Explanations for Arguments Help (page 3)

Updated on Sep 28, 2011

Explanations for Arguments In Short

Explanations, much like arguments, need to meet certain criteria before you should feel comfortable accepting them. To be valid, an explanation should be relevant—clearly related to the event or issue in question—and testable—able to be verified in some way. Circular explanations—ones that double back on themselves like circular arguments—should be rejected, and you should be careful about accepting explanations that contradict your knowledge or accepted theories.

Skill Building until Next Time

  • Pay attention to the explanations around you: at home, at work, at school, and on TV. See how often you find people offering explanations that don't meet the criteria discussed in this lesson.
  • Once again, sitcoms can help you sharpen your critical thinking and reasoning skills. Characters on sitcoms often find themselves in situations where they have to come up with a quick explanation—and usually those explanations are quite bad. Be on the lookout for these explanations and use the criteria you've learned to evaluate them. Are they relevant? Circular? Testable? Just plain absurd?

Exercises for this lesson can be found at Explanations for Arguments Practice.

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