An Introduction to Reasoning

Unit #1 Summary

We reason all the time, and are pretty good at it.  That said, we can improve our skills, and in chapter 1 we began to develop a vocabulary for talking about reasoning and argument more clearly. In addition, we introduced two key skills: argument identification and evaluation.  If we are going to talk about reasoning and argument, then we will need to know how to recognize cases of reasoning in our own thinking, speaking, and writing, and in the speaking and writing of others.  Moreover, we want to reason well, and we closed the chapter by introducing basic standards of argument evaluation. Reasoning is often a social process, and other people are one of the most important influences on our thinking.  In chapter 2 we took a look at the communicative context that is, in general, most conducive to learning from other people—cooperative dialogue.  We looked at a number of obstacles to cooperative dialogue, and ended the chapter with some guidelines for sustaining cooperative dialogue through difficult social contexts.

Key Terms

  • Reasoning
  • System of Belief
  • Justify
  • Automatic Reasoning
  • Argument
  • Proposition
  • Premise
  • Conclusion
  • Indicator Words
  • Opinion
  • Logical Strength
  • Factual Correctness
  • Soundness
  • Cooperative Dialogue
  • Cooperative Persuasion
  • Cooperative Disagreement
  • Identity-beliefs
  • 5 Guidelines

For Further Reading

For an accessible introduction to automatic reasoning processes see Malcom Gladwell’s Blink.  For a readable but more sophisticated account see Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow.  For a critical, persuasive, and well-written approach to the psychology of reasoning see The Enigma of Reason by Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber.  For additional practical advice about sustaining conversation see Crucial Conversations by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, and Switzler.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Arguments in Context by Thaddeus Robinson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book