Critical Reasoning

All there is to know

Questions test your ability to:
• • • • Identify the main point or conclusion of an argument Make inferences or draw conclusions of an argument Identify assumptions Assess the effect of additional information on the argument • Identify the unstated conclusion of an argument • Identify the method of reasoning employed in an argument • Detect reasoning errors

Identify:
• Premise • Conclusion • Where they are positioned • How they are related • Cue words • Type of logic

Understanding the Argument
• Premise – facts that support the conclusion – key words: because, since, in the view of, given that • Conclusion – logical outcome supported by the premise – key words: therefore, hence, thus, so, implies, indicates that • Assumptions: – A logical gap that links the premise and the conclusion. It is understood, never stated

Identify the premise and the conclusion through cue words
• She cried. She did not pass the test.

• She cried because she did not pass the test.

Understanding the Argument
An auto mechanic who is too thorough in checking a car is likely to subject the customer to unnecessary expenses. On the other hand, one who is not thorough enough is likely to miss some problem that could cause a serious accident. Therefore, it is a good idea not to have your car checked until a recognizable problem develops.

Understanding the Argument
• Premise: 1. An auto mechanic who is too thorough in checking a car is likely to subject the customer to unnecessary expenses. 2. On the other hand, one who is not thorough enough is likely to miss some problem that could cause a serious accident. • Conclusion: Therefore, it is a good idea not to have your car checked until a recognizable problem develops. • Assumption: Most car owners are concerned with the cost of car maintenance than with safety. Car mechanics are either too thorough, or not thorough enough. There is no middle ground. Car problems will manifest themselves before they are serious enough to cause accidents.

Identify position of conclusion
• David was talking during the lesson so he did not understand the teacher’s instructions. • David did not understand the teacher’s instructions because he was talking during the class.

Connecting events to draw a conclusion
• The sun rose this morning. The sun rose yesterday. Therefore, the sun will rise tomorrow. • Sara overslept, which caused her to be late leaving for school; therefore, she ran all the way, causing her to be out of breath.

Unstated Conclusions
• Identify the main premise • look for links between the premises • look for the answer choice that links the premises • verify the conclusion against the premisesit must be supported by all of the facts

Unstated Conclusions
When we regard people to be morally responsible for their actions, we regard them as being the object of praise or blame with respect to those actions. But it seems evident that people cannot be the object of praise or blame for their actions unless they performed them of their own free will. Therefore, -----

Unstated Conclusions
• People are morally responsible only for actions that they perform of their own free will. • People are not morally responsible for actions they did not perform • People can be blamed or praised for actions that they perform of their free will • People are morally responsible only for actions for which they can be blamed or praised • People who are not morally responsible for their actions cannot be blamed or praised for their actions.

Determining what the writer is trying to say:
Looking for Verbs and Adverbs:  The ground was wet so it must have been raining.  The ground was wet so it probably has been raining.

Determining what the writer is trying to say:
Look for Adjectives: • Teachers in New York deserve extra pay for the work they do. • Prisoners in San Quentin rioted today because they were angry about their condition.

Making Inferences
• If all the statements are true which of the following must be true? • Which of the following conclusions is most strongly supported by the statements can be properly inferred from the passage? – With ‘must be true’ Q, use deductive reasoning – With ‘may be true’ Q, use inductive reasoning

DEDUCTIVE ARGUMENT

• All men are mortals • Brain is a man • Therefore, Brain is a mortal

INDUCTIVE ARGUMENT:
• Answer should be supported by all the premises • Remains within the scope of the argument. • The scope of the argument is defined by its limits, its boundaries. • Linked to the argument

INDUCTIVE ARGUMENT:
• Freshmen usually find economics I difficult • Jones is a Freshman • Therefore Jones finds Economics I difficult

INDUCTIVE ARGUMENT:
• Argument by Example

• Argument by Analogy

Argument by Example
The US gives billions of dollars in foreign aid to Balonia. Leaders of Balonia resent foreign aid. The US should discontinue direct foreign aid to developing countries.

Argument by Analogy
• The conservative and labor parties support a viable economy, including economic growth, industrialization, a fair wage policy and unrestricted immigration. • The Conservative Party endorsed free trade. • Therefore, the labor party will endorse free trade.

Argument by Analogy
• France and England have the same population size • France has fluoridated drinking water • England will have fluoridated drinking water.

Determining the logical sequence of an Argument
• Find the conclusion first • Find the premise

• Determine if the premise is true.
• Determine the logical form of the argument.

Venn diagram and deductive argument
All weeds are plants; all daisies are weeds. Therefore, all daisies are plants.

Weeds

Plants Daises

All weeds are plants; all daisies are weeds. Therefore, all daisies are plants.
Plants Weeds Daises

Because all dollars are money and all Yen are money, then all dollars must be Yen.

Money

Dollar

Yen

Dr. Deutch’s economics class is difficult. Dr. Jack’s economic class is difficult

Professor’s Sol’s economic class is difficult
Therefore all economic classes are difficult.

Difficult J D

S

Analyzing the logical sequence of an argument
Dear Ann Landers: I am a 21-year-old guy who is perfectly straight. I like to go to a gay bar in our neighborhood because the music is good and the people are friendly. My dad sat me down last night and asked me if I was a switchhitter. I told him absolutely not. He said her was very relieved because he had heard I was a steady at this place. When I explained I liked the ambiance, he advised me to find my fun some place else because everyone assumes that a guy who goes to a gay bar is gay. I think he is wrong.

Premise and conclusion:
• Any person frequenting a gay bar is gay • You are a person frequenting a gay bar • Therefore, you are presumed to be gay.

Gay Frequenters You

Strengthening an argument
• Support one assumption • Provide additional facts to support the conclusion

Strengthening an argument
It has recently been proposed that we adopt an all volunteer army. This policy was tied on a limited basis several years ago, and was a miserable failure. The level of education of the volunteers was unacceptably low, while levels of drug abuse and crime soared among the army personnel. Can we trust our national defense to a volunteer army? The answer is clearly no.

Strengthening an argument
• The general level of education has risen since the first time an all volunteer army was tried. • The proposal was made by an organization called Citizens of Peace. • The first attempt to create a volunteer army was carried out according to the same plan now under proposal and under conditions as those that exist today. • A volunteer army would be less expensive than an army that relies on the draft. • The size of the army needed today is smaller than that needed when a volunteer army was first tried.

Weakening an Argument
The recent turnaround of the LEX corporation is a splendid example of how an astute chief executive officer can rechannel a company’s assets towards profitability. With the new CEO at the helm, LEX has gone, in only three business quarters, from a 10 million dollar operating loss to a 22 million dollar operating gain.

Weakening an Argument
• The passage assumes the the new CEO was the only factor that affected the corporation’s recent success. • The recent success of the corporation may be only temporary. • The chief executive officer may be drawing a salary and bonus that will set a damaging precedent for this and other corporations • The author does not define probability. • Rechanneling assets is a short term solution.

FALLACIES:
• • • • • Guilt by association Faulty analogy Causal fallacies Post hoc ergo hoc You too

Faulty Analogy:
• Tariffs on textiles benefit the textile industry • Tariffs on steel benefit the steel industry • A tariff on every imported product benefits the economy.

Causal Fallacies:
Roni develops a rash whenever exposed to cactus weed. On his way home from a hike, he breaks out in a rash. Upon applying some ointment, he exclaims, “I must have brushed by a cactus weed.”

Argument:
• Rashes are caused by cactus weed

• I have a rash
• I must have touched a cactus plant.

Post hoc ergo hoc
• Event y is followed by x • So x is the cause of y

YOU TOO:
• You assert not to do x • But you do x • I can ignore you advice not to do x

More Fallacies
• STATISTICAL: – data is drawn from a sample not representative of population or too small a sample is used to generalize findings. • UNWARRANTED ASSUMPTION: – has no basis or merit • IRRELEVANT APPEAL: – Validity is judged based on the the belief of very few people.

More Fallacies
• REFUTATION ERRORS: – attacking the author of the argument or any piece of information irrelevant to the argument

• CIRCULAR REASONING: – A premise is restated as the conclusion, or premise presupposes the conclusion

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