This book is broken down into four main sections, where we will look at the major themes of cognition, logic, reasoning and argumentation. The first section looks at human cognition to understand the basic biological and evolutionary constraints placed on us when it comes to effective reasoning. Here we will talk about how the brain works, look at some of the central insights from cognitive science and talk about some of the many limitations and flaws prevalent within human cognition.
Thinking may come naturally to us but constructive reasoning certainly does not. Constructive thinking is a skill. It is certainly not true that we are naturally endowed with the ability to think clearly and logically; without learning how and without practicing. The same commitment, training, and skill that is required to be a good golfer, for playing tennis, building houses, or for playing some musical instrument are also required in order to be a good thinker. People who have nev
A short video introducing critical thinking as part of our full course on the subject. Critical thinking consists of both a conceptual skill set and a personal attitude. One must both have the thinking skills to evaluate evidence and processes of inference, but also have the will to subject oneself to the conclusions of those inferences. This involves trust in reason and willingness to reconsider one’s position, or adjust one’s beliefs and actions according to that which is derived from the most solid foundations of reason or empirical data. Critical thinking is inwa
Elements of Reasoning The elements of reasoning are the different dimensions that form part of the process of reasoning and are itemized in order to help one become aware of the role they play within effective thinking The Elements of Reasoning are a list of factors that are designed to make people aware of [...]
Rational Arguments Rational arguments may be understood as reasons given to support a claim that seeks the adherence of an audience A rational argument is the exchange of evidence-based reasons that are designed to influence an audience. Rational argumentation is the capacity to give reasons; to connect the claims that one makes to [...]
Subjective & Objective Claims Objective claims can be supported by reasoned argument and evidence to be shown to be valid or invalid while subjective claims can not Objective means independent from the particularities of a specific instance or individual, subjective means conditional on the particularities of the individual - the subject. An objective [...]
Motivated Reasoning Motivated reasoning is an inversion of the standard process of reasoning so that reasoning becomes directed towards the ends of defending predetermined instinctualy constructed beliefs or opinions Motivated reasoning is reasoning based upon subjective motives that condition the cognitive processes of the individual towards generating conclusions that endorse the maintenance or [...]
Arguments Difference of opinion is one of the central requirements for an argument An argument is an exchange of ideas or opinions between individualsView Source in which the individuals express different opinions about some topic.View Source A defining feature to arguments is excludability, i.e. both members are engaged in some mutually [...]