How can critical thinking solve your problems? This question has recently been improvingly raised as critical thinking has gained its significance in many aspects of life. The concept is mainly about ‘reflective thinking’ (Dewey, 1909) and ‘thinking about thinking’ (Paul, Fisher and Nosich, 1993). However, this essay will not examine critical thinking, it is all about arguments, which are the core of critical thinking(Smith, ), about the claims, the difference among them, and about the three main ways to support an argument.Basically, a claim is a declarative statement or an assertion of fact that can be either true or false while an argument is an attempt to offer a set of reasons or evidence in support of a conclusion (Epstein and Kernberger, 2005).
Consider this example : “Critical Thinking is not required of all students(1), since students should be free to take whatever classes they want to (2)”. This example consists of two claims (claim 1 and claim 2) but this is only one argument. Claim 1 is a conclusion, also known as a position whereas claim 2 is a ‘premise’, which is a terminology for the reasons in support of the conclusion.Through this, it is clear that, an argument is made up of claims in which there is a conclusion and at least one premise; but the vice versa is not correct, a bunch of claims listed will not form any proper argument. This is the core difference between arguments and claims.
Since arguments have a distinction of a conclusion being supported by following premises, three ways of reinforcing a conclusion should be recognized and well-adopted in order for the arguments to be sufficiently strong and valid.These ways are: authority, evidence and style of writing. First, authority is simply understood as the expert opinions of experts, someone who has the power and the influence in one specific field. Second, using evidence means we should provide selected example drawn from empirical data or previous studies, which can be statistics, figures, data, etc… to strengthen the case. Third, Style of writing indicates the method one chooses to organize, design the sentences and the structure of the writing in order to be persuasive toward the audience.It is not about the claims but the arguments that count.
To know what it is and to master the process of creating good arguments, an individual comes a bit closer to critical thinking, a modern and efficient approach to understanding and solving many complex issues in different fields. As any discipline, this can be learned through practice ; and especially at educational level, those assignments engaging students in academic essays writing are among the ultimate ways to prepare them this useful skill.