Critical Thinking Toolkit: Inference to the Best Explanation

I’ve talked about deductive reasoning and inductive reasoning before. Both of these are important mechanisms we use for arriving at conclusions. The first makes use of the rules of logic – which we can essentially view as limiting ourselves to the definitions of words like true and false and not allowing ourselves any other resources.Continue reading “Critical Thinking Toolkit: Inference to the Best Explanation”

Critical Thinking Toolkit: Self-Defeating Statements

Have you ever heard someone say something you find completely unbelievable? I’m sure we all have. Often, we think this because we know things that make the opposing claim unbelievable. There are many examples I could give, but I think your thoughts have probably already filled in some examples for me, so I won’t. AbsurdContinue reading “Critical Thinking Toolkit: Self-Defeating Statements”

Critical Thinking Toolkit: Non Sequiturs

Whenever we are presenting reasons for a position we believe or are involved in dialogue with a person we disagree with, one of the most important things for us to do is to to clearly lay out our reasons for what we believe. Built into this important criteria of conversation is the idea that ourContinue reading “Critical Thinking Toolkit: Non Sequiturs”

Critical Thinking Toolkit: The Ad Hominem Fallacy

This one really should go without saying… and yet we need to say it anyways. So often, public discourse gets bogged down in personal insults of one variety or another. Whether attacks on a person’s morality, integrity, honesty, educational background, or any other aspect of life, our culture – especially the so-called “cancel culture” –Continue reading “Critical Thinking Toolkit: The Ad Hominem Fallacy”

Critical Thinking Toolkit: Clarifying Definitions

This is possibly the most important post I’ve written in my “Critical Thinking Toolkit” series so far. Ensuring we are clear on our definitions is so, so important. Every conversation we can ever have relies on definitions of certain important words, and so this tool always matters. Furthermore, when I look around in the worldContinue reading “Critical Thinking Toolkit: Clarifying Definitions”

Critical Thinking Toolkit: The Fallacy of Arguing from Ignorance

When debating important topics, whether with your friends, online with strangers, or in a public debate with spectators, there is always a high emphasis placed on proving your case. People ask why you believe what you do, ask you to show your evidence, ask you to give them your arguments. There is nothing wrong withContinue reading “Critical Thinking Toolkit: The Fallacy of Arguing from Ignorance”

Critical Thinking Toolkit: False Dilemma

Choices are important. Every day, we make lots of decisions about what to do and what to say. When decisions are especially important is when two possible paths we might take are totally opposite another or grind against one another. There is a certain tension that arises in decisions that carry a great deal ofContinue reading “Critical Thinking Toolkit: False Dilemma”

Critical Thinking Toolkit: Inductive Reasoning

Deductive reasoning is a very useful way to gain knowledge, but it is also very limited. Deduction is a type of reasoning that intellectually compels you to believe something if you accept some number of other things. But very few aspects of reality are like this. In most situations, there are a range of availableContinue reading “Critical Thinking Toolkit: Inductive Reasoning”

Critical Thinking Toolkit: Rebuttal versus Refutation

When you disagree with someone, there are a variety of ways to approach that disagreement. The most obvious kind of approach would be to ask someone why they disagree with you and what evidence they have that underlies the disagreement. After all, in order to have a productive conversation you need to be talking aboutContinue reading “Critical Thinking Toolkit: Rebuttal versus Refutation”

Critical Thinking Toolkit: A Priori Assumptions

This is one of the most important – perhaps the most important – of the many tools in the “critical thinking toolkit.” I don’t say this because I like this topic most among the topics I want to write about – although I do enjoy this topic a lot. The main reason I think thisContinue reading “Critical Thinking Toolkit: A Priori Assumptions”