Critical Reasoning: A Practical Introduction, 3rd Edition by Anne Thomson

By Anne Thomson

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Extra resources for Critical Reasoning: A Practical Introduction, 3rd Edition

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The ability to state flaws in this way is an important skill to develop, because it can be an effective way of showing other people that there is something wrong with their reasoning. Note that we have stated this flaw without ever considering whether the basic reason – that television advertising affects viewers’ behaviour – is true. If we can identify flaws in reasoning, then we can often be satisfied that a particular piece of reasoning does not establish its conclusion, without needing to dispute the truth of the claims upon which the conclusion is based.

The reasons are not only relevant to the conclusion, they give it strong support since if some patients survive who would otherwise have died, this means that the survival rate is higher. There may, of course, be evidence not presented here which would count against the conclusion, for example, if the drugs were highly toxic. But on the assumption that the drugs have been tested for toxicity, and found to be relatively safe, we can regard the conclusion as well supported by the reasons. Let’s look at one more example: We could introduce a much more difficult written test for learner drivers in the UK but, since this would not improve their driving skills, it would not result in a lower accident rate amongst young drivers.

The results showed that those who had been judged ‘socially cold’ had listed more sexual partners than those with other types of personality. Thus it is evident that people who are socially cold prefer to have a large number of superficial sexual relationships rather than an emotionally demanding sexual relationship with just one person. Instead of being locked up, people who commit murder when they are in a psychotic state should be treated with drugs to change their condition. When in a psychotic state, they have no control over their own actions.

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