How to Do Careful Argument Analysis

Critical Thinking is basically CAREFUL thinking.

More specifically, it is thinking in which a person continually strives to conform his or her thinking to the universal standards of thinking, which include the following:

  • Clarity
  • Accuracy & Precision
  • Relevance & Significance
  • Logicalness
  • Breadth (understanding alternative points of view)
  • Depth (understanding the complexity of the issues)
  • Sufficiency (of available evidence to allow for reasonable conclusions)
  • Fairness

Careful argument evaluation is the heart and soul of critical thinking. But one cannot do a careful job of evaluating an argument unless one first has a clear understanding of the argument one is trying to evaluate.  Thus, careful argument analysis is essential to critical thinking. In order to be a critical thinker, one must develop the knowledge, skills, abilities, and desire to carefully analyze and clarify arguments.

I will be making a presentation for the 43rd Annual International Conference on Critical Thinking.  The subject of my presentation is: “How to Do Careful Argument Analysis”.   The presentation will include a process for doing careful argument analysis and a few examples of careful argument analysis.  The example arguments are taken from Kreeft and Tacelli’s case for the resurrection of Jesus in Chapter 8 of their Handbook of Christian Apologetics.  Specifically, I will demonstrate careful argument analysis of three objections that Kreeft and Tacelli raise against the Swoon Theory.

Here is a link to the DRAFT of my Powerpoint presentation on “How to Do Careful Argument Analysis”:

This is a summary of my process of argument analysis that I demonstrate in the presentation:

Here is one example of an argument diagram for an Objection against the Swoon Theory by Kreeft and Tacelli: