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2/23/2017
Critical Thinking and
Moral Arguments
Chapter 16
Learning Objectives
 After reading this chapter, you will be able to:
 1.1
Articulate the relationship between logic and critical thinking.
 1.2
Explain the notions of induction, deduction, and semantics.
 1.3 Distinguish the various parts of an argument (premises and
conclusion).
 1.4 Evaluate the structure of formal arguments for validity and
soundness.
 1.5
Explain the distinction between formal and informal fallacies.
 1.6
Articulate various types of informal fallacies.
What is Philosophy?
 The study of philosophy involves critical thinking.
Critical thinking, the engagement of the thinker in rational
deliberation- investigation, assessment of arguments, and
assessment of justification, is a skill that is necessary in all aspects of
our daily life as citizens, professionals and persons.
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You must Think!
 Critical thinking is more than a regurgitating answers for multiple
choice exams!
Assessment and evaluation is much broader, and more important,
than giving meaningless busy work.
Education has Intrinsic Value!
 Education is much more important, and has a far greater value,
than can be measured by some pedantic assessment.
As students of philosophy you must be willing to employ rationality.
You must be able to justify your views in a coherent way.
Critical Thinking and Moral Reasoning
 Critical thinking involves the engagement of a thinker in rational
deliberation toward a resolution of a problem. There are various skills
employed by one engaged in rational deliberation.
The skills employed include empirical investigation, analysis of
evidence, development of reasons in support of an argument,
assessment of arguments, the ability to articulate and justify the
analysis and arguments, and the ability to justify premises and
conclusions.
 Moral reasoning is a species of critical thinking that is focused on
the application of ethical theory as applied to various moral issues
or topics. The goal of this text is to facilitate the application of these
skills to a wide variety of ethical topics.
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Logic
 The science of rational thought.
 Formal tools or ways of reasoning.
Rhetoric
 The art of persuading people.
Terms of Logic
 Formal logic involves the use of deductive arguments.
 Informal logic involves the use of inductive arguments.
 A Fallacy- A flaw in thinking or reasoning.
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Formal Logic
 Formal logic- employs a structured argument with a set of premises
and one conclusion.
 1.If P then Q
 2. P
 3. Therefore Q
Deductive Logic
 Deductive logic If the structure of the argument is VALID
 And if the premises are TRUE or SOUND then the CONCLUSION must be
TRUE!
 1. PQ
 2. P
1. PQ
2. Q
 3. Q
3. P
 Valid
Invalid
Inductive Logic
 Practical knowledge- Inductive logic or reasoning.
 1. I have turned the key to start my car 100 times.
 2. Therefore, the next time, I turn the key, my car will start.
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Inductive Reasoning
 Induction: Based upon observation, draw a conclusion
supported by the evidence.
 Take observations, and use those observations to make
generalizations about the world.
 Scientist do this when they conduct experiments.
Induction
1) I have seen the sunset 1000 times in the west.
2) Therefore the next sunset will be in the west.
Induction and Scientific Knowledge
Sir Isaac Newton:
1) I have seen countless objects be released and fall down.
2) Therefore, any future object that is released will fall down.
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We assume the future will resemble the
past.
 Why do we think this is true?
 We think this is true because we assume that our experiences of things
in the past will resemble life in the future.
David Hume- Principle of the Uniformity
of Nature
 We assume what Hume called P.U.N. – Principle of the Uniformity of
Nature
 The future will continue to resemble the past. The laws of nature that
govern the world will continue to do so as they have done in the
past.
How PUN Works
1.
10000 samples of water tested have had the chemical structure
of H20
2.
Given PUN
3.
All future samples of water tested will have the chemical structure of
H2 0
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Substitute in any BLANK
1. _____________ has been observed _____________ times.
2. PUN
3.
______________ will continue to be observed.
What is the justification of PUN, PUN!
1. Principle of the Uniformity of Nature
The future will continue to resemble the past
2. Principle of the Uniformity of Nature
The future will continue to resemble the past
Circular Reasoning
 You can’t use the same premise to justify what you are trying to
prove.
1.
2.
Principle of the Uniformity of Nature
The future will continue to resemble the past
Because in the past, the future has resembled the past.
3.
Principle of the Uniformity of Nature
The future will continue to resemble the past
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Fallacies











Argument ad Hominem
Appeal to Authority
Appeal to Emotion
Appeal to Nature
Appeal to the People or Majority
Appeal to Tradition
Appeal to Religion
Straw man
Red Herring
Begging the Question
False Dilemma
Argument ad Hominem
 Argue that a proposition must be false, because of the person
making the argument.
 This is a Fallacy in reasoning- you should attack the argument not the
person making it.
 Stereotype.
Appeal to Authority
 Argue that a proposition must be true, because of the person
making the argument.
 This is a Fallacy in reasoning- you should attack the argument not the
person making it.
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Appeal to Emotion
 Try to prove an argument based upon sympathy or an appeal to emotion.
 This is a Fallacy in reasoning- emotions are irrelevant to the structure of an
argument and the validity of its conclusion.
 This type of thinking can be a fallacy.
Appeal to Nature
 Some people argue that we should look to nature for what is right or
good.
 But what does it mean to be natural?
 Because it is “natural” is it better?
 This type of thinking can be a fallacy.
Appeal to the People or Majority
 Some argue that the majority must be right?
 Was the majority right when the majority of people thought slavery was
okay? Or the majority in Nazi Germany thought concentration camps
were good ideas?
 This type of thinking can be a fallacy.
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Appeal to Tradition
 Some argue that since it has always been that way, it should
continue to be that way.
 Traditional marriage, traditional family…
 Traditions can be important, but they are not all equally rational.
 This type of thinking can be a fallacy.
Appeal to Religion
 Some persons appeal to religion. With 10000 different ones, how
are we to choose the “right” one.
 Even people with the same religion disagree about what is moral.
Straw Man
 This is a technique where you misrepresent the views of the
opponent by making their argument seem weaker or (dumber)
than it is.
 This is a fallacy because you are not addressing the real issue and have
proved nothing.
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Red Herring
 In this fallacy you argue against something that is not
even at issue.
 Example:
“Embryonic” Stem Cell Debate
Begging the Question
 You assume the conclusion. The argument is circular.
 1. God is All powerful.
 2. God is All knowing.
 3. God is All good.
 4. Therefore, God Exists.
False Dilemma
 In this situation, an argument is given which ignores viable
alternatives:
 1. If you legalize drugs
 2. Then everyone will get high
 3. Society will break down.
 Well, it, perhaps it will not.
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