The Art of Trollism – Act 2: Introduction to Critical Thinking

So, I couldn’t start to speak about any subject without doing first a small introduction to critical thinking.

Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness. [source]

So critical thinking is what you do, when you objectively analyze something, expressing an opinion or a “constructive critic”.

Critical thinking is made by arguments.

a. A course of reasoning aimed at demonstrating truth or falsehood.
b. A fact or statement put forth as proof or evidence; a reason.
c. A set of statements in which one follows logically as a conclusion from the others. [source]

Arguments can be divided in two types:

Deductive

A deductive argument is an argument that is intended by the arguer to be (deductively) valid, that is, to provide a guarantee of the truth of the conclusion provided that the argument’s premises (assumptions) are true. This point can be expressed also by saying that, in a deductive argument, the premises are intended to provide such strong support for the conclusion that, if the premises are true, then it would be impossible for the conclusion to be false. An argument in which the premises do succeed in guaranteeing the conclusion is called a (deductively) valid argument. If a valid argument has true premises, then the argument is said to be sound. [source]

Inductive (or ampliative)

An inductive argument is an argument that is intended by the arguer merely to establish or increase the probability of its conclusion. In an inductive argument, the premises are intended only to be so strong that, if they were true, then it would be unlikely that the conclusion is false. There is no standard term for a successful inductive argument. But its success or strength is a matter of degree, unlike with deductive arguments. A deductive argument is valid or else invalid. [source]

There’s also the question of the premises, every good argument is made of premises:

[A premise is] a proposition supporting or helping to support a conclusion. [source]

And if you’re in doubt about what’s a proposition, I got a definition for you too:

[A logical proposition is] a statement in which something is affirmed or denied, so that it can therefore be significantly characterized as either true or false.

Is unlikely I’ll speak a lot about philosophical definitions in this series, however, if you’re going to listen my opinions, at least you must know the basics, you’ll also have to learn about the fallacies, there is a lot of them, but the basic Greek ones are a must, specially in the internet, where the biggest one is always committed, the famous Ad Hominem.

Anyway next time he will start discussing my (cheap) philosophy.

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