Critical Thinking Post-Reading Activities

Chapter 1: "The Parts of Public Thinking: Deductive Argument"

1. Watch a few episodes of your favourite television shows, and take note of the arguments that take place between characters.  It doesn’t matter if they are trivial (for instance, disagreeing about what toppings to order on the pizza).  Look at the ways that people make their assertions, and see if they attempt to support them.  It might be surprising to find Homer Simpson laying out a Modus Tollens argument, but it could happen!

2. Go through the letters in the editorial section of a newspaper of your choice.  Identify the assertions made in each letter.  Then, look to see if the writer attempts to lay out arguments in support of any of those assertions.

3. Go back through the valid argument forms presented in this chapter (pages 13-20). Try assigning your own values to the variables P and Q, and in some forms, R and S.  After formulating your arguments, go back through them and check to see if they are sound.  If they are not, make the necessary adjustments to give them the property of soundness.