In all arguments, there will be certain ideas taken for granted by writer. typically, these ideas will not be staterd. you will have to find them by reading between the lines. these ideas are important invisible links in the reasoning structure, the glue that holds the entire argument together. until you supply these links, you cannot truly understand the argument
Critical thinkers believe that autonomy curiosity and reasonableness are amont the most important human objectives
We shall refer to these unstated ideas as assumptions. to fully understand an argument you must identify the assumptions. these assumptions are a) hidden or unstated (in most cases)
b) taken for granted
c) influential in determining the conclusion and
d) potentially deceptive
2. General Guide for Identifying Assumptions
Look for assumptions needed for the reason(s) to support the conclustions and look for ones necessary for a reason to be true. Look for value assumptions in the movement from reasons to conclusions! Note: that the reasons and conclusion are also the place where we search for significant ambiguity Attention: An assumptions is an unstated belief that supports the explicit reasoning
3. Value Conflicts and Assumptions
One extremely important reason for these different conclusions is the existence of value conflicts, or the differing values that stem from different frames of referance. For ethical or prescriptive arguments, an individual's values influence the reasons he provides and consequently his conslusion. In fact, ther reasons will logically support the conclusion only if the value assumption is added to the reasoning.
Value assumptions are very important assumptions for such arguments because they are directing the reasoning from behind a sceen. The person trying to communicate with you may or may not be aware of these assumptions
By Value assumptiosn we mean a taken-for-granted belief about the...