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Chapter Objectives

  • Understand the definition of critical thinking and the importance of the definition terms systematic, evaluation, formulation, and rational standards.
  • Understand how critical thinking relates to logic, the truth or falsity of statements, knowledge, and personal empowerment.

Why It Matters

  • Appreciate why critical thinking is better than the passive acceptance of beliefs.
  • Appreciate the relevance of the claim "The unexamined life is not worth living" to critical thinking.
  • Understand why the following claims are dubious: "Critical thinking makes people too critical or cynical," "Critical thinking makes people cold and unemotional," and "Critical thinking is the enemy of creativity."
  • Appreciate the pervasive use of critical thinking in all human endeavors.

How It Works

  • Distinguish between statements and nonstatements.
  • Understand the basic concepts of reasons, argument, inference, premises, and conclusion.
  • Know how to use indicator words to help pinpoint premises and conclusions.
  • Be able to distinguish between passages that do and do not contain an argument.
  • Be able to identify arguments in various contexts and distinguish between arguments and superfluous material, arguments and explanations, and premises and conclusions.


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