An Introduction to Evaluation

Unit #3 Summary

In this unit we took a closer look at the process of evaluating arguments.  We began by discussing how to apply the standards of factual correctness and logical strength.  We then characterized different levels of logical strength, and introduced the related terminology of ‘deductive’ and ‘inductive’.   We then turned to factual correctness, focusing on two potential complications.  First we looked at conditional claims, and discussed when claims like this are true and false.  Second,  we looked at a common kind of fallacious argument—the Straw Man.  Last we looked at how bias can undermine our reasoning, and identified some techniques for mitigating its effects.

Key Terms

  • Soundness
  • Factual Correctness
  • Logical Strength
  • Undetermined Arguments
  • Deductive Arguments
  • Inductive Arguments
  • Inductively Strong
  • Inductively Weak
  • Not Factually Correct
  • Undetermined
  • True
  • Standard Form for Conditionals
  • Antecedent
  • Consequent
  • Strict Conditionals
  • Strong Conditionals
  • Ambiguous Conditionals
  • Straw Man Argument
  • Contextual Straw Man
  • Bias
  • Myside Bias
  • Double-Blind Studies
  • Social Value
  • Halo Effects
  • Cognitive Miser
  • Devil’s Advocate
  • Epistemic Bubble
  • Echo-Chamber

Further Reading

For a broad overview of the psychological literature on motivated reasoning see: “Motivated Cognition in Self and Social Thought” by David Dunning in APA Handbook of Personality and Social Psychology.  For more on associations and some interesting examples see Chapter 1 of Mindware: Tools for Smart Thinking by Richard E. Nisbett.  If you are interested in learning about how advertisers use halo effects and other techniques to persuade see Sold on Language: How Advertisers Talk to You and What this Says about You by Julie Sedivy and Greg CarlsonFinally, for an accessible discussion of epistemic bubbles and echo chambers see Nguyen’s contribution “Escape the Echo Chamber” in the online magazine Aeon.


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