Critical Thinking Pre-Reading Activities

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

1. Not everyone is good at expressing their opinions, especially when it involves arguing a point with others who hold contrary viewpoints. Consider the following questions:

i. What are some topics that lead you to disagree with others?
ii. When someone opposes your opinion, how do you go about trying to defend it?
iii. Do you think you are good at assessing good and bad arguments?
iv. What factors might lead you to second-guess your conclusions?

2. Before you head into this challenging introduction to argumentation, start by watching Monty Python’s The Argument Clinic at http://www.youtube.com. (If you are unable to view the video clip, the transcript is available at http://www.unco.edu/philosophy). In this sketch, the client defines an argument as “ a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.” When you return to the textbook, remember: this first chapter will present many different forms of deductive reasoning, but it’s really all about the premises leading logically to conclusions.