Exemplary Writers

Critical Reasoning

1. Week 1 Discussion: Wisdom vs. Knowledge

Required Resources
Read/review the following resources for this activity:

  • Textbook: Chapter 1, 2, 3
  • Lesson
  • Minimum of 1 scholarly source (in addition to the textbook)

In 2012, Psychologist Heather Butler studied the importance that critical thinking plays in our everyday lives. “Critical thinking is not just the new buzzword in education. Critical thinking involves real outcomes that can be measured, predicted, and—perhaps for the negative life events—avoided” (Butler, 2012, p. 725).

In 2013, studies by Grossmann, Varnum, Kitayama, and Nisbett concluded that wise reasoning, rather than intelligence, was a predictor of well-being. In 2017, Dr. Butler and her colleagues, referencing the Grossmann study and based on their own research, determined that the ability to think critically was a better predictor of effective life decisions than was intelligence (Butler, Pentoney, & Bong, 2017).

Initial Post Instructions
For the initial post, address the following:

  • Do you agree that wisdom/critical thinking is a better predictor of well-being than intelligence? To answer, you will have to define what the following terms mean for you:
    • Critical thinking
    • Wisdom
    • Intelligence
    • Well-being
  • Reflect on what you read in the text this week. Think of the people you know.
    • Are the good people smart?
    • Are the smart people good?
    • How do you define “good”? How do you define “smart”?
    • Can we use our intelligence to become “good”? If yes, how? If no, why not?

Follow-Up Post Instructions
Respond to at least one peer. Further the dialogue by providing more information and clarification. Look at your peers’ definitions. Do you agree with them? If yes, why, if no, why not?

Writing Requirements

  • Minimum of 2 posts (1 initial & 1 follow-up)
  • Minimum of 2 sources cited (assigned readings/online lessons and an outside source)
  • APA format for in-text citations and list of references

This activity will be graded using the Discussion Grading Rubric. Please review the following link:

View Sample

2. Week 2 Assignment: Journal

Required Resources
Read/review the following resources for this activity:

  • Textbook: Chapter 4, 5
  • Lesson

Remember – these journal questions require more thinking than writing. Think about exactly what you are asked to do, and then write as economically as possible.

For this journal assignment, answer each of the following prompts:

  • Important Idea
    • Considering only the Introduction to Chapter 5, in terms of developing critical thinking and reasoning, what do you consider is the most valuable and important idea in that section? You can either summarize or directly quote the text; then, briefly explain why you find this idea important and valuable.
  • Critical Thinking
    • In Chapter 5, the section “Making Arguments” states: “In some ways applying our core critical thinking skills to analysis can be more difficult than offering an evaluative opinion. Analysis, like interpretation, is understanding at a deep level (p. 89)”
      • What concepts discussed in Chapter 4 might make analysis of a statement difficult – and why?
  • Beliefs
    • Why do you believe what you believe?
    • What is your “evidence”?
    • Test one of your beliefs by asking yourself, “Why?” As you answer each “why,” go down another layer – four layers will probably give you a good idea of why you believe what you believe.
    • Your product should show a well-reasoned and logical basis for your belief. Stay away from the big stuff, like believing in God, or who to vote for in the next election, and don’t look for sources – this is about what you believe and why you believe it. After all, this is only an 8-week course, and we can’t settle everything!
    • Click on the following link for an example of layers of why:



Don’t be tempted to skip steps. If you start with layer 5, you have just opened up a whole new line of “whys.” For example, why should everyone be afforded an opportunity to reach his or her highest potential? After all, for most of the history of the world, that has not been the case.

If you include references to outside sources (beyond the textbook), make sure you cite them properly.

Writing Requirements (APA format)

  • Length: 1 ½ -2 pages (not including prompts, title page or references page)
  • 1-inch margins
  • Double spaced
  • 12-point Times New Roman font
  • Title page
  • References page (as needed)

This activity will be graded using the Journal Grading Rubric.

Course Outcomes (CO): 1, 4, 6

Due Date: By 11:59 p.m. MT on Sunday

View Sample

3. Week 2 Chekpoint Quiz

  • Due Jul 17 at 11:59pm
  • Points 50
  • Questions 5
  • Available Jul 9 at 11:59pm – Jul 17 at 11:59pm
  • Time Limit None


Required Resources
Read/review the following resources for this activity:

  • Textbook: Chapter 4, 5
  • Lesson

The checkpoint quizzes are short assessments that will check your understanding of the terms and concepts from the reading.

Time limit: none
Attempts: 1

This quiz will be graded based on correctness of response.

Course Outcomes (CO): 1, 2, 4, 6

Due Date: By 11:59 p.m. MT on Sunday

Attempt History

Attempt Time Score
LATEST Attempt 1 38 minutes 50 out of 50
Score for this quiz: 50 out of 50
Submitted Jul 12 at 5:42pm
This attempt took 38 minutes.
Question 1

10 / 10 pts
Briefly state how the text defines “claim.”
Your Answer:

A claim refers to a statement that the argument maker seeks to show to be probably true or true e (Facione & Gittens, 2016). Valid arguments must follow claims and the claim maker must provide proof or evidence to enable the listener to believe the argument is true.

Question 2

10 / 10 pts
Reread the section in the text entitled “Two Confusions to Avoid” in Chapter 5. From what you read there, construct a definition of the term “argument” that includes both what the term is, in the context of this chapter, and what it is not.
Your Answer:

In the context of the chapter, an argument means making claims and presenting reasons, that is, evidence to support those claims. As people make claims, they may engage in collaborative, respectful, constructive or civil discussions to reach a conclusion. However, argument is not a disagreement or quarrel. It is not right to underestimate the thinking of others when arguing, rather to give everyone the benefit of doubt and try to interpret their claims in a plausible and reasonable manner.

Question 3

10 / 10 pts
What questions does the text suggest we ask to distinguish conclusions and reasons?
Your Answer:

  1. What is the conclusion that the speaker is trying to establish as true?
  2. What is the decision that the speaker is trying to explain or justify?
  3. What considerations does the speaker present to establish the truth
    of that claim or the basis of that decision?

Question 4

10 / 10 pts
What are the component premises are there in the following statement: “If it weren’t for how much it costs and how big it is, I’d buy that TV for our bedroom.”
Your Answer:

The sentence has two component premises. First, the size of the TV is bigger and would not suit the bedroom, Second, the TV is expensive thus the person cannot afford it.

Question 5

10 / 10 pts

Below are four common misconceptions about mapping an argument. Choose any two and briefly explain why each is wrong.

    • When making an analysis and map of another person’s argument, you should correct obvious mistakes.
    • Every line of reasoning in an argument map eventually leads to a conclusion.
    • Unless the speaker actually states a reason, we can’t tell what they are thinking.
    • In analyzing and mapping the statements in an argument, context is not important.
Your Answer:

  1. In analyzing and mapping the statements in an argument, context is not important.

The individual analyzing the arch for the map construction is not supposed to correct errors, rather, should construct the map in a manner that the argument was built, including argument’s errors and truth. This makes argument’s context very crucial since the context is used to determine individual’s thinking and reasoning in an argument.

  1. When making an analysis and map of another person’s argument, you should correct obvious mistakes.

One should not correct mistakes of another person’s argument because it would hinder progress towards conclusion. When analyzing and mapping an argument you do not agree with, it is critical to represent it in a manner that is reasonably faithful to the argument made by the originator. Whoever analyzing an argument should only present counter-arguments and objections but not correction of mistakes. One many correct mistakes with flawed position.

Quiz Score: 50 out of 50
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