What is critical thinking? Critical thinking involves making a good argument based on the premises. An argument can be found where there is a disagreement between two or more people about a subject. Reasoning and evidence is put forward in an argument to convince the other person that, what they believe is correct. Reasoning and evidence is used to support the claim made by the person. Throughout the essay, the analysis of the argument for both sides will be provided according to ARG conditions. And if the ARG conditions are not met, the argument will be reconstructed. The intention in doing so is to show the importance of constructing a proper premise to support the conclusion, which will make a sound argument. This will be shown by the analysis of three dialogues.
In the first dialogue, Jim says that a mediator should be unbiased. If the mediator is biased and favors one party over the other, the process will be not fair to the other party. And because the United States is the world’s only superpower, it will never be seen as biased. The idea that the United States can go in and intermediates in the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is utterly stupid! As there is no known reason that the statement is false, this idea can be accepted. Jim meets the ARG conditions for a sound argument. The premises provided by Jim to support the conclusion are relevant. The premises provide enough reason to accept the conclusion. However, Roger does not have good logical premises to support his claim. His argument passes only the A condition but not the R and G conditions.
To meet the challenge of the argument, Roger’s response to Jim’s argument must be reconstructed in a way that shows, Jim’s premises are understood by Roger, rather than completely ignored like in the original argument. To reconstruct Roger’s response to Jim’s argument:
Roger: I disagree. As you just said, United States is the world’s only superpower. Therefore, it is capable of pressuring both parties and remaining completely biased. Many tensions have been reduced and conflicts were resolved whenever United States served as a mediator between parties, remaining completely fair to both sides. United States should mediate between Israelis and Palestinians, as it may be helpful to resolve the conflict between them.
The reconstruction of Roger’s respond shows that, Roger disagrees with Jim. It provides premises to support the conclusion, constructing a sound argument. Roger is not completely ignoring Jim’s argument like in the original dialogue.
In the second dialogue, Steve says that hypnosis is dangerous because it opens your mind to too much outside influence. Another individual has a complete control over your mind. Steve’s argument passes the ARG conditions, as Steve provides relevant premises to support his claim. In response to Steve, Peter says that he understands what Steve means and then he continues discussing his own experience with hypnosis and how it helped him to quit smoking and with him dental work. Even though, hypnosis worked for Peter does not mean that it will for everyone, which makes Peter’s argument not to pass the ARG conditions. Therefore, Peter’s argument is reconstructed:
Peter: I understand what you mean. But in my experience it was quite helpful. Hypnosis helped me to quit smoking and was useful for dental work as well. I totally agree with you as hypnosis is not for everyone. It worked for me but it does not mean that it will work for everyone as well. One should not go for hypnosis if they are not comfortable in doing so.
The reconstruction passes the ARG condition of the argument. Peter considers Steve’s argument rather than just sharing his personal experience.
In the third dialogue, Nicholas says that legislation compelling children to wear helmets when they are riding their bikes is really a good thing. It decreased many bike related injuries. She backs up her conclusion by also providing the statistics that the accidents in 2001-2002 decreased by 26% compare to 1997-1998 which was 12.5% since the law has been put into place. Nicholas argument passes the ARG condition as it provides relevant premises to support the conclusion. In response to Nicholas, Kaitlyn says that is a great news and then she discusses how there can be many other factors that contribute to the decreased in the bike related accidents. She says that it might be due to the fact that people are riding bikes less or public education campaigns are helping more than the actual legislation. Kaitlyn considers Nicholas’s argument instead of ignoring it. Both the arguments provided by Nicholas and Kaitlyn passes the ARG condition and is therefore acceptable. Both provide relevant premises to support their conclusions. Nicholas provides a good reason and evidence of statistics to support the conclusion. Similarly Kaitlyn provides acceptable reasoning to support the conclusion, making it a good argument as well.
In conclusion, each dialogue was analyzed based on the acceptability of the premises, relevance of the premises to the conclusion and grounds on which the conclusion was supported. Therefore, when constructing an argument one should know how to express their premises in a way that will provide a good argument. One should also consider other’s point of view instead of totally ignoring it.
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