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Flashcards in Elements of Thought Deck (8)
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Purpose or goal

All reasoning has a PURPOSE.
* Take time to state your purpose clearly.
* Distinguish your purpose from related purposes.
* Check periodically to be sure you are still on target.
* Choose significant and realistic purposes.


Question at issue or problem

All reasoning is an attempt to figure something out, to settle some QUESTION, to solve some problem.
* State the question at issue clearly and precisely.
* Express the question in several ways to clarify its meaning.
* Break the question into sub-questions.
* Distinguish questions that have definitive answers from those that are a matter of opinion or that require multiple viewpoints.


Point of view or frame of reference

All reasoning is done from some POINT OF VIEW.
* Identify your point of view.
* Seek other points of view and identify their strengths as well as weaknesses.
* Strive to be fairminded in evaluating all points of view.



All reasoning is based on ASSUMPTIONS.
* Clearly identify your assumptions and determine whether they are justifiable.
* Consider how your assumptions are shaping your point of view.


Information and facts

All reasoning is based on DATA, INFORMATION and EVIDENCE.
* Restrict your claims to those supported by the data you have.
* Search for information that opposes your position as well as information that supports it.
* Make sure that all information used is clear, accurate and relevant.
* Make sure you have gathered sufficient information.


Interpretations and inferences leading to conclusions

All reasoning contains INFERENCES or INTERPRETATIONS by which we draw CONCLUSIONS and give meaning to data.
* Infer only what the evidence implies.
* Check inferences for their consistency with each other.
* Identify assumptions underlying your inferences.



All reasoning is expressed through, and shaped by, CONCEPTS and IDEAS.
* Identify key concepts and explain them clearly.
* Consider alternative concepts or alternative definitions of concepts.
* Make sure you are using concepts with precision.


Implications and consequences

All reasoning leads somewhere or has IMPLICATIONS and CONSEQUENCES.
* Trace the implications and consequences that follow from your reasoning.
* Search for negative as well as positive implications.
* Consider all possible consequences.