Truth and Knowledge - Essay Example

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Its importance has increased manifold in the recent past, thanks to the information explosion that every person faces today. Information, knowledge and truth are interrelated. Information becomes knowledge when a person…
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Truth and Knowledge Critical thinking has always been important to mankind. Its importance has increased manifold in the recent past, thanks to the information explosion that every person faces today. Information, knowledge and truth are interrelated. Information becomes knowledge when a person makes his or her meaning out of it. (Halpern, 2003, p. 6) This is true of a person’s view of truth also.
Critical thinking is “"the process of evaluation or categorization in terms of some previously accepted standards" (Halpern, 2003, p. 7). This process involves attitude, knowledge and the thinking process. The thinking process involves reasoning, analyzing, arguing, testing, and making decisions. (Halpern, 2003, p. 37)
Arguments are constructed from known facts or evidence, which are presented as the premises, and conclusions are drawn from the given premises. (Salmon, 2004, p. 45) For example, the statement “All crows are black” is a statement of fact that becomes a premise. Similarly the statement, “This bird is a crow” is another fact that becomes the second premise. From these premises, it can be said that “This bird is black”, which is a conclusion.
There are two approaches for drawing conclusions –deductive and inductive. Deductive arguments proceed from the universal to the particular cases. If all the premises are true, the conclusion in a deductive argument has to be true. We can say that the conclusion is already implicitly contained in the premises in the case of a deductive argument. A deductive argument is either valid or not valid; there is no intermediate state.
Inductive arguments proceed from particular instances to draw conclusions about the universal truth applicable to all elements of a particular class. Inductive arguments expand what is contained in the premises, and draws conclusions that are probably true but not necessarily always so. Thus there is a degree of validity associated with inductive arguments. (Salmon, 2004, p. 49)
Some arguments contain unstated premises. These are facts or assumptions that are necessary for the argument to be valid but are not expressly stated. Premises may be unstated because they are perceived as universally known. For example, a joint library between San Jose University and Silicon Valley may be concluded as demonstrating the university’s commitment to promote innovation. This conclusion might be based on the unstated premise that Silicon Valley is innovative, even though this might not be stated expressly. (McGraw-Hill, 2000) However, it is always better to state all the premises expressly in an argument.
The importance of deduction, induction and unstated premises to critical thinking is self-evident. It stems from the fact that critical thinking involves reasoning and drawing conclusions, which are processes that incorporate these vital elements.
Halpern, D. F. (2003). Thought & Knowledge: An Introduction to Critical Thinking (4th ed.). Mahwah, N.J: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Retrieved September 18, 2012 from
McGraw-Hill (2000) An Introduction to Critical Thinking in Small Groups. Retrieved September 18, 2012 from
Salmon, W. C. (2004). The Scope of Logic. In S. M. Cahn (Ed.), Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology (2nd ed., pp. 43-49). New York: Oxford University Press. Retrieved September 18, 2012 from Read More
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