving life.” Example 2: A magazine ad for a line of women’s clothing advertises: “Let yourself shine.”


14 RECOGNIZING ERRORS IN REASON Fallacy: errors in reasoning (often take the place of the real support needed in an argument) Common fallacies: changing the subject and hasty generalizations You will learn about the following in this chapter:  Three fallacies that ignore the issue (circular reasoning, personal attack, straw man)  Three fallacies that oversimplify the issue (false cause, false comparison, either-or)

15 CIRCULAR REASONING Part of a point cannot reasonably be used to fully support it Also known as “begging the question” Example: Ms. Jenkins is a great manager because she is so wonderful at managing.  We still do not know WHY she is a great manager. Example 2: Exercise is healthful, for it improves your well-being.  Healthful and well-being are essentially the same point.

16 PERSONAL ATTACK Ignores the issue under discussion and concentrates on the character of the opponent (frequently seen in political debates) Example: Our mayor’s opinions about local crime are worthless. Last week, his own son was arrested for disturbing the peace.

17 STRAW MAN An opponent made of straw can be defeated very easily. If someone’s REAL opponent is putting up a good fight, it seems more effective to build a scarecrow and battle it instead. Suggests that the opponent favors an obviously unpopular cause Example: The candidate for mayor says she’ll cut taxes, but do you really want fewer police officers protecting our city?

18 FALSE CAUSE The mistake in assuming that because event B follows event A, event B was caused by event A. People tend to oversimplify and base their opinions on one cause rather than looking at all causes. Example: The baseball team was doing well before Paul Hamilton became manager. Clearly, he is the cause of the decline.  Event A: Paul Hamilton became manager.  Event B: The baseball team is losing games.

19 FALSE COMPARISON The assumption that two things are more alike than they really are Example: When your grandmother was your age, she was already married and had four children. So why aren’t you married? Example: All of my friends like my tattoo and pierced tongue, so I’m sure my new boss will too.

20 EITHER-OR It is often wrong to assume that there are only two sides of an issue. Offering only two choices when more actually exist is demanding that people make a choice without all the facts. Example: “You’re either with us or against us.” Example 2: People who support gun control want to take away our rights. Example 3: Eat your string beans, or you won’t grow up strong and healthy.

21 Complete Ten Steps Practices 1-3

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