Building Logical Arguments. Critical Thinking Skills Understand and use principles of scientific investigation Apply rules of formal and informal logic.

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Building Logical Arguments

Critical Thinking Skills Understand and use principles of scientific investigation Apply rules of formal and informal logic  Inductive reasoning  Deductive reasoning Analyze arguments for soundness of conclusions

Anatomy of an Argument Argument – consists of one more more premises used to provide support for a conclusion  Premises – reasons presented to persuade someone that a conclusion is true or probably true.  Assumptions – premises for which no proof of evidence is offered. Often left unstated

Analogy for Understanding Argument Strength

Common Fallacies in Reasoning Irrelevant reasons  Non sequitur – the conclusion does not follow from the reason Circular reasoning  The premise and the conclusion are the same Slippery slope  If X happens then Y is sure to follow Weak analogies  Similarity between object A and Object B is weak False dichotomy  Either-or choice between two outcomes presented as only possibilities

Final Critical Thinking Skill Carefully evaluate the quality of information  Are there alternative explanations?  Are there contradictory data? Evaluating the relative strength of an argument

Evaluating Argument Strength 1. What is the conclusion? 2. What are the premises provided to support the conclusion? Are the premises valid? Do they suffer from logical fallacies? 3. Does the conclusion follow from the premises? Are there any fallacies in the reasoning 4. What assumptions have been made? Are they valid assumptions? Should they be stated explicitly? 5. What are the counterarguments? Do they weaken the argument? 6. Is there any other information omitted from the argument?

Building Arguments in Your Paper The Conclusion  Your hypothesis is based on the conclusion you draw after reviewing relevant literature. Your review of the literature provides the premises to support your conclusion  You should look for and provide evidence (if it exists) that both support and weaken your conclusion Inductive reasoning – using the results of a number of individual studies to support conclusion (specific to general) Deductive reasoning – using theory (supported empirically) to make prediction in your specific study (general to specific)

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