Saturday, August 10, 2013

Critical Thinking #6

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In the sixth class of the critical thinking course, we dealt with assumptions and fallacies. Like the clearly stated reasons, there are also implied reasons which are as important in an argument. They are called assumptions.
Assumptions that have to be made for an argument to work are sometimes called ‘underlying assumptions’. They can also be the missing premise in an argument. It is a premise because it is needed to support the argument. Assumptions can either be opinions or facts.
We also learnt about common fallacies in an argument. Arguments that are unsound are said to contain flaws in the reasoning.
Eg: Beeta passed all her exams without doing any work, so anyone taking exam should stop studying.
This example contains a flaw that makes the conclusion unreliable.
This kind of fallacy is called “generalization”, where we generalize from the particular. Another common type of fallacy is 'composition fallacy'.

Some of the common flaws are :
Ø Arguing from a particular case to a general conclusion
Ø Relying heavily on anecdotal evidence, or past experience
Ø Mistaking a correlation for a cause

There  are many, many more fallacies. We could discuss only this much in one class.

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