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Critical Thinking: The Challenge Of Argument

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A reflection of one’s capacity to make a logical argument is known as Critical Thinking. An argument is a declaration which has a logical reasoning which can be endorsed by definite proofs. As per Goveir, altercations and disagreements involve a group of two or more than two persons having heated discussions and debating on contentious issues; defending themselves and countering the others with evidences. Arguments with little logic are normally without a sound reasoning and these are not inferred well by others during the so called ‘dispute’ or ‘because’ test. Even if a person is able to steer clear and convince others in a dispute; it is not a guarantee that the views, put during the discussions, were surely logical and convincing. Proofs help in substantiating the claims and this further convinces the spectators to say yes and approve them. This article is just a desire to convince that a proper base is very important to supplement the inferences and strengthen the arguments put in their defense. This is finally conveyed in the form of agreement and reaffirmation of the earlier arguments.

It is understandable that the response fails to meet the challenge of the argument after interpreting the conversation between Roger and Jim. Jim argues in the conversation about how the United States is not the right fit for the position of mediating the conflicts between the Israelis and the Palestinians. On the other side Jim replies by mentioning that a mediator must be unbiased between the two respective parties in a dispute. According to him, It is unfair if the mediator is biased towards one of the parties. Roger opposes Jim’s statement as he mentions that the United States would be a great mediator since it is capable of pushing both the sides. Roger therefore recognizes Jim’s argument disproving it. The main setback with this argument is that Roger fails to support his claim to be true. So, the argument did not satisfy the challenge since Roger’s argument is way too general and does not provide any evidence to prove. Therefore, the premises are proved false. During analysing and discussing of the arguments, it is very important to consider the proofs to support the claims and the conclusion. Roger failed to support his argument and therefore, replied on the basis of his own assumptions and thoughts without even listening completely to the argument made by Jim. Jim’s argument can be acceptable about the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians as there is at least a reason to accept his claim that states the United States would not be a good mediator in resolving the issues between the two parties. Also his claim can be accepted since there is no justified reason given to declare that this statement is false. The premises in the argument present sufficient justifications for the conclusion to be true and to accept that conclusion. But Roger does not have any evidence to support his claim. Though the argument does pass on the A condition but it fails to pass on the R or G conditions.

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To reconstruct and make this argument satisfy the requirements of the challenge, Roger’s reply should be written again to show that Jim’s claims are not ignored as they were in the original argument. The reconstruction is as follows:

Jim: A mediator should be completely neutral between the two parties in a dispute. If he or she is on the side of either party, the process will be unfair to the other party. In addition, the disadvantaged party will probably detect the lack of neutrality and then the mediation won’t work. Neutrality is probably the most essential of all qualities for a mediator to have. And because the United States is the world’s only superpower, it will never be perceived as neutral. The idea that the United States can go in and mediate in the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians is completely stupid!

Roger: I disagree with you. The United States is the only country capable of bringing pressure to both sides, so it will remain completely neutral. The U.S already has served as the mediator in a number of cases and has been completely fair in settling all the conflicts while reducing tensions and encouraging stability. This lead to peace between the arguing parties. I think the United States should go in and mediate in the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians as they might be able to form a mediated agreement which can lead to a settlement between both parties.

Roger throughout in this reconstruction, mentions clearly his reasons for disagreeing with Jim’s initial claim and also provides enough evidence or justification to support the conclusion. Instead of ignoring Jim’s claims, Roger understands what is being said by Jim and provides justified claims to oppose Jim’s conclusion. Both the characters listen carefully to each other and analyze each other’s claims in the reconstruction without ignoring the claims and statements made by the both in the given situation. Steve and Peter’s conversation does not satisfy the challenge of the argument. Steve states how the hypnosis is dangerous as it opens up one’s mind to too much outside influence. He argues there is a lot of potential for another person to take control while being hypnotized . Peter responds by ignoring the whole argument made by Steve by mentioning about his own personal experience to defend his argument. Peter mentions about his hypnosis experience and how it had helped him quit smoking. Hypnosis experience was good for him but it does not mean it will benefit others who use this. Peter’s argument is anecdotal and depending wholly on personal experience which is not appropriate. On the other hand, the argument made by Steve mentions the ill-effects and risks which hypnosis can cause to a person and his logic for the respective claim can be acceptable based on the common sense. As per Goveir, if hypnosis is not done by a trained professional or done on people with mental illness it may not always be appropriate. Steve’s premises are appropriate since it provides relevant reasoning to justify the conclusion. Therefore, Steve’s argument can be considered valid as it passes on the ARG conditions. But Peter’s argument does not pass on the A and G condition as the argument is unacceptable because of weak reasoning. Although, the argument provides appropriate premises to support the conclusion, so it passes on the R condition. While going back to the actual conversation between Peter and Steve, Peter does not pay attention to Steve’s reasoning but he just responds by disagreeing with the conclusion by mentioning about his own personal reasons to support his conclusion. Therefore, the two characters in this conversation fail to make an effort to understand each other’s view points and thoughts. The reconstruction of the argument is as follows:

Steve: I would never let myself be hypnotized by anyone, for any reason.

Peter: Why not?

Steve: Too much is at stake. I just don’t trust anyone that much. When you let somebody hypnotize you, they are getting right inside your mind, and they have a lot of potential to control you. Hypnosis is dangerous because it opens your mind to too much outside influence.

Peter: I understand what you mean to say, there can be a risk or ill effects associated with hypnosis. But in my personal experiences, I have observed good results. Hypnosis helped me a lot in quit smoking and it was great. I definitely understand what you are trying to say. It might not be good for everyone and it shouldn’t be done if a person does not feel comfortable with this.

The reconstruction above satisfies the challenge of the argument as Peter considers Steve’s conclusion and also changed his opinion about hypnosis. Also, he now understands that it worked well in his experience but it will not always benefit everyone in this reconstruction, Peter understands Steve’s conclusion and after analyzing he changed his viewpoint. The argument now meets ARG condition.

After going through the conversation between Nicholas and Kaitlyn, it is clear that the Kaitlyn’s response does meet the challenge of the argument. Nicholas mentions the legislation forcing children to wear helmets when they are riding their bikes has decreased the number of cycling-related injuries by 12.5% and head injuries by 26%. Kaitlyn on the other hand states that there are possible reasons for these numbers to decrease as well other than just the new law. Kaitlyn responds by questioning the results of the legislation and mentions other reasons too to support her argument. She concludes that it could be due to the public cycling less or the public education campaigns raising awareness about the dangers of not wearing a helmet during certain activities. Kaitlyn does understand Nicholas’ arguments when creating her claims on basis of Nicholas’ original statements. On the matter of common sense, Nicholas’ argument is acceptable. When a person follows safety precautions, it is obvious that the accidents will occur less. So, the A condition is satisfied. These premises are considered relevant, as they provide sufficient evidence by stating the latest statistics showing the decrease in cycle-related injuries and head injuries. Therefore, the R condition is satisfied. This argument is cogent as all ARG conditions are accepted. Likewise for Kathryn, the premise is also acceptable as it is also applicable to its conclusion since it provides justified reasoning. So, Kathryn’s argument is cogent as it passes on all the ARG conditions.

To sum up, it is very crucial to analyze and understand the reasoning behind all the arguments and why an argument is not considered to be cogent. The challenge of argument consists of forming and responding to arguments in ways which are relevant and suitable. When preparing an argument, a person should attempt to convey satisfactory premises that provide sufficient evidence for the conclusion. It is very crucial to consider people’s premises and the reasoning behind their claims while considering other people’s arguments to form our judgment and to consider our approval or refusal of the conclusion.


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