Phil. 4


A Summary of Critical Thinking Skills





If you can't do the following things well, then you haven't yet mastered the critical thinking skills needed for college work:

1. Locate the argument in a passage.

2. Detect errors of reasoning and explain how the reasoning is in error.

3. Evaluate evidence and make appropriate inferences from that evidence.

4. Distinguish whether an argument's conclusion follows with certainty or only with probability [i.e., distinguish deductive validity from inductive strength].

5. Identify implicit assumptions.

6. Identify the issue in a disagreement.

7. Detect logical inconsistency.

8. Detect and remove vagueness and ambiguity.

9. Identify the point or purpose of someone's remark. For example, is the person asking something, making a claim, arguing, threatening, or joking?

10. Create an argument that avoids the fallacies and makes a plausible case for a position on an issue.

11. Given an argument on a controversial issue, create a plausble argument that defends a different (or the opposite) conclusion.

12. Detect when someone is asking a bad question because it's loaded, or because it's a red herring.

13. Be able to explain in what way this is analogous to that.

14. Compare the quality of two competing explanations.