And here I can explain a[br]little bit more about why.If you consider what the[br]red argument's premises say, that your friend can't stand Monty, and she wants to have a good time, and think about their relationship to the conclusion of the argument, you'll see that those[br]statements don't make that conclusion any[br]more likely to be true.Tags: Opencourseware YaleCritical Thinking Institute UwiWhat Makes A Good Written EssayMla Standard Essay On King LearSimple Research Paper TopicsExtreme Sports Thesis StatementEssay On Vegetarianism Vs Meat Eating
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.
So I'm gonna put up here, on the left, the orange argument, which is the second response that your friend gave, "Monty's really shy" and[br]"He rarely goes to parties." On the right we'll put[br]the purple argument, "Monty's in Beijing" and "He can't get from Beijing[br]to the party in time." Both of them have the same conclusion, "Monty won't be at the party." Now, as I said before, both of these are good arguments, they both do give you reason to believe the conclusion, i.e., both of them have premises which support the conclusion, but there's an important difference between the two arguments[br]that I want to point out.
If you consider the purple argument, and think about what those premises say, you'll notice that if[br]those premises are true, if Monty's in Beijing,[br]and can't get from Beijing to the party in time, then it must be true that Monty won't be at the party. In such an argument, where the premises guarantee the truth of the conclusion, we call the argument deductive.
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.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.She's given you two statements, "Monty's really shy" and[br]"Monty rarely goes to parties," which together comprise[br]a reason for believing that Monty won't be at the party.The statements that are the reason, we call the argument's premises.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?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.The second reason,[br]though, is a good reason to believe that Monty[br]won't be at the party.If he's really shy and[br]rarely goes to parties, then it's probable that he[br]won't be at tonight's party.