Critical Thinking Chapter 4


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Credibility from the source of the claim interested party? or not
The Credibility of Claims if a claim either lacks credibility or comes from a source that lacks credibility, it should be viewed with suspicion
Credibility measure of your believability
two grounds for credibility suspicion The claim | The source of the claim
Credibility of the claim uch claims have no “initial plausibility”(= “a rough assessment of how credible a claim seems to us”
When does a claim itself lack credibility? A claim lacks inherent credibility to the extent that it conflicts with what we have observed or what we think we know—our background information—or with other credible claims
what are the 2 primary reasons for rejecting a claim Conflicts with personal observations | Conflicts with background information
Personal observations our own observations provide our most reliable source of information about the world
background information “we may not be able to specify where we learned it” EX: palm trees grow in the arctic {we know is false}
irrelevant considerations person offering a claim are almost always irrelevant to the viability of the claim itself | physical characteristics
interested parties are less credible than other sources of claims
what are two primary reasons we have doubts about the credibility of a source 1)We question whether the source has real knowledge about the relevant issue (this reflects the concept of “expertise”) 2)We question the source’s truthfulness, objectivity, or accuracy
When credible sources disagree, it’s best to suspend judgment, unless the agreement is unbalanced
claims put forth by experts about subjects outside their fields are not automatically more acceptable than claims put forth by nonexperts
Claims lack credibility when the conflict with our oservations, experience or background info or come from intrested parties
what 4 phisical conditions affect our observations Bad lighting, noise, the speed at which events take place, bad weather
What 3 mental states can affect out observations Being tired, distracted, emotionally upset
what 2 ways credability should enter into our evaluation of a claim Credibility of the claim's content and of its source
a claim lacks inherent credibility when it conflics with what Our own observations our background knowledge
most reliable source is Our own firsthand observations
the reliability of our observations is not better then our Our memory