Critical Thinking Skills Review Study Guide (page 3)

Updated on Sep 20, 2011

Deductive Reasoning Study Guide

You learned that in deductive reasoning, an argument is made based on two facts, or premises. These premises could be rules, laws, principles, or generalizations. If they are true, it should follow that the conclusion of the argument must also be true. But, the conclusion must follow logically from and not go beyond or make assumptions about the premises. If it does not, the argument is said to be invalid.

Deductive Fallacy Study Guide

Arguments that have an error in logic, or a fallacy, are invalid. This lesson explored four of the most common logical fallacies: slippery slope, which has true premises but the conclusion takes them to an extreme; false dilemma, which presents only two options (either/or) when there are really more; circular reasoning, which has just one premise, and the conclusion simply restates it; equivocation, which uses a word twice, each time with a different meaning, or one multiple-meaning word that creates ambiguity.

Inductive Reasoning Study Guide

This lesson showed how to recognize and construct an inductive argument. Induction is the process of reasoning from the specific (particular facts or instances) to the general (principles, theories, rules). It uses two premises that support the probable truth of the conclusion. To determine what is probable, you must use past experience and/or common sense. The two forms of inductive arguments are comparative (comparing one thing, event or idea to another to see if they are similar), and causal (trying to determine cause from effect).

Inductive Fallacy Study Guide

You learned that an inductive fallacy has either has two premises that don't adequately support the conclusion, or a conclusion that doesn't fit the premises. You explored four common fallacies: hasty generalization, which doesn't have enough evidence in the premises to support the conclusion; chicken-and-egg, which claims cause and effect without enough evidence; post hoc, ergo propter hoc, which incorrectly assumes that because one event preceded another, it caused it; and composition, which draws a conclusion based only on the parts of a whole.

Common Logical Fallacies Study Guide

This lesson covered logical fallacies that distract from the real issue, putting an opponent on the defensive. Three such techniques are: red herring, in which the opponent of an argument throws in an irrelevant topic to change the subject to one with which he or she is more comfortable; straw man, which distracts from the original argument by creating a weaker one that is easier to attack; and ad hominem, which attacks the opponent instead of the issue.

Judgment Call Study Guide

You learned that judgment calls are subjective, debatable decisions that have four characteristics: the stakes are high, needed information is incomplete or ambiguous, other people disagree about them, and they sometimes involve conflicting values. It's necessary to always take the time to evaluate all the risks and weigh the consequences of each possible decision.

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