Critical Thinking: How to find the Issue. Subjective vs. Objective Claims



all right so here we are taking a look at identifying an issue when we're looking at you know dialogue or any sort of writing or arguments and well towards the end talk about different types of claims the difference between sensitive and on points okay so you know last table took her last lecture we took a look at an argument you know what is an argument and we notice that argument always has two parts there is something to believe in and there's some reason to believe it first thing is the conclusion it's the main point that somebody's trying to make us believe and the reason to believe it is the premise okay so if I said something like my brother George makes a lot of money as a doctor so you should really become a doctor you know the premise is that my brother makes a lot of money as a doctor that's my reason to make you believe that you should become a doctor right that would be the conclusion the issue as we identified or as we identify find it last time is just the question of whether or not the main claim is true so the question that's being answered here is should you really become a doctor and in this case somebody's making argument that yes you should become a doctor right so the issue is should you okay let's take a look at this everybody is saying the president has made us the laughing stock of the world what a stupid idea he hasn't made it as a laughing stock at all there's not a bit of that notion okay well somebody said this to you are they presenting an argument again if it's an argument it has to have those two parts to it a main claim main point right there conclusion and Rize believes that conclusion so take a look at the passage over time everybody is saying the president has made us the laughing stock of the world what a stupid idea he hasn't made us a laughing stock at all there's not a bit of truth in that notion well what is the main point here it looks like the main point this person is saying is that it's not true that the president has made us the laughing stock of the world do they give us any reason to believe that well they don't really right all they say is that it's stupid to believe that so they don't really give us a reason I mean it's stupid to believe that he's made us a laughingstock they don't really give us giving us a reason to believe that he hasn't in fact they just restate their claim here he hasn't made us a laughingstock at all they just say that right so really what they're doing is not really giving us an argument they're just saying the same thing over again right in different words he hasn't made a laughingstock it's not true he's made of saliva stock it's a stupid idea to think he's made of Celexa right so that really saying they don't really give us any reason to believe he has it made us a laughingstock they're just saying that claim over and over again different ways so not an argument Dan was happy the day he bought his new car you can only really be happy if you buy a new car okay so is there a main point here is there a main claim that somebody wants us to bleep well let's take a look at the first claim dan was happy the day he bought his new car they're not really trying to convince us of that they're just saying that right let's look at some claim you can only really be happy if you buy a new car well that seems to be the main claim because that first claim the specific example of Dan is used to support the idea that we'd only really be happy if you bought a new car so here we have an argument right with the first sentence being the premise and then the second sentence being the conclusion okay so the issue here then would be the question that this person answers so if the conclusion is that you can only be happy if you buy a new car the question right the issue is is that true well I only be happy if I buy a new car right that would be the issue okay so when identifying an issue try to figure out what's the main issue the first thing you should do is for at any point what's the central claim that's in question here that's the issue right the issue is that central claim in question the the main issue is the question of with not that main point is true or false sometimes it can be hard to find again as you mentioned the last lecture people talk organically right we right organically we don't necessarily say explicitly hey here's my conclusion and here are my reasons to believe it so you kind of have to you listen carefully when when people are talking let's figure out okay what is it that they're really trying to convince me to believe is that the question of whether or not that's true is the issue that we're discussing here so obviously again and I said this before they hint is look for the conclusion first look for the main point first question of are not that's true or false that's the issue okay let's do some practice here you know what's the main issue in the following passage letting your children surf the net is like dropping them off downtown to spend a day doing whatever they want they'll get in trouble okay so what's the main issue here is it a weather letting your children off downtown to spend the day doing whatever they want will lead them into trouble is that is that the the question that's trying to be answered here is it be whether or not letting your children surf the net will leave them into trouble or is it see whether restrictions should be placed on children's activities okay now you may jump immediately to see because it sounds like you're talking yes restricting a child's use of the internet but that's not explicit here what's more explicit is this idea that letting your child surf the net will leave them into trouble right so the question that this passage is really addressing is whether or not letting your children surf the net will lead them into trouble that's kind of the question that's being answered here take a look at another example most people you find on university faculties are people who are interested in ideas and the most interesting ideas are usually new ideas so most people you find on university faculties are interested in new ideas therefore you are not going to find many conservatives on university faculties because conservatives are not usually interested in new ideas ok a lot of sense is like this is how long people talk right you know lots of sentence is not real out of formal or careful consideration of how the sentences work together so now as you read this you know what is the question that's being what's the main question that's being answered here is it whether or not conservatives are interested in new ideas do they give us any reasons to believe whether or not that's true is it B whether you'll find many conservatives on university faculties they give us any reason to believe whether or not that's true is it C whether people on university faculties are interested more in new ideas than in other ideas is that really what's the main question being addressed here or D is it whether most people are correct okay so if you look at the past former time most people you find in university faculties are people who are interested in ideas and the most interesting ideas are usually new ideas – claims they're so most people you find in usually university faculties artisan in new ideas plane therefore and it you are not going to find many conservatives all university faculties because conservatives have not used are not usually if stood in new ideas so think about those words there therefore usually instill conclusion because is usually the premise to believe the conclusion so really the conclusion here is that you are not going to find many conservatives on university faculties so the issue was whether or not that's true right will you find conservatives on university you find a lot of conservatives on university faculties that's the issue and everything else they said in this passage are reasons to believe their answer to that question right their answer being you are not going to find many concerns on your faculties now again an argument is an argument regardless of whether or not the premises are true whether regardless of what not that conclusion is actually true as long as there's a reason to believe something it's an argument okay so in this case the issue is obviously going to be P one last practice passenger in 2007 the Dominican Republic banned the sale of two brands of Chinese toothpaste because they contained a toxic chemical responsible for dozens of poisoning deaths in Panama last year the company that exported the toothpaste the danyoung household chemical company defended his products okay so this is what they said toothpaste is not something you'd swallow but spit out so it's totally different from something you would eat one company manager said okay here's the question the company manager was taking a position on which issue what is the actual question that the company manager is answering is it a weather DHCC included toxic chemicals in at the toothpaste is it be whether toothpaste should be eaten as that with the manager is that the question the manager was actually answering was it see whether the DHCC did anything wrong bike sporting is toothpaste or is it D whether China should have better product safety controls okay so remember the manager says toothpaste is not something you swallow but spit out and so it's totally different than something you would eat well what they're really addressing is whether or not they did anything wrong right everything that they're saying is trying to prove or to show that you know they are creating a product and there's nothing wrong with the product they created because they say it's something you'd swallow and spit out it's totally different from something you would eat so the question that they're answering isn't whether or not there's bad chemicals in a toothpaste right the question that they're actually answering is whether or not they felt they did anything wrong by exporting their tooth pits and there's like none that we do anything wrong you know supposed to eat the stuff alright that's that's the issue okay let's see now why is it important to find the issue again I'm hoping this is intuitive to you but a really common obstacle in clear critical thinking and discourse arises when people appear to be addressing the same issue but are in fact talking about different issues and we've probably all experienced this and it can be the most annoying thing and it could lead nowhere sometimes it's easy to see that this is happening for instance Joe says I think that education is the most important political issue of the coming election Jim says I want a cheeseburger Jim is not addressing the issue that Joe brings up right so joe says i think that education is the most important political issue of the coming election so the issue is whether or not that claim is true is education the most important political issue of the coming election right that's the issue Joe raises Jim does not talk about whether or not education is the most important political issue in the coming election instead Jim says hmm I feel like eating McDonald's not addressing the issue and just imagine and you don't have to imagine probably think about real-life examples when you have the sort of conversation and how frustrated and it is to have right because you're not really getting to anywhere you're not really addressing what it is you're dealing with the front of you and your friends now that case was easy to see that there were that the two people were not talking about the same issue or at least the second person was not dressing their issue raised by the first person but sometimes it's not that clear to see so Joe says I only think that education is a fundamental human right Jim says your political interests are so predictable you will always follow the liberal agenda so when you see or hear Jim say your political interests are so predictable you always followed liberal agenda it may sound like he's addressing what Joe's talking about but he really isn't right Joe's claim I think that education is a fundamental human right raises the question of whether or not that's true is education a fundamental human right that's an important question should everybody have education should everybody have access to education is it as basically human right as like the right to life or the right to be free and not a slave is education a right like that that's an important question Jim does not address that question he doesn't say whether or not he believes it is or is not a fundamental human right instead Jim just attacks Joe right Jim just says hey man you believe interests are so predictable you're just you know just following a liberal agenda so Jim strays away from actually dressing the issue you know you see this sort of conversation all the time in political debates or maybe within your family or everything you're a circle of friends people not actually talking about the issue instead you know attacking one another or labeling one another or doing something else other than rationally trying to figure out the answer to the issue but isn't that the most important thing in most cases finding out whether or not something is true or false for some people they don't care they just want that hurt somebody else's feelings for some people they don't care they just want to bring the conversation to where they want to go some people they don't care because they're afraid to touch certain subjects and they want to steer the conversation different way lots of reasons why we don't always stick to the issue now usually in class what I'll do is ask for two volunteers volunteers to read through some dialogue to bring this to bring the importance to finding an issue closer to home okay in this case obviously I'm the only one here so I will be reading both male and female parts okay so there is a character named Jose and then that another character named one yet Moneta says you never talk to me anymore the only time we and then Joe interrupter in ruksar what do you mean I never talk to you remember last weekend at the park we talked the whole afternoon and you call that talking you spent the whole afternoon complain but my mother coming over you were trying to punish me and they could feel guilty I was they says I wasn't trying to make you feel guilty I just didn't think we have to invite your mother over so much for Dita says yeah well what about all the evenings he spent with your brother Jose says I didn't hear you complaining ten years ago when your sister came to dinner and left three months later when dieter says she'd had a bad time her husband just loved her besides she only stayed two months was that it was three Juanita it was two was a it was three what date it was dude once I remember for sure and it was ten years ago you've got to be crazy and paranoid to hold a grudge that long wait a minute what was the original issue again the original issue was whether or not Joe talked to Juanita anymore right the original issue was about Joe showing Juanita enough you know care and affection we had nothing to do with this this whole issue about somebody's sister and how long they stayed but this happens all the time is that was all the time when we're trying to resolve a problem but the people that were talking to you know they bring up old resentments or we're the ones who bring up old resentments and then we go off annotated and we don't actually address the problem hopefully this resonates with you right if nothing else we should develop the skill of realizing what the main issue is so that we can understand one another get a sense for what we need from yes that's what another person needs and it actually addressed that need as opposed to getting caught up in our own emotions and then turning our discussion into a food fight as opposed to actually strengthening a relationship this I'm hoping if you don't relate to now believe me you will so if somebody does not discuss the validity of the issue I should said it differently if somebody does not discuss the validity of a claim the develop the validity of a conclusion they are not addressing the issue so if you bring up a claim like you don't talk to me anymore if the other person does not add whether or not that is a true or false statement yes I do talk to you no I don't talk to you if they don't address that question they are not actually addressing the issue yeah now some claims are not necessarily claims that can be verified in other words there are some claims that aren't necessarily objectively true or false these are subjective claims so objective claims object the claims are true or they can be false but it is independent of what a person believes it's just how it is in the world if I said to look I am holding a remote control for my PowerPoint slides I'm trying to give you an objective claim I'm telling you a claim about the world that should be independent upon somebody's personal belief system if you take philosophy 1 if you take a philosophy of epistemology sort of class this gets into murky waters but for now let's just say that any sort of claim that is independent of what a person believes that's just true or false because that's how it is in the world those are objective claims there are some claims however that are dependent upon a person's personal beliefs right there are some claims that are dependent on how a person looks at the world these are value judgments about it right these are likes and dislikes I can say stuff like I like coke I like I like coca-cola not the drug I like Pepsi right these are these are claims about you know my feelings of coke a cola and my feelings about it soft right I could say it tastes good I can say it it it's it's soothing in my throat these are subject to claims right this is this is how I experience something these are subjective claims they're not facts about the world so when we take a look at a value judgments value judgments are claims that we use to say something is good or bad better or worse as a matter of subjective preference okay so I can make claims about what I like and dislike like I like coca-cola I like coffee I like the sound of a baby crying or laughing laughing fight better those are value judgments yeah body judgments are subjective right they're dependent upon or they're based upon my experience differently they're based upon my personal beliefs about something they're based upon the way I experience something as opposed to it being a claim about how the world actually is independent of me okay hopefully there wasn't too confusing let's take a look at a few claims and see if they're subjective or objective okay I think coke tastes better than Pepsi tastes better than Pepsi is that a subjective or objective claim well I mean you can take a bunch of people and ask them hey is this Coke case where the Pepsi they're gonna vary because it's kind of a subjective sort of claim right it's based not like it is this objective sort of claim it's a claim based upon somebody's personal preference so it's subjective you should buy a new car well whether or not you should or should not that's pretty subjective right you can make objective claims like hey you knew your car is missing a fourth tire is your car has a steering wheel or your car is leaking oil right those are objective claims those are truths about the world that are independent upon somebody's feeling of it somebody's personal experience of it but the idea of whether or not you should buy a new car that's subjective because everybody has their own everybody's criteria of when you shouldn't buy a car may be different they can be different Conan O'Brien is the funniest person on late-night television hopefully that's obviously a subject right there's no objective measure of funny or funniest that's just how you experience this person and are we all can experience Conan O'Brien differently let's Thank You Sonia some wisdom so subject Conan O'Brien has better ratings than Jimmy Fallon okay so this you can look at objectively you can find actual TV ratings and you can say objectively that one person has higher ratings you know more popular than the other person more TV sets are watching one person than the other so it's an objective claim hopefully those examples make sensitive now some subjective claims are useful to debate and some may not be so useful right so when we talk about now one person prefers Nike shoes versus Reebok shoes well me unless you are working for a shoe company unless you're a store that sells shoes I personally don't we find that debate mushy I don't really find that to be of a useful you say well done I don't really find that to be a good use of my time having that sort of debate however some subjective claims like claims about right and wrong morality ethics well you know those are kind of those are kind of important claims to debate about you know what's the right thing to do what's the right what's the morally right choice it's useful to talk through reasons to believe choice a vs. choice B right there may not necessarily be an objective fact about whether or not you know a certain action is morally correct or not but it's useful to debate it so we can better clarify for ourselves what we think the right choice would be so a moral value judgment then is a value judgment that assigns moral or ethical values to objects or actions so these are claims that say whether or not they are claims that talk to the morality or ethical values of a person so I'll list some claims to you and then you can try to figure out for yourselves whether not you think they are moral value judgments you should not have cheated on that exam you should not have cheated on that exam well in this case you know we're talking about the word cheated right and oftentimes we think of that in terms of morality in terms of ethics so sure that could be a moral moral value judgment however in a different context maybe somebody is saying to us hey you should not have cheated on that exam because you know the instructor is very good at catching people cheat right that case it's not really a moral value judgment it's really a a judgment based upon whether or not you are more likely to get caught it's not really a moral that does not really a judgment about what's right or wrong in a moral ethical sense but right or wrong on the sense that hey you might get caught up on teaching right so there you know claims aren't necessarily one of the other moral value judgments or not all kind of depends on context someone says to you you should not eat cookies before bedtime for the most part when we when we often use that sentence we're not really making a moral value judgment you can I mean you can talk about somebody being a bad person for eating cookies before bedtime but that's not necessarily the the most popular context for using that sentence right usually people talk about eating before bedtime for health issues or for planning this issues hygiene not let me show you as a writer on moral ethical sort of thing tom is a bad man for having three wives moral value judgment right we're making a moral ethical sort of judgment about talking okay so when we come back and the next lecture we will take a look at the homework that was assigned review those questions and I'll throw in some bonus practice questions to get ready for your first quiz hope to see you

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