• What do you think when you hear someone use the word “critical”?
  • What does someone who is critical usually try to accomplish?
  • Is there a difference between productive criticism and criticism?
  • Why does criticism have a negative connotation?
  • What barriers to thinking critically do you have in common?
  • What barriers are unique to you?
  • What do you think can help you with these barriers?
  • What is an example of a warranted assumption?
  • What is an example of an unwarranted assumption?
  • Do you agree with Bassham that Cultural Moral Relativism is bad for thinking critically? Why or why not?
  • Have you ever been guilty of self-interested thinking, self-serving bias, group bias, conformism, or wishful thinking? Come up with two examples as a group.
  • What do you think of when you hear the word “argument”?
  • Does the word “argument” have the effect of the word “critical”?

The following questions and activities are taken from the text. Complete them by Saturday at 7pm (I suggest you do this before attempting the Quiz!). You should comment on 3 of your classmates’ posts–it would be beneficial for you to discuss the answers to these questions together with you classmates.

  1. Determine whether, in typical contexts, the following sentences are or are not statements.
  2. Capital punishment is wrong.
  3. Can vegetarians eat animal crackers? (George Carlin)
  4. Ted Williams is the greatest hitter in baseball history.
  5. What do you say we stop at the next rest stop?
  6. Abraham Lincoln was the first president of the United States.
  7. Let’s party!
  8. Great!
  9. Keep off the grass. (sign)
  10. If Sally calls, tell her I’m at the library.
  11. I hope Peter likes his new job.
  12. Determine whether the following passages do or do not contain ought imperatives.
  13. Be nice to your kids. They’ll choose your nursing home. (bumper sticker)
  14. Toby, never throw a pen at your sister! You could put an eye out! (said by Toby’s mother)
  15. Never raise your hands to your kids. It leaves your groin unprotected. (George Carlin)
  16. If you consume three or more alcoholic drinks every day, ask your doctor whether you should take ibuprofen or other pain relievers/fever reducers. Ibuprofen may cause stomach bleeding. (label)
  17. Why don’t we eat at El GrandeBurrito tonight. I feel like Mexican.

III. Identifying premises and conclusions in 5 of these arguments. 

  1. Since light takes time to reach our eyes, all that we see really existed in the past. (Louis Pojman, The Theory of Knowledge)
  2. Life changes when you least expect it to. The future is uncertain. So seize this day, seize this moment, and make the most of it.( Jim Valvano, quoted in Mike Krzyzewski, Leading with the Heart)
  3. Take care of a good name: for this shall continue with thee, more than a thousand treasures precious and great. (Ecclesiasticus41:15)
  4. I think faith is a vice, because faith means believing a proposition when there is no good reason for believing it. (Bertrand Russell, “The Existence and Nature of God”)
  5. You want to be very careful about lying; otherwise you are nearly sure to get caught. (Mark Twain, “Advice to Youth”)
  6. There is no definitive way to prove any one set of religious beliefs to the exclusion of all others. For that reason religious freedom is a human right. (Richard Paul and Linda Elder, The Miniature Guide to Understanding the Foundations of Ethical Reasoning)
  7. Science is based on experiment, on a willingness to challenge old dogma, on an openness to see the universe as it really is. Accordingly, science sometimes requires courage—atthe very least the courage to question the conventional wisdom. (Carl Sagan, Broca’s Brain: Reflections on the Romance of Science)
  8. Do not play your sound system loudly as you may not be able to hear warning sirens from emergency vehicles. In addition, hearing damage from loud noise is almost undetectable until it’s too late. (car owner’s manual)
  9. The invention or discovery of symbols is doubtless by far the single greatest event in the history of man. Without them, no intellectual advance is possible; with them, there is no limit set to intellectual development except inherent stupidity. ( John Dewey, The Quest for Certainty)
  10. You know how I know animals have souls? Because on average, the lowest animal is a lot nicer and kinder than most of the human beings that inhabit this Earth. (newspaper call-in column)

Post I. Answer the following questions.

  1. What is an example of an unsupported assertion?
  2. What is the difference between illustrating a claim and providing evidence for a claim?
  3. Why is the Principle of Charity helpful in critical thinking?
  4. Name an example from every day life in which it would be useful to distinguish between an argument and an explanation by using the principle of charity.
  5. Post a very brief example of either an argument or an explanation (without saying which it is). Then, respond to 3of your classmates’examplesand say whether it was intended to be an argument or an explanation and why.

III. Determine which of the following passages contain arguments and which do not.

  1. I ate because I was hungry.
  2. He must be home. His car’s in the driveway.
  3. I’m trading in my Ford Explorer for a Toyota Corolla because they’re more reliable and get better gas mileage.
  4. If Christmas is on a Friday, the day after Christmas must be a Saturday.
  5. Dinosaurs became extinct sixty-five million years ago, probably as a result of dramatic global cooling that resulted from the impact of a large asteroid.

Find something from your everyday life that reminds you of something that we’ve discussed in class or you read about in our text. This can be a radio/TV/print/Internet article, advertisement, news item, entertainment piece, Youtube clip, Facebook post, etc. Write a 300 word analysis of the example. Explain the context of your example and answer some of the following questions. Why is it interesting? In what ways is this example related to what we have discussed in class or what you’ve read in our textbook? Why did you choose it (that is, do you like the source it came from, do you come across it during lunch one day and think it appropriate, etc.)? Really think about your example and why you find it interesting.

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