CSS/330: Critical Thinking
and Computer Logic
(Week 2)
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“The business executive is by profession a
decision maker. Uncertainty is his
opponent. Overcoming it is his mission.”
—John McDonald
Strategies in Decision Making
Week One:
Characteristics of Critical Thinking & Decision Making
Week Two:
 Problem
Week Three:
Identification & Formulation
Decision Making
Week Four:
Decision Implementation
Week Five:
Evaluation of Decision Outcomes & Processes
Critical Thinking
Side step:
– What are the components of Critical
– Think in terms of a
Components of Critical Thinking
Perceptions (Ch. 1)
Assumptions (Ch. 1)
Emotions (Ch. 1)
Language (Ch. 4)
Arguments (Ch. 2, 8)
Fallacies (Ch. 5, 6)
Logic (Ch. 3, 9, 10)
Problem Solving (Ch. 11, 12, 13)
Book: Critical Thinking, A Student’s Introduction
Critical Thinking is concerned with
recognizing, understanding,
constructing, and critically evaluating
So… What’s an Argument?
– Also, what statements are Non-Arguments?
– And, what statements are fallacious
A claim defended with reason.
– That something should be done (or not done)
– That something is true (or false)
– etc.
It is not a “heated
All arguments follow a common structure
or pattern: they are composed of one or
more premises and a conclusion.
Premise: a statement offered as evidence or
reasons to support another statement (the
Conclusion: the statement in an argument
that represents the claim we want to have others
accept or believe.
The critical thinker should always strive to
make clear and sound arguments.
– Properly structured
– All relevant premises are included
– Conclusion is logically connected
The critical thinker should also evaluate
arguments presented to him/her with the
same rigorous standards.
Argument Example
Capital Punishment should be abolished
because innocent people may be
mistakenly executed.
– Premise: Innocent people may be executed
by mistake
– Conclusion: Capital punishment should be
How to recognize Argument?
– Look for Indicator Words
– Conclusion IW: therefore, consequently, thus,
hence, it follows that, etc.
– Premise IW: because, since, for, as, given
that, in as much, etc.
– ! Caution: These are generalities, not rules
Examples of IW in non arguments:
– “I stepped on the brake because a dog ran in
front of the car”
– I ran into a tree with the car, hence the
broken windshield
Non Arguments
What types of statements are not an argument?
– Reports
Convey information on a subject
– Unsupported assertions
Indicate a belief without providing evidence
– Conditional statements
If A is true then B must be true
– Illustrations
Provide examples of a claim rather than evidence
– Explanations
Attempt to explain why rather than prove that “it is”.
None of these statements tries to prove a claim
Non-Argument Examples
Ford Mustangs come in a variety of colors
and engine size including the powerful V8
Most people believe in God
If it rains tomorrow, the parade will be
Many wildflowers are edible. For example,
daisies, and day lilies are delicious in
Titanic sank because it struck an iceberg.
Logical Fallacy
Fallacy: An argument that contains a
mistake in reasoning
Two major types
– Fallacies of Relevance
– Fallacies of Insufficient Evidence
Fallacy of Relevance
Arguments in which the premises are logically
irrelevant (not connected) to the conclusion
A statement is relevant to another statement if it
provides at least some reason for thinking that
second statement is:
– True (i.e. positively relevant)
– False (i.e. negatively relevant)
Otherwise, they are be irrelevant to each other.
Fallacies of Relevance Types
Personal attack (Ad hominem)
Attacking the motive
Look who is talking (tu quoque)
Two wrongs make a right
Scare tactics
Appeal to pity
Bandwagon argument
Straw man
Red Herring
Begging the question
Fallacies of Insufficient Evidence
Arguments in which the premises, though
logically relevant to the conclusion, fail to
provide sufficient evidence to support the
Fallacies of Evidence Types
Inappropriate appeal to authority
Appeal to ignorance
False alternatives
Loaded question
Questionable cause
Hasty generalization
Slippery slope
Weak Analogy
Class Activity
Let’s play Jeopardy.
Name that fallacy (What is …)
– Get into Teams
– Identify the fallacies of relevance committed
in the following passages. If no fallacy is
committed, state “no fallacy.”
– The team with the most correct answers wins.
Paul was inebriated. It follows that he was drunk.
It would be unwise to appoint Pete Dobson as superintendent of
schools. Mr. Dobson has twice been convicted of child
endangerment and he was recently charged with embezzlement.
In a recent issue of Stogey magazine, Julio Fumar argues that
Honduran cigars are better than Cuban cigars. But Fumar’s
argument isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. Fumar is biased
against Cuba because the Castro regime imprisoned his parents.
Ricky Henderson, the Hall of Fame baseball player, stole many
bases. Stealing is a crime. So, Ricky Henderson committed many
Bruno: I’m sure that you will want to buy my company’s fire-detection system for your
Sam: I don’t think so. One of your competitors offers the same level of protection for
less money.
Bruno: Well, as they say, it’s a free country. But before you make a final decision,
keep this in mind: Every business that decided not to buy our system was very
quickly plagued with fires and other acts of vandalism.
Tom: I can lick you.
Huck: What makes you think you can lick me?
Tom: Because I’m tougher than you are.
Huck: What makes you think you’re tougher than I am?
Tom: Because I can lick you.
Billy-Ray Hoggerty’s book Stoned in Muskogee should be awarded this year’s
Pulitzer Prize for literature. Billy-Ray, as you know, recently lost both his parents, and
his favorite coon-dog got run over by a hay-bailer.
Mom: Annie, did you break your brother’s model airplane?
Annie: Well, he put chewing gum in my dolly’s hair.
9. All the cool kids at Oaktree Elementary School drink Fizzy soda pop. So you
should too.
10. Sneaker City has accused our company of exploitative labor practices. But
Sneaker City’s labor practices are much more exploitative than ours are. I
happen to know they regularly employ children as young as nine in their
overseas factories. Clearly, these accusations are groundless.
11. Sandy Beach has argued for bilingual education. But who is Sandy Beach?
Is she a trained educator? No, she’s a high school dropout who once served
time for drug possession. Her argument, therefore, is worthless.
12. Dipsy O’Neill has recently argued that drinking a little red wine with dinner is
good for one’s health. But no one should accept O’Neill’s argument. O’Neill,
as you know, is the owner of O’Neill’s Wines and Spirits. Naturally she’d
love to see people buy more wine.
13. Police officer: Sir, if you don’t put your clothes on and stop screaming obscenities in
public, I’ll be forced to arrest you for disorderly conduct.
Drunk N. Disorderly: Blank you, you blankety-blank!
Police officer:
That does it. You’re going to jail.
14. In a recent judicial decision, District Court Judge Lemuel Featherstone argued that
bazookas and flamethrowers are not protected by the Second Amendment.
Apparently, Judge Featherstone believes that the U.S. Constitution is obsolete and
should be repealed by judicial fiat. But the rights protected in the Constitution lie at
the very core of America’s values and traditions. All true Americans must hope that
Judge Featherstone’s ruling is swiftly overturned.
15. Everybody is reading Joey Potboiler’s new novel, Fighting Vixens of Cell Block D. It
must be good.
16. We can never be justified in believing that a miracle has occurred, for proof of a
miracle requires very strong evidence. But the only evidence we have is the
testimony of witnesses; and their testimony is worthless because they believe in such
preposterous things as miracles.
17. Almost all members of the U.S. Congress are opposed to term limits. Well, naturally
they are opposed! They do not want to be barred from being returned to office as
long as they care to run. But since they are the beneficiaries of the status quo, their
arguments against term limits can be dismissed as so much self-serving drivel.
18. Professor Stanton M. Buttersworth conducted extensive and long-term studies of the
television-watching habits of school children. On the basis of these studies, Professor
Buttersworth has concluded that children who watch more than two hours of
television a day do not perform as well in school as those who watch less than two
hours a day. But Professor Buttersworth must be wrong about that. Television is a
source of news, entertainment, and information—and all for an extremely modest
cost. Life would be much less interesting without television.
19. Dad, I can’t believe you won’t let me get “I Love Spike” tattooed on my left buttock.
After all, I’m sixteen years old, and you told me you and Mom both got your first tattoo
when you were sixteen.
20. Many new software programs have bugs in them. Bugs are insects. So, many new
software programs have insects in them.
21. Ferdie: You shouldn’t step in the bucket when you swing that baseball bat. You lose
all your power that way.
Casey: What would you know about baseball, squirt? A scrawny geek like you
couldn’t hit a baseball if it was sitting on a tee. Why don’t you go play with your
pocket calculator or something?
22. Bob: I notice you drink a lot of coffee in Styrofoam cups. Each year Americans throw
away 25 billion Styrofoam cups, and they’re not biodegradable. Have you ever
considered switching to a reusable coffee mug?
Joan: Don’t give me that! If you’re so keen on saving the earth, why don’t you recycle
all those aluminum cans you drink from?
23. Teacher: Diana’s mother called the other day and complained about the three hours
of homework Diana is required to do each night. Apparently, Diana’s mother believes
that schoolchildren should spend all their time talking on the phone, surfing the Net,
and hanging out at the mall. Some parents can be so unreasonable.
24. David Trimble has argued that it’s more expensive to live in New York than it is to live
in Chicago. But New York is a great place to live. It has great restaurants, museums,
and nightspots. I just don’t buy David’s argument at all.
25. Mo: Tiger Woods, the professional golfer, must be an animal hater.
Curly: Why do you say that?
Mo: He’s shot a lot of birdies in his career, hasn’t he?
Curly: Sure.
Mo: Well, anyone who would shoot a defenseless little birdie must
be an animal hater.
More Jeopardy
Identify the fallacies of insufficient
evidence committed in the following
passages. If no fallacy is committed, state
“no fallacy.”
1. Giving half your money to charity is either morally obligatory or morally
prohibited. But giving half your money to charity is not morally prohibited. In
fact, it would be highly praiseworthy. Therefore, giving half your money to
charity is morally obligatory.
2. IRS agent: Mr. Peckinsniff, there is nothing in these documents that proves
that you haven’t been cheating on your taxes. Therefore, I must assume
that you have been cheating on your taxes.
Kids play too many video games. That’s why there’s so much juvenile crime
4. The famous novelist Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World and other
great works of fiction, held that near-sightedness can be corrected by eye
exercises. Given the opinion of so eminent a person as Huxley, we may be
confident that near-sightedness can indeed be corrected by eye exercises.
From a student e-mail: Dear Professor Lott: I can’t believe you took off
points from my paper because it contained numerous spelling errors. You
sea, I always spell-check whatever I right, so I no my writings contain know
spelling errors.
Legislators in Texas want to make it a criminal offense for citizens not to
use seat belts when they drive. Mark my words: If they get away with this, it
won’t be long before they ban beer drinking and cigarette smoking. Then
they will restrict our intake of cholesterol, perhaps setting up cholesterol
testing sites along major highways. We must not let this infringement of our
liberties get started, or there will be no stopping it.
No one objects to a lawyer looking up a legal case during a trial. Why, then,
shouldn’t students be permitted to look up an answer during an exam?
8. Most Hollywood movie stars believe in reincarnation. I know because I
heard it on the Jerry Springer show.
9. Herbie: Are you still reading that wacky New Age magazine?
Alice: Yes.
Herbie: Well, at least you admit it’s wacky.
10. Either you favor unrestricted abortion on demand or you favor a
constitutional amendment banning all abortions. I know you don’t
favor unrestricted abortion on demand. Therefore, you favor a
constitutional amendment banning all abortions.
11. It rains a lot in San Diego during the summer. I know because I
spent two weekends in San Diego last summer, and both times it
rained like cats and dogs.
12. An extensive, diligent search of the zoo failed to find any trace of
the missing gorilla. Therefore, the gorilla probably isn’t in the zoo. It
must have escaped.
13. Billy, I know you want to go to school today, but you have the flu and you should stay
home. If you go to school, you might give the flu to some of your friends and
classmates. They, in turn, might give it to their friends and classmates. Eventually, the
flu might spread throughout the school.
14. Green tea is leafy, green, aromatic, and tastes great as an iced or hot beverage.
Marijuana is also leafy, green, and aromatic. Therefore, marijuana tastes great as an
iced or hot beverage too.
15. All workers deserve to be treated with respect and paid a decent wage. That’s why I
pay all the employees at my chicken processing plant at least a nickel above the
minimum wage and give them a half-day off for Christmas and Easter.
16. Professor Gene Poole, the distinguished microbiologist, has argued that using
animals in medical and scientific experiments is morally wrong. Given Professor
Poole’s impressive credentials, we should conclude that using animals in medical and
scientific experiments is morally wrong.
17.Immediately after the governor spoke at the outdoor rally, a bolt of
lightning struck City Hall, injuring several people. For the safety of all
the residents of this city, it is imperative that the governor not be
asked to speak here again.
18.Two years ago I drank a Pond Water Lite beer, and the beer was
watery and tasteless. Six months ago I drank a Pond Water Lite
beer, and the beer was watery and tasteless. Two weeks ago I drank
a Pond Water Lite beer, and the beer was watery and tasteless. I
guess all Pond Water Lite beers are watery and tasteless.
19.Tabloid headline: UFOs: Extraterrestrials or Demons?
20. No one has proved that the lost continent of Atlantis doesn’t exist.
Therefore, the lost continent of Atlantis probably does exist.
21. Your accusation that I am verbose, voluble, long winded, and loquacious is
completely unfounded. I’ve never uttered a sentence in my life that contained more
than twelve words.
22. Ninety-year-old Bill Tucker has asked that he be released from prison because he is
old, infirm, and dying of brain cancer. Unfortunately, Mr. Tucker’s request will have to
be denied. If we release Mr. Tucker, we would have to release prisoners that are even
less deserving than he is. Eventually, any prisoner with a hangnail or a stubbed toe
could successfully petition for early release.
23. Every time I’ve gone to the concession stand for a beer the basketball team has
gone on a scoring streak. Hmm, two minutes to go and the team is trailing by six. I
guess it’s about time for a beer.
24. On Monday I wore my favorite blue jeans, my homemade skunk-oil hair tonic, and
was turned down by Angie for a date. On Tuesday I wore my favorite blue jeans, my
homemade skunk-oil hair tonic, and was turned down by Hazel for a date. On Friday I
wore my favorite blue jeans, my homemade skunk-oil hair tonic, and was turned
down by Iris for a date. I guess if I want a date, I’m going to have to stop wearing my
favorite blue jeans.
25. My wife is blonde, attractive, and appreciates it when I give her
sexy lingerie for Valentine’s Day. My secretary is also blonde and
attractive. Therefore, she would appreciate it if I gave her sexy
lingerie for Valentine’s Day.
Problem Identification & Formulation
(Back to the Main topic for tonight)
Problem Identification & Formulation
The Nature of Decisions & Problems
involves known phases:
Trigger event
Appraisal (Framing)
Developing alternative perspectives
– Integration
Problem Identification & Formulation
Trigger Points
Positive (Opportunity)
– Negative (Problem)
Problem Identification & Formulation
Problem Identification
Appraisal: What is the problem
Problem vs. opportunity
Clearly defined vs. ill defined
Framing the Problem
Identify the Problem
Define the Objective
Define the Goals
Define the Criteria
Evaluate the Effects of the Problem
Problem Identification & Formulation
Problem Formulation
Forces of Influence
Contextual Factors
Individual vs. Group
Personal Attributes
Thinking Styles
Stakeholders Interest
Collective Perception
Problem Identification & Formulation
Problem Formulation
Comparative Methods
Tool Examples
Financial Reports
Process Control Charts
Technique Examples
Affinity Diagram
Fishbone Diagram
Problem Identification & Formulation
Problem Statements
Formulate an Effective Problem Statement
Next Week…
Decision Making
Tools & Techniques
Subjectivity vs. Objectivity
Comparative Methods
Next Week Readings
Reading: Interpersonal Skills in Organizations:
chapter 19
Reading: Decision Analysis: chapter 2, 6
Reading: Articles for week 3
Review: Venn diagram example
Review: Problem Solving Tools and Techniques
Next Week Individual Assignment
Complete “Thinking Critically” Simulation
– link on eResource week 5 material
Tools and Techniques Paper:
– Prepare a 1,050-1,400-word paper discussing a
decision-making tool or technique as described on the
course website or another site on the Internet. Make
sure your discussion includes a description of the tool
or technique as well as an application example from
external sources or from your workplace experiences.
Explain when one would and when one would not use
the tool/technique. Within a Learning Team ensure
that two people do not choose the same tool or
Next Week Team Assignment
Part II: Problem Analysis Paper: Prepare a 700-1,050word paper in which you frame the problem you selected
in Learning Team Meeting One. In the paper, include a
clear and concise problem statement and address the
– How did you become aware that there was a problem?
– What goals, objectives, and tools/techniques did you use to
frame the problem?
– What effects does this problem have on the organization?
– To what extent can this problem be solved?
– What are the causes and forces of influence?
– What measurements can be made to determine when the
problem is solved?
– Define the criteria for measuring a successful outcome.
– What alternative solutions can be identified?

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