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Summary of Week 4

Summary of how to evaluate arguments as good or bad.

So what have we done so far?

You now have all the tools required to evaluate arguments, which makes you part of the elite of critical thinkers. What you have learned can be inspected by your ability to answer the following questions, when you go back to the real world and encounter some passage.

  1. What, if any, statements does this passage contain?
  2. If it’s an argument, what’s the conclusion? And what premises are supplied?
  3. If it’s an argument, does it have any suppressed premises? If so, what are they?
  4. How does the whole argument look in standard form with all premises made explicit?
  5. Is the argument deductive or non-deductive?
  6. If it’s deductive, is it valid? If it’s non-deductive, how strong is it? Can you think of a (plausible) counter-example?
  7. Are the premises true?
  8. So, is it a good or a bad argument?

In the rest of the course, we will show you how you can do so by looking at various arguments as they show up in science, law, and morality.

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Logical and Critical Thinking

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