Logical Critical Thinking

Well, an argument is a set[br]of statements that together comprise a reason for a further statement.

So, for example, we can consider one of your friend's responses[br]before as an argument.

And when you notice things like that, when you distinguish between good and bad reasons for believing something, you're exercising your[br]critical thinking skills.

So critical thinking is making sure we have good reasons for our beliefs, and so one of the essential[br]skills that you learn when you're studying[br]critical thinking is how to distinguish good reasons[br]for believing something from bad reasons for believing something.

The fact that your[br]friend can't stand Monty and wants to have a good[br]time doesn't do anything to make it more likely[br]that Monty won't be there. In the purple argument,[br]though, the premises, if they're true, they guarantee[br]the conclusion is true. The truth of the premises[br]guarantees the truth of the conclusion, and so[br]in the purple argument, the premises do support the conclusion.

Now, it's worth pointing[br]out that the red argument, though it's bad as it[br]stands, could be made a good argument with the addition of some background premise.So it's not morally right or morally good to believe something on[br]the basis of good reasons.Similarly, it's not morally[br]wrong, or evil, or wicked to believe something on[br]the basis of a bad reason.In that case, we say that the argument supports the conclusion.Good arguments support their conclusions, and bad arguments don't[br]support their conclusions.In this lesson, we're gonna[br]talk about three things. And she says to you, quite confidently, "Monty won't be at the party." You're not sure whether[br]or not to believe her, so it would be natural[br]for you to follow up by asking, "Why do you think so?" And there are a lot of different things that she might say in response.Now, it's worth saying something about how I'm using the term "good" here.I'm not using it to indicate anything having to do with morality or ethics.And the best way to be[br]rational in this way is to form beliefs only when you find good reasons for them.Okay, that leads us to[br]our second question: What is an argument?

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