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Critical Thinking and Reasoning Skills Review Practice

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Updated on Sep 29, 2011

Review the lesson for Critical Thinking and Reasoning Skills Review Help.

Critical Thinking and Reasoning Skills Review Practice

You are hiking in the forest with several of your friends. You suddenly realize that you have wandered off of the pathway and are not sure how to get back to the campsite.

  1. What is the main problem or issue?
  2. What are the parts of the problem?
  3. Consider the priority of these issues. What part of the problem should you address first? Second?

The following is a brief deductive argument. Read it carefully and then answer the questions that follow. The sentences are lettered to make the answers easier to follow.

(a) People are always complaining about the lack of funding for arts programs in schools. (b) I, however, do not think that this is as big a problem as people make it out to be. (c) In fact, I think that we should concentrate our spending on school programs that are meaningful, such as biology, reading, and math, not on ones that are useless, such as art and music appreciation. (d) Let's face it: The miracles that saints like doctors perform are more important. (e) Furthermore, an artist makes an average of $20,000 a year, whereas a doctor makes around $300,000 a year. (f) So, there is no doubt about it; we should spend money on textbooks, not on easels. (g) In the end, who do you think contributes to society more—the beatnik who paints all day or the scientist like me who spends his time in a lab finding the cure for cancer?
  1. Underline any opinions you find in this passage.
  2. Put brackets [ ] around any claims that you feel are tentative truths.
  3. Are there any incomplete claims in this argument?
  4. Evaluate the use of the word average in this passage. Is it acceptable?
  5. Highlight any euphemisms, dysphemisms, or biased questions.
  6. What is the conclusion of this argument?
  7. What are the premises that support that conclusion?
  8. Evaluate the premises. Are they credible? Reasonable?
  9. Would you say that this is a good argument? Why or why not?

Answers

  1. The main problem is finding out where you are and how to get back to the camp site.
  2. There are several issues here, including the following:
    • Could you be in danger if you don't find the camp site?
    • Will someone realize you are gone and look for you?
    • Does anyone else have a clue about where you are?
    • Do you have a cell phone or any other way of calling for help?
    • Is the weather, temperature, or terrain a source of danger?
    • Is it getting dark?
    • Do you have enough food and water if you can't get back for hours?
    • Do you need to seek shelter of some kind?
  3. The first issue you need to address is your safety. In order to assess whether or not you are in danger, there are other issues you'll have to address, including whether or not the weather, temperature, or terrain are a threat to you. After you assess the level of danger, then you can consider other factors. If, for example, it is getting dark, do you have a source of food, water, and shelter? Do you have a way of contacting others? How much do you know about outdoor survival?

For answers to 4, 5, and 8, opinions are underlined, tentative truths are bracketed, and persuasive techniques (such as euphemisms, dysphemisms, or biased questions) are in bold.

People are always complaining about the lack of funding for arts programs in schools. I, however, do not think that this is as big a problem as people make it out to be. In fact, I think that we should concentrate our spending on school programs that are meaningful, such as biology, reading, and math, not on ones that are useless, such as art and music appreciation. Let's face it: The miracles that saints like doctors perform are more important. [Furthermore, an artist makes an average of $20,000 a year, whereas a doctor makes around $300,000 a year.] So, there is no doubt about it; we should spend money on textbooks, not on easels. In the end, who do you think contributes to society more—the beatnik who paints all day or the scientist like me who spends his time in a lab finding the cure for cancer?
  1. Yes. The arguer says, "Let's face it: The miracles that saints like doctors perform are more important." More important than what? The implied comparison is to artists, but the claim doesn't state that for sure.
  2. Yes and no. The average salary given for artists may not be entirely accurate. For instance, does that statistic take into account highly successful artists like Philip Rothko or Picasso?
  1. The conclusion is sentence c: "In fact, I think that we should concentrate our spending on school programs that are meaningful, such as biology, reading, and math, not on ones that are useless, such as art and music appreciation."
  2. The premises that support the conclusion include sentences d, e, and f.
  3. The premises in this argument are not very strong. Sentence d, for example, makes an incomplete claim, so it cannot be used as evidence to effectively support the claim. Sentence e can be accepted only as a tentative truth—the arguer doesn't cite his sources for the statistics that he provides; and sentence f is an opinion.
  4. Overall, this is a poor argument. Most of the premises are either incomplete, biased, tentative truths, or opinions that are not supported with facts. Furthermore, the credibility of the arguer should be called into question. He stated that he is a scientist, so most likely, he is offering a biased perspective.
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