I have two papers that need to be completedI will post the instructions and references for each below.

1) Introduction

Since the eight elements of thought are present in all thinking, we can use them as tools to unlock meaning in anyone’s

reasoning. In this assignment, you will analyze the reasoning in an editorial by breaking it down into its parts.

The Assignment

Find an editorial from one of the following news websites. Be sure to locate an article that expresses a clear opinion on a topic. Include the link on a Works Cited page at the end of your paper so your instructor may access the editorial.

Write the logic of the article by identifying and analyzing the elements of thought. You should write at least a paragraph on each

element, including examples from the editorial where appropriate.

  1. The main purpose of this article is. . .
  2. The key question that the author is addressing is. . .
  3. The main point(s) of view presented in this article is (are). . .
  4. The key concepts we need to understand in this article are. . . By these concepts, the author means. . .
  5. The most important information in this article is. . .
  6. The main assumptions underlying the author’s reasoning are. . .
  7. The main inferences/conclusions in this article are. . .
  8. If we take this line of reasoning seriously, the implications are. . . If we fail to take this line of reasoning seriously, the implications are. . .

And. . .

  1. What is the context for the reasoning here?
  2. Does the author provide any alternatives for any of the elements?

ResourcesReview the lecture notes, online articles, and textbook reading to help you think through this assignment. Consider the following questions from Paul and Elder (2006) to help you identify and examine the elements of thought.

Purpose: Try to state as accurately as possible the author’s purpose for writing the article. What was the author trying to accomplish?

Question: Your goal is to figure out the key question that was in the mind of the author when he/she wrote the article. In other words, what was the key question which the article addressed?

Point of View: The main question you are trying to answer here is: What is the author looking at, and how is he/she seeing it?

Concepts: To identify key concepts, ask yourself: What are the most important ideas that you would have to understand in order to understand the author’s reasoning? Then elaborate briefly what the author means by those concepts.

Information: You want to identify the key information the author used, or presupposed, in the article to support his/her main arguments. Here you are looking for facts, experiences, data the author is using to support his/her conclusions.

Assumptions: Ask yourself: What is the author taking for granted that might be questioned? The assumptions are generalizations that the author does not think he/she has to defend in the context of writing the article, and they are usually unstated. This is where the author’s thinking logically begins.

Inferences: You want to identify the most important conclusions that the author comes to and presents in the article. The author bases his/her conclusions on information, assumptions, and concepts.

Implications: Here you are to follow out the logical implications of the author’s position. You should include implications that the author states, if you believe them to be logical, but you should do your best thinking to determine what you think the implications are. What consequences are likely to follow if people ignore the author’s reasoning?

Acceptable LengthYour paper should be at least 2 pages, typed, double-spaced.

Formatting Requirements

  • Put your name, course and section number, and assignment title at the top of the document.
  • Use one-inch margins.
  • Use a 12-point Times New Roman font.
  • Use double line spacing in the document.

To earn a top score, your paper should:
Be clear, precise, accurate, in-depth, and focused on the most significant information.



The intellectual standards are useful tools for evaluating an author’s reasoning. How good is the thinking? Is it clear, logical, accurate, and so on? What are its weaknesses and strengths? Evaluating reasoning is an important aspect of thinking critically. We must be able to determine the flaws in our own and others’ thinking. Only then can we begin to improve it.

The Assignment

Using the same article you chose to analyze, evaluate the logic of the article using the intellectual standards. (Questions taken from Paul and Elder, 2006)

  1. Focusing on the author’s purpose: Is the purpose of this article well-stated? Is it clear and justifiable?
  2. Focusing on the key question which the written piece answers: Is the question at issue well-stated (or clearly implied)? Is it clear and unbiased? Does the expression of the question do justice to the complexity of the matter at issue? Are the question and purpose directly relevant to each other?
  3. Focusing on the author’s point of view: Does the author show a sensitivity to alternative relevant points of view or lines of reasoning? Does he/she consider and respond to objections framed from other relevant points of view?
  4. Focusing on the most important concepts which are at the heart of the author’s reasoning: Does the writer clarify key concepts when necessary? Are the concepts used justifiably?
  5. Focusing on the most important information presented by the author: Does the writer cite relevant evidence, experiences, and/or information essential to the issue? Is the information accurate and directly relevant to the question at issue? Does the writer address the complexities of the issue?
  6. Focusing on the author’s assumptions: Does the writer show a sensitivity to what he or she is taking for granted or assuming (insofar as those assumptions might reasonably be questioned)? Or does the writer use questionable assumptions without addressing problems which might be inherent in those assumptions? In other words, are the assumptions valid, logical, justifiable?
  7. Focusing on the important inferences or conclusions in the written piece: Do the inferences and conclusions made by the author clearly follow from the information relevant to the issue, or does the author jump to unjustifiable conclusions? Does the author consider alternative conclusions where the issue is complex? In other words, does the author use a sound line of reasoning to come to logical conclusions, or can you identify flaws in the reasoning somewhere?
  8. Focusing on implications: Does the writer show a sensitivity to the implications and consequences of the position he/she is taking?


To help you evaluate the article, review the lecture notes, online articles, and your textbook reading on the intellectual standards.

Acceptable LengthYour paper should be at least 2 pages, typed, double-spaced.

Formatting Requirements

  • Put your name, course and section number, and assignment title at the top of the document.
  • Use one-inch margins.
  • Use a 12-point Times New Roman font.
  • Use double line spacing in the document.

To earn a top score, your paper should:
Be clear, precise, accurate, in-depth, and focused on the most significant information.

Here is the other portion of the reading material:


    Thinking is an activity seldom done in isolation, divorced from an object of thought. Instead, thinking as we are using the term in this course, refers to a process whereby we reason toward an end-attempt to answer a question, solve a problem, resolve an issue, or importantly, consider our own reasoning process. If, then, we think of reasoning as a consciously done activity not entirely unlike (by analogy) stamp collecting, tennis, cooking, or brain surgery, we realize that in order to think about that activity we must be able to think in the special terminology related to the process. Reasoning thus has its own specialized terminology. We have already discussed concepts related to thinking, such as cognition, meta-cognition, and the affective dimension of thinking critically. Now, let’s move on to discuss the elements of thinking and the standardsfor thinking.What do we mean by the parts or elements of thinking? The standards for thinking?To master this module, you should be able to define and discuss the following elements of thought:

    1. Purpose
    2. Point of View
    3. Concepts
    4. Information
    5. Assumptions Implications/Consequences
    6. Inferences/Conclusions
    7. Question at Issue

    You should also be able to define and discuss standards used to assess the quality of one’s thinking:

    1. Clarity
    2. Accuracy
    3. Precision
    4. Relevance
    5. Depth
    6. Breadth
    7. Logic
    8. Significance
    9. Fairness

    This is the terminology we are going to use to explain, analyze, and evaluate thinking. It comes from the model of critical thinking originated by Richard Paul, a noted critical thinking expert, and developed by Paul and Linda Elder, the president of the Foundation for Critical Thinking, and their colleague Gerald Nosich. We will use this model in our study of critical thinking.

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    The elements of thinking are essentially the parts of thinking, the structures of thought, much like the components of a computer. We can literally break down a computer into its parts or elements, and we can do the same with thinking, though in a figurative, not literal, sense. Thinking is a complex abstract activity, yet the tools we are introducing here will help us, with much practice, analyze and evaluate reasoning skillfully and effectively. All thinking can be broken down into these eight elements. In other words, these eight elements are present in all thinking. (Most people aren’t conscious of them, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.) Every time we reason, we do so for a purpose. We might have more than one purpose. Our purposes can be either ethical or unethical. They can even be contradictory. For example, a student might have a purpose of getting a quality education but also want to become popular on campus and attend every party possible. Can that student achieve both purposes? A purpose is a goal, an objective, a desired outcome, and purpose is always present in our thinking and in everything we do. Whenever we reason, a main question or problem at issue is also present. If your purpose is to get a quality education, the main question becomes “How can I get a quality education?” (Hint: Probably not by attending every party. . . .)Another element of thinking is inference. An inference can be defined as a conclusion we draw based upon information we receive either directly by observation and/or other sensory input or indirectly from the written or oral reports of others. An inference is, then, a step of the mind, and information refers to the data, observations, facts, and experiences upon which we base our inferences.Let’s look at an example of using information to reach conclusions. You walk into the classroom and all your fellow students are seated and the professor is lecturing. The class begins at 9:00 but only a moment before walking in, you are sure your watch read 8:55. You might therefore infer (or conclude) that you are late because your watch is wrong, or you could possibly infer that the professor had previously announced an earlier start time for this day and you simply didn’t hear it. In this case, you had information (observations of the class lecture and the data from your watch) upon which you based a conclusion (your watch is inaccurate, or you had inaccurate information about the class start time).An assumption, on the other hand, is what we believe to be true about certain matters, so true in fact that we may seldom find reason to question what we think we know–we take it for granted. In the situation above, your inference that your lateness is due to your watches being wrong could be based at least in part by your assumption that the class always starts on time, not earlier or much more than five minutes past the hour. In your experience with this professor over the past two months, this information has not once been contradicted.The second inference could be based on the assumption that your daydreaming in class has more than once caused you to miss an assignment or other important information. We thus base our inferences on the information we receive, but we interpret (give meaning to) that information based on our assumptions. We’re filled with assumptions of all kinds about people we know and don’t know, about the natural world around us, and about practically any situation we’ve had experience with either directly or indirectly. In fact, we cannot live as human beings independent of assumptions. We simply must develop the habit of mind to examine the validity and reliability of those assumptions. Not doing otherwise sets us up for disappointment and difficulty in our personal relationships, our careers, and our lives in general. Another element of thought is concepts. When we think, we think in terms of concepts, theories or ideas. For example, if you are thinking about whether or not to get married, key concepts would include the concept of marriage itself, but also love and fidelity (among others). What does each mean to you? Does your potential spouse have the same definitions? It would be prudent to find out! Information you might think through could include the following: the divorce rate, the observations of friends and family who are married, the theories advocated by marriage and relationship experts, etc. Assume for a moment that you are considering changing your college major from business to psychology. You obviously should have good reasons for making this change, but perhaps before you do so you should stop and consider the implications and consequences of making this change. Implications are the possible results of the contemplated decision–those that could happen and the probable results of the decision–those that will in all likelihood happen. Considering your unhappiness as a business major as one of the reasons for the change, a probable result of the change could be an increased sense of happiness and satisfaction as a psychology major. A possible result might be that your grades will improve and your chances of completing your degree will be enhanced. Using the marriage example above, before taking the plunge, you should think through the implications and consequences of getting married versus staying single.Consequences are different than implications in that we say that they are the results that will occur with certainty. Using the example of changing majors, we can say with certainty that making the change will result in the necessity of taking a particular number of courses you haven’t already taken, because they weren’t required for business majors. You will also lose some credits for courses you’ve taken that are not required for psychology majors. These are consequences, not implications, because they can be easily determined and verified, perhaps simply by looking in your college catalog or discussing this contemplated change with your advisor.Finally, keep in mind that each of us brings everything about who we are to bear when we think about any certain situation or information with which we are presented. You’ve heard the expression, “Men are from Mars. Women are from Venus.” Quite simply put, men and women can assign different meaning to the same message because they’re responding from different points of view. But gender isn’t the only category of perspective out there; we think from different religious points of view, economic points of view, cultural points of view, professional points of view, age-related points of view, and so on.Asked to respond to the news that the stock market dropped 10% the previous day, a person heavily invested in the market would react quite differently than the individual who owns no stock and seldom has more than $200 in a savings account. We call this element (of what we bring to our interpretation of a message) our point of view. And keep in mind that each person is a complexity of perspectives and that, professionally, people in biology or psychology see things from a different point of view than those in physics or religion. Americans view the atomic bombing of Hiroshima differently than the Japanese. The list goes on. The trick is not to view information’s meaning as relative, but to recognize how your point of view affects the meaning you assign to information and be willing to acknowledge other points of view. Critical thinkers are, after all, both self-reflective and open-minded.We have discussed here the eight elements of thought: purpose, point of view, question at issue, information, assumptions, concepts, inferences (conclusions), and implications/consequences.Gerald Nosich, a critical thinking scholar, adds two more concepts to think about when analyzing thinking: alternatives and context. These are not elements; as Nosich says, “Context is the background to the reasoning rather than being literally an element in it, and alternatives encompass the different choices that could be made in the reasoning. Whenever we reason through anything, there is always a concept in which the reasoning takes place, and there are alternatives that shape it” (2005). Therefore, it will be productive to think about, for example, the context in which we make inferences, and it will deepen and broaden our thinking to identify alternative reasonable inferences possible in that context.Paul and Elder (2006) nicely summarize what we have covered here: “Whenever you are reasoning, you are trying to accomplish some purpose, within a point of view, using concepts or ideas. You are focused on some question, issue, or problem, using information, to come to conclusions, based on assumptions, all of which have implications.” Nosich adds that “context is the background of the reasoning. . .and alternatives encompass the different choices that could be made in the reasoning.”

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    If we are to think about our thinking, it will be necessary that we learn one of several available lists of criteria used to evaluate thought. If we are good critical thinkers, we constantly examine our thinking this way, screening what we say or write by particular standards. Am I being clear? Certainly this is, for example, the most fundamental question we ask when we express ourselves. However, if clarity is perhaps the starting point for judging information or our own thought, it is not the only criteria we need. Others include, but are not limited to, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, logicalness, significance, and fairness. Each of these evaluative measures gives us insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the expressions we offer of our ideas and opinions. The more those expressions hold up under our scrutiny, the more confident we can be in what we say. Therefore, if we use these same criteria to evaluate what we read and are exposed to in our lives, we will become discerning individuals and more capable critical thinkers. For example, let’s suppose you read the following excerpt from the op-ed page of your Sunday newspaper:

    “The recent increases in gasoline prices are a direct result of our nation’s refusal to develop and use our own considerable sources of oil. Instead, we have become dependent upon sources controlled by countries which see themselves at odds with America, or at the very least, who desire to drain every dollar possible from our country, the country rich enough to pay any price asked. Moreover, we ignore our own natural resources, particularly what is to be found in the Alaskan wilderness, a place so remote that fewer than one in 75,000 Americans will visit it in his or her lifetime. Estimates by the U.S. Geological Survey are that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) sits on economically recoverable oil deposits estimated to range from 1.9 to 9.4 billion barrels. President Bush has proposed that this resource be tapped in an effort to stabilize energy prices and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. No doubt he is right.”How would you go about evaluating the reasoning of this writer? First, ask yourself if what is said is clear. Clarity is a complex standard because a number of factors enter into the picture. First, is the question the writer responds to stated or implied? Here, you would have to form the question yourself, something like “How can the cost of gasoline be lowered and remain reasonably affordable?” Next, you should question the terms used by the writer. What about the expression “countries which see themselves at odds with America”? Which particular countries does the writer have in mind? Iraq or perhaps Saudi Arabia, or is he thinking of Kuwait and Indonesia? Does “at odds” mean at war or does it merely signify a bit of disagreement? What is implied by the term “remote”? By the use of this term, does the writer imply that the area is so uninhabitable that it is otherwise useless and thus of no value other than for the oil it contains?Next, you might assess the accuracy of the writer’s statements. Are his facts correct? How could you verify his statement that the wildlife refuge contains “1.9 to 9.4 billion barrels of oil?” What you would discover is that the writer somewhat misconstrues the truth here. In reality, the fact is that the U.S. Geological Survey estimates that there is a 95% chance of finding 1.9 billion barrels but only a 5% chance of finding 9.4 billion barrels. Does the writer’s leaving these percentages out change the accuracy of his reporting of the facts?What about the precision of the writer’s information? Would it change the way you view this passage if you discovered that the writer bases much of his argument on his statement that the U.S. holds “considerable” oil reserves but that what he calls considerable isn’t necessarily precise at all. In fact, to be precise the U.S. holds less than 3% of the known supply of oil. As the world’s largest oil consumer, does it then make sense that the U.S. will ever be able to extract enough oil from its own reserves to be less dependent on foreign sources?Checking the relevance of all statements here is also important. When you assess the statement that “fewer than one out of 75,000 Americans will visit it in his or her lifetime,” you should ask yourself if what is said here bears directly on the problem. If it does, the connection should be clear, but here the connection really lies in an assumption the writer seems to make which you may not share: land is only valuable if people profit in some way directly from it. In this case, the writer implies that because few Americans will ever directly set foot in the ANWR, the only other use would be for the oil it contains. You should question his statement not only for its relevance but also for its logic, fairness, and accuracy.The problem the writer concerns himself with is obviously complex, part of the whole issue of energy the country faces. As such, even though the paragraph is an excerpt, we can assume the writer probably fails to acknowledge the depth of the problem. He does not address the politics, economics or history of the problem, each of which contains facts of what led to the current situation (high prices for gasoline), nor does he consider what can be done to cut gasoline consumption. Neither does the writer look at the breadth of the problem. He fails to see and consider alternatives to drilling in the ANWR. Perhaps there are areas less environmentally sensitive which could be developed. Does he anywhere acknowledge the fact that over 70% of Americans polled have opposed drilling in the ANWR? He seems to say that nothing else can be done, an obviously narrow viewpoint.As mentioned before, you should consider the logic the writer uses to make his case. Is it logical that the ANWR has but two potential uses, recreation and oil? Is it logical that a place has value only insofar as it supplies a human need? Is it logical that drilling in the ANWR will make a considerable difference when the U.S. currently uses 7 billion barrels of oil a year?While the writer obviously uses few facts from the vast amount of information available on the subject, what isn’t clear here is whether the facts that he’s chosen to use are indeed the significant facts. Aside from the ecological damage which could result, the writer seems to ignore facts about the economic growth in both Alaska and the continental U.S. Finally, if you assess the writer’s view for fairness, you must reason whether his assumptions and conclusions are justified based both on the evidence presented as well as the evidence available. In this case, for example, we’ve already seen that at least one of the writer’s assumptions appears false. What about the fairness of the conclusion? Is there information left out? What if you discovered that the oil in the ANWR is so difficult to recover that the oil industry will attempt to do so only if the price of oil remains above $16 per barrel? Whose interest is it in, then, that oil prices remain relatively high? Finally, do you get the sense that the writer has intentionally left out a considerable number of facts, including (but not limited to) the facts about what drilling will do to the environment, the wildlife, and the human population living in the area? You would be entirely justified if you criticized this writer’s expression as unfair and unjustified based on the evidence presented and his failure to examine contrary evidence as well. You might also infer that this writer practiced unskilled reasoning, failed to treat the problem as the complex issue it is, and perhaps was either self-serving in his argument or reasoned only enough to justify his previously held point of view.Notice how we can apply the standards as well as the elements to this writer’s reasoning to help us analyze and evaluate his reasoning. The elements and standards are useful tools we can use to think about other people’s thinking as well as our own. Essentially, that is what we will be doing throughout the entire course, so make sure you clearly understand the elements of thought and intellectual standards.

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    Review the following brief definitions of the elements of thought and intellectual standards. See if you can explain each in your own words. If not, review the lecture notes, online articles, and textbook reading to identify where you are confused or unclear. Elements of Thought

    1. Purpose: goal, objective
    2. Question at issue: problem, issue
    3. Information: data, facts, observations, experiences
    4. Inferences: conclusions, interpretations, solutions
    5. Concepts: theories, definitions, axioms, laws, principles, models
    6. Assumptions: presupposition, taking for granted
    7. Implications and consequences: what is likely to happen, what will happen
    8. Point of view: frame of reference, perspective, orientation

    –From Paul and Elder (2001)Intellectual Standards

    1. Clarity: understandable, precise
    2. Accuracy: free of errors or distortions
    3. Precision: specific, exact to the necessary level of detail
    4. Relevance: clearly connected to the matter at hand
    5. Depth: intellectually complex
    6. Breadth: open to multiple relevant viewpoints
    7. Logicalness: free of contradictions and fallacies
    8. Significance: focused on the most important information
    9. Fairness: not merely self-serving or one-sided