Presentation on theme: "Philosophy as a set of skills"— Presentation transcript:
1 Philosophy as a set of skills Critical ThinkingPhilosophy as a set of skills
2 As the method of philosophy, solving philosophical problems involves Identifying basic beliefsClarifying basic beliefsFormulating the problemIdentifying possible solutionsGathering informationRecognizing assumptions and points of viewDefending possible solutionsForming a reasoned judgment
3 Skills of Critical Thinkers; Critical Thinkers Can Clarify concepts and beliefsRecognize and formulate problemsIdentify possible solutionsGather relevant informationBe aware of their assumptions, points of view, and biasesIdentify, formulate, & evaluate argumentsWeigh the merits of possible solutionsEvaluate the merits of possible solutionsExamine the consequences of accepting a solution
4 Traits of Critical Thinkers; Critical Thinkers are AnalyticConfidentInquisitivePersistentSystematicTolerantTruth-seeking
5 Types of ArgumentsDeductive arguments: in a valid deductive argument, the conclusion must be true if the premises are true. ‘soundness’ is what is required (that is, valid argument + true premises)Modus ponensP QPQNot to be confused w/ affirming the consequent P
6 Deductive Arguments (cont’d.) Modus tollensP Q~Q~PNot to be confused w/ denying the antecedent ~QDisjunctive syllogismP or Q~PQ(note that disjunctions don’ t have to be exclusive, that is, either this or that but not both)
7 Types of Arguments: Inductive arguments In a valid inductive argument, conclusions are presented as probable -- not necessary, that is, if the premises are true (or probable), the conclusion is only probably trueIn these cases we’re looking, not for soundness (in the deductive sense,) but evaluating the relevance, adequacy, and sufficiency of the premises
8 Inductive arguments (cont’d.) AnalogyA is like BB has property x A (probably) has property xEvaluation focuses on the degree of supposed similarity
9 Inductive arguments (cont’d.) Causal argumentA is correlated with BNothing else is known to be the cause of B A is likely to be the cause of BEvaluation focuses on the second premise, that is, on the claim that other possible causes can be eliminated from contention
10 Inductive arguments (cont’d.) AbductionA existsB is the best explanation of A B probably existsAlso called “inference to the best explanation”, evaluation focuses on “best explanation” from relevant alternatives and on degree of ‘explanatory power’
11 Inductive arguments (cont’d.) Inductive generalizationAll A’s examined so far have property xThis is an A A probably has property xEvaluation focuses on number of observations (relative to total size) as well as carefulness of observation
12 Inductive arguments (cont’d.) Statistical generalizationN% of A’s examined so far have property xThis is an A This has an N% chance of having property xEvaluation focuses on size of sample, distribution of sample, obversational technique
13 Types of Arguments: Fallacies Fallacies are arguments where the premises are meant to serve as support for the conclusion, but where they don’t in fact (deductive fallacies) or where they don’t with sufficient probabilityThese can be divided into ‘formal fallacies’, where the ‘form’ of the argument is faulty, or ‘informal fallacies’, where the premises are, in some measure, irrelevant
14 Fallacies: formal Begging the question P P Sometimes called a “circular argument” , the problem lies in (sometimes unknowingly) assuming what needs to be proved, or introducing the conclusion as a premise
15 Formal fallacies (cont’d.) Affirming the consequentP QQ PDenying the antecedentP Q~P ~Q
16 Formal fallacies (cont’d.) Post hoc ergo propter hocLiterally, “after this, therefore because of this”The problem here lies in assuming that because two events follow upon one another, that therefore they are causally related -- a typical fallacy in historical arguments
17 Formal fallacies (cont’d.) Hasty generalizationWhen a generalization is made from too small a sample or too cursory a set of observationsEquivocationWhen a term is used in an argument with at least two senses, or when amibiguity is exploited to lead to a desired conclusion
18 Types of Arguments: Informal fallacies Ad hominemLiterally, “against or to the man” -- when appeal is made to the character (or other irrelevant characteristic) of the person making or opposing the argumentAppeal to authorityWhen the status of an individual making a claim is used to confirm the truth or probability of that claim (distinct from ‘expert testimony’)
19 Informal fallcies (cont’d.) Tu quoqueLiterally, “you’re another”, when appeal is made to the fault of another as defense for a similar faultStraw manWhen an argument or claim is construed or interpreted in the weakest possible way, so as to make it easy to undermine it
20 Informal fallacies (cont’d.) Red HerringWhen appeal is made to irrelevant considerations, in order to shift attention or focus from the claim at issueAppeal to ignoranceWhen it is claimed that something is true, probable, or plausible in virtue of the fact that it cannot be shown to be or is not known to be false
21 Example 1In every conflict, the respective governments or groups claim to be fighting for justice. But “justice” is just a word, and fighting over words is silly (in the case where people get killed, it is criminal.) Therefore all conflicts or wars are unjustified, and both sides in whatever conflict are wrong.
22 Example 2Israel has no moral right to condemn acts of Palestinian terrorism because it too makes use of morally reprehensible acts to defend itself. Its security services are allowed by law to torture criminal suspects. It indiscriminately targets innocent civilians in order to eliminate terrorists. And, in any event, many of its leaders have been terrorists or war criminals themselves.
23 Example 3Monsanto and other companies which promote genetically-modified foods are acting irresponsibly. We don’t know what the effects of introducing these new plants into the environments will be. These companies are trying to increase profits by gambling on our future. Besides, we don’t particularly need these genetically-modified variants when natural versions are perfectly adequate.
24 Example 4Everybody knows that giving people handouts only leads to dependence on those handouts. We, as a state, can’t afford to have a group of people forever dependent on public funds. So it follows that welfare rates should be kept at the absolute minimum for survival in order to encourage people to work and reduce the cost to public. It’s the only thing we can do, given a limited public purse.
25 Example 5The only legitimate approach to treating drug addiction, of any kind, is complete abstinence. If even one slip is allowed, then it is impossible to condemn any subsequent slips. Pretty soon, for instance, one drink becomes many, and the long slide back into alcoholism becomes inevitable.