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First, very broadly, critical reasoning is the means by which one is able to evaluate various aspects of discourse on any topic. A little more specifically, critical reasoning provides the tools by which one is able to ascertain whether a, say, philosophical or legal or ethical or political statement or position is ‘good enough’ – so, good enough for what? Ultimately, I think, critical reasoning enables us to decide whether we should give our agreement, our assent, our belief.
More specifically, the elemental terms in which critical reasoning operates are, as Tavani points out (p.75), claims (statements called ‘premises’) and arguments (comprised of claims linked in such a way as to lead to a concluding, final claim, a ‘conclusion’); critical reasoning “aims at assisting us in evaluating the strength of arguments and in analyzing (the truth or falsity of)...
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