Strong and Weak Arguments Tricks for Critical Reasoning- Let’s discuss the challenging task of identifying strong and weak arguments in critical reasoning. This is a crucial and time-saving aspect of the CAT exam. By understanding a few fundamental concepts and dedicating enough practice time, you can excel in this section with confidence and accuracy.
So, what exactly is an argument? An argument consists of three components: facts/claims, assumptions/reasons/evidence, and a conclusion. In argument-based questions, you’ll be presented with propositions/statements/premises along with two or more arguments. These arguments may be either in favor of or against the given statement. The purpose of these questions is to evaluate your decision-making ability. You need to analyze the arguments and select the appropriate answer option.
To determine the Strong and Weak Arguments, you must consider the following factors and Tricks for Critical Reasoning:
Elimination in the first reading:
There are arguments that can be rejected upon initial reading. These include:
- Irrelevant arguments: Arguments that are not related to the given statements and are out of context.
- Simple assertions: Arguments that do not provide any evidence or reason to support the given subject.
- Comparative/relative arguments: Arguments that compare the results of a course of action taken in a different situation or environment, which may not provide strong reasoning.
- Vague/ambiguous arguments: Arguments that are unclear and do not explicitly state the evidence.
- Too strong or too weak arguments: Arguments that do not align with the magnitude of the given statements.
2. Inductively strong or deductively valid arguments:
When evaluating arguments, you need to determine whether they are deductive or inductive. A deductive argument must be valid, meaning that the given premises guarantee the truth of the conclusion. On the other hand, an inductive argument needs to be strong enough that, if the premises are true, it is unlikely that the conclusion is false. Inductive arguments that are not strong are considered weak.
- Deductive argument: The weather is sunny in Kerala. If it’s sunny in Kerala, then Tina won’t be carrying an umbrella. So, she won’t be carrying an umbrella. This is deductively valid.
- Deductive argument: All the odd numbers are integers. All the even numbers are integers. So, all the odd numbers are even numbers. This is invalid.
- Inductive argument: Every time John walked by Amy’s dog, it hasn’t tried to bite him. So, the next time he walks by her dog, it won’t try to bite him. This is a mildly strong inductive argument.
- Inductive argument: Today, Reema said she likes John. So, she likes John today. This is a strong inductive argument.
To tackle such questions:
- Identify the argument.
- Evaluate it using deductive and inductive standards.
- Check if it is deductively valid or inductively strong.
- Assess the premises needed for validity or strength.
- Consider whether these premises are implicit.
- Reevaluate your answer choice.
Remember, validity applies to deductive arguments, while strength applies to inductive arguments.
- Avoid letting your personal opinion bias your judgment of the answer choice.
- Consider arguments that may seem absurd but are strong in the given context.
- Distinguish between facts and conclusions, combining the assumptions and facts given in the argument to reach the same conclusion.
- Implicitly stated conclusions can be derived from favorable valid/strong arguments.
- Deductive arguments have a logical structure and sequence, making it easier to identify the correct option.
- Verify deductive validity through various means, such as the truth of premises compelling the truth of the conclusion and the absence of counterexamples.
By applying these tips and concepts, you can enhance your ability to identify strong and weak arguments effectively.
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