Argument and critical thinking


Argument has a power to influence the world.
Let the world to know the power of persuasion.

You are well aware about the strength of arguments, but at the same time, there is a lot of confusion in the laboratory of thinking. We know that this is very amorphous concept to grasp. “How to master argument and critical thinking” is a million dollars question. Nevertheless, let’s see what is it.

Argument is neither a conflict nor debate, but rather it is a process of persuasion. Though it connotes hostility or resentment, but, in fact, it is an amicable process of expression with thoughtful claim and supporting reasons.

The purpose of arguments and critical thinking isn’t to prove anything but to persuade in favour of truth. An explict argument requires a specific claim and consistent supporting reasons with credible evidences, whereas implicit argument may be a slogan on board, or a poster with hidden message. In this blog, “Argument and critical thinking  I will present an effective method to write or express arguments.

Claim as a basic elements of argument

Basically, argument has three elements-a specific claim, supporting reasons, and credible evidences.

Meaning of claim

Claim is an assertive statement means it asserts something either in positive or negative way.

A claim can be a statement provided that it asserts something. An interrogative sentence can be a statement but not claim. But, all claims are statements.

For better understanding, here are some examples.

•Biomagnification is the product of excessive use of pesticides on  the crops.

•Eutrophication is common in areas of heavy  use of irrigation and fertilizers.

•Incidents of malnutrition in the world is ascribed to the rampant corruption and poor delivery mechanism.

•Thermal power plants are the biggest source of carbon dioxide emmissons.

•Nuclear power can be a potential energy source for future development.

•Frequencies of cyclones are on the rise in the tropical Asia Pacific region.

•Poor will be the first victim of climate change.

•Economic inequality is widening in the newly emerging economies.

•Inflation will not come down unless government increases adequate supply.

 All  statements are claims but with assertions.To be qualify as a claim, assertion is prerequisite. Claim is the building block of argument and critical thinking.

A statement may include one or more sentences or vice versa.

Examples of statements which are not claims.

•Do you think global warming is responsible for the rise in sea level ?

•If you have any idea regarding water management, then let me know.

•You should have saved that person, but you didn’t.

These are some examples of statements which are not claims. They are used to question or command but not assert anything. Therefore, we cannot call them as claim. As I mentioned earlier that to be qualify as a claim, statement should assert something in either of side.

Scope of claims

So far, I have explained about the claim and statements. Now, there might be clarity in your mind about the meaning of both claim and statements. Hereafter, we need to go into further details of claim, the basic elements of argument or reasoning.

You might be aware about the different value such as “All”, “Some”, “Few”.These words are indicating indefinite numbers about something. However, scope is much more than numbers. It may be a geographical areas or time.

Scope as Numbers

•Not all people are responsible for lynching incidents.

•All lynching incidents are targeted at the particular community.

•Very few people are being recruited for the lucrative jobs in the developed countries.

•Some reasons we can ascribe to the ongoing failure.

In these examples, I have used scope in the form of numbers instead place or time.

Scope as a Place

•India is a victim of terrorism in the world .

•Sahara desert is sparsly populated region in the African continent.

•Equatorial forests are largely confined in the Amazon basin of Brazil, in the South America.

These three examples indicate the scope of place. In the first example, I mentioned about the victim of terrorism, second Sahara desert, and third about the location of equatorial forests.

Scope as a Time

•In the ancient time, there were hardly any trading relations among major civilization.

•Medieval history is well known for feudal system of governments in Europe, as well as in the Indian subcontinent.

Both the statements highlight the scope of time. In the first example, in the ancient time and in second example, medieval history, manifests the scope of time.

This subject matter is very useful to learn argument and critical thinking. In the upcoming blog, I am going to explain the “Certainty” and the “Types of claim” to proceed further to learn “Argument”.

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