Critical Thinking

Chapter 4: Objectives

Following are the main learning objectives from the chapter.  To help you coordinate your studies, these objectives are organized into sub-sections (8-4, 8-4, etc.) and listed with the relevant page numbers from the textbook. 

4-1 (pgs. 103-123).
Understand what nonargumentative persuasion is and how it can affect an audiences beliefs without offering reasons.

  • Recognize how nonargumentative claims often suggest more than they literally say.
  • Understand how nonargumentative claims use language that has a powerful and biased emotive force (slanters).
  • Understand how nonargumentative claims use obfuscatory ploys to persuade.
  • Recognize that slanters dispose the audience to take certain perspectives on a subject.
  • Realize that the mere presence of slanters does not mean the claim is misleading.; good arguments can include slanters.
  • Distinguish between language with emotive force and language that arouses an emotional response.

4-2 (pgs. 103-123).
Understand how slanters tend to either strengthen or weaken a claim, or to either elevate or disparage its subject.

  • Understand how euphemisms or dysphemisms act as slanters.
  • Realize that even neutral language can function as either an euphemism or a dysphemism.
  • Understand that euphemisms do have acceptable uses.
  • Understand how persuasive comparisons, definitions, and explanations can act as slanters.
  • Understand how stereotypes can act as slanters.
  • Understand how innuendos can act as slanters.
  • Understand how a loaded question can act as a slanter.
  • Understand what a weasler is and how it acts as a slanter.
  • Understand how a downplayer can act as a slanter.
  • Understand what a proof surrogate is and how it can act as a slanter.
  • Understand how hyperbole can act as a slanter.

4-3 (pgs. 123-127).
Understand that advertising nearly always depends on nonargumentative persuasion.

  • Realize that political candidates, social policies, and other things not normally associated with consumer goods utilize advertising.
  • Understand the best critical response to advertising.
  • Understand that even when advertising does offer reasons, these reasons may not be good ones.

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