Critical thinking and argumentation

Clever people have always understood the power of the word. In the end, we make all of our decisions, important and less important, based on information which persuades us and which we believe in.
How can we know what to believe and what not to believe? How do we objectively distinguish the valuable from the less valuable? How do we recognize lies and manipulation? How do we keep a clear head, think and make our own decisions without being influenced by another?
Critical thinking is important for anyone who wants to proactively accept responsibility for their lives and decisions, but especially for leaders whose decisions have an effect on another person, organization, company or the life of the community as a whole.
The “Critical thinking and argumentation” course will examine various aspects of critical thinking from an argumentation viewpoint. During the course, there will be discussion on how to (1) use argument models, (2) evaluate examples and evidence, (3) recognize errors in logic and (4) criticize arguments.

Aim: To provide practical knowledge about the basic principles of critical thinking in argumentation.

Benefits - Skills which allow one to:

  • model good arguments, recognize deficiencies in argumentation, outline the basis of one’s argument in a logical and structured way, as well as to find the necessary evidence needed for one’s argument;
  • check the sources and veracity of the evidence, recognize various forms of evidence, and evaluate the quality and significance of the evidence in making a decision;
  • recognize errors in logic in the argumentation of others and avoid making errors in logic;
  • constructively refute the argumentation of others and critically evaluate one’s own. 

Duration of course: 1 day, 6 hours

Work format: Short lectures, practical exercises with elements of the public presentation, evaluation of opinion pieces and examples of argumentation, discussions and debates.

Target audience: Anyone who wishes to develop critical thinking and the skill of argumentation.

Programme: 

1. Quality of argumentation. High-quality arguments consist of at least three parts – assertions, clear evidence, and proof. However, arguments are often replaced with unsubstantiated assertions, illogical or incomplete substantiation, as well as examples which do not conform with the argument and do not prove its essence. This part of the course will review the modelling of logical, substantiated and structured arguments, as well as teaching the skills which are required to avoid poor argumentation.

2. Effective and credible evidence. The foundation stone of high-quality argumentation is always empirical evidence and examples which connect the argumentation with events in the world. The most diverse forms of evidence are used to substantiate arguments – personal examples, statistics, surveys, expert opinions, models, as well as illustrations. However, not all forms of evidence are of equal quality. This section will develop the ability to recognize and evaluate evidence that has been used. 

3. Errors in logic. Errors in logic are tools of argumentation, which substitute the required logical evidence of high-quality arguments with rhetorical tricks. Errors in logic are hard to notice as they are rhetorically pleasant and sound convincing. One can often be tricked by errors in logic and these are used by politicians and journalists, as well as experts in various fields. In this section, the teaching will be about how to recognize errors in logic, in one’s own and the argumentation of others, to understand how these errors develop and how to avoid them.  

4. Critique of argumentation. The ability to criticize arguments is important both for making decisions, as well as in evaluating the quality of one’s own argumentation. The skill of understanding the essence of argument critique and evaluating the degree to which expressed criticism is justified and reasonable helps in developing constructive discussion. It also improves the arguments one expresses and helps one look more objectively at one’s own argumentation and opinions and those of others. In this section, the teaching will be about understanding the essence of the critique of argumentation and evaluating its justification.

Venue: TRIVIUMS training centre, Blaumaņa 11/13 - 12, IV, Riga

Participation fees include handouts and coffee breaks 

For company training, the programme can be adapted for the specifics and needs of the company.

Next available course 11. March
Feedback
  • What did you like best in this seminar?

    • A very dynamic lecture and a lot of information.
    • The presenter’s energy. Tools which can be used in real life.
    • Content, energy and the presenter’s competence.

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