Critical Thinking is a subject that teaches the skill of analysing and evaluating arguments. It's very useful for other subjects and for the daily life.
Arguments are reasons that support a conclusion. They need to have evidence in order to persuade. Furthermore, the evidence must be credible, if not, the argument is not reliable enough. In order to give the evidence credibility, the source (newspaper, article, eyewitness, etc) from where the evidence was taken, must be credible.
There are several techniques in order to give the evidence credibility called “credibility criteria”
- Neutrality: Evidence taken from a source that don't have any reasons to lie or change the evidence in order to benefit.
- Vested interest: The opposite of neutrality. It means that the source may have reasons or may get benefits if they distort the evidence.
- Bias: It's when the source reduce its credibility because it can favour a particular view.
- Expertise: When an evidence is provided by and expert it increase its credibility.
- Reputation: The reputation varies and can increase or reduce the credibility of the evidence. If the source has an honest and reliable reputation, it increase the credibility.
- Observation and eyewitness account: Eyewitnesses are much more credible than hearsay even though an eyewitness may add or reduce information for their benefit. There are also criteria to evaluate the credibility of the witness.
- Corroboration: When some piece of evidence support an other. The credibility increase.
- Selectivity and representativeness: When evidence credibility is reduced because of campaign groups select and reveal only the evidence that profit them.
- Context: Is connected with the setting and background from where the evidence was taken. Most contexts affect the credibility of the evidence.