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Cover Becoming a Critical Thinker

Quality of Argument  

This chapter focuses on the process of developing arguments, which is one of the key aims of critical thinking. Simple arguments comprise three elements: a claim, at least one premise, and a link between them. The claim is the ‘answer’ to the question, which some call the position, conclusion, or contention. Links can be either claim indicators or premise indicators and are extremely important to understanding the line of reasoning. Meanwhile, premises are reasons to support the claim: they should avoid being categorical, vague, or an appeal to emotion. Counter arguments can strengthen your argument either because you can rebut them, or because they demonstrate that you understand the complexity of a situation. Argument maps are a useful visual tool to approach the development of complex arguments in a structured way. The chapter then outlines the steps in developing an argument.