Chapter 7


Building Arguments

You exist. This may come as no surprise to you, especially as you look in a mirror. But during the Enlightenment, thinkers wanted to establish a completely rational basis for all knowledge. The French philosopher René Descartes gave them a strong starting point by coming up with one of the most concise and compelling arguments ever stated: “I think, therefore I am.” So mirrors aside, because you think, you exist.

This chapter shows you how to use your thinking ability to build strong, logical arguments. You’ll also learn about logical fallacies that you have encountered repeatedly in political speeches and advertising. You’ll learn to recognize these flaws in other people’s arguments and to avoid such errors in your own thinking.

Additional Resources

Web Page: Rene Descartes (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Video: Logical Fallacies