“Twelve Angry Men” – A Critical thinkers Argument analysis. The search for truth, does the end justify the means?
The play and subsequent movie “Twelve Angry Men” is an examination of the dynamics at play in a jury room in the 50’s in The United States. The action revolves around the opinions, perceptions, reason and logic of twelve diverse characters that are tasked with pronouncing the guilt or innocence of a young man accused of patricide. The extraordinary element is that their finding will determine his life or death. This play was made into a movie in 1957, produced by Henry Fonda who played the lead role and Reginald Rose who wrote the original screenplay. This essay will explore some of the elements of Critical thinking found within the context of this remarkable movie, and will show that rational reason and logic when used effectively can overcome the mostly ineffective rush to judgement that can be prevalent in a population. Those elements will include: Argument Analysis
Most effective/least effective Critical thinker
Morality (persuasion, obedience)
Within the movie, it can be seen that persuasive argument is employed by one single juror to help sway the majority to believe his analysis of the evidence presented, He sets on a course to reach out to each juror and improve their thinking by reasonable and justified persuasion, Chaffee (2011) tells us that we can improve our thinking in an organised and systematic way by Carefully examining our thinking process and the thinking process of others By focusing our attention on various thinking approaches and strategies, we can learn to think more effectively Practicing our thinking abilities. To improve our thinking, we actually have to think for ourselves, to explore and make sense of thinking situations by using our thinking abilities. Although it is important to read about thinking and learn how other people think, there is no substitute for actually doing it ourselves .(Chaffee 2011 p47) The movie has a simple premise, that a minority may affect a majority if rational thought and logic are used to construct arguments based on sound reasons and that when this is applied to lalse logic or fallacies that these can be changed. Argument Analysis.
There were three points raised in the trial that Juror #8 believed required argument analysis, 1. The knife that was the murder weapon was unique and the boy was seen with it, although he said he had lost it. 2. The old man gave evidence that he heard the boy say “I’ll kill you” from his apartment below and that he saw the boy running from the down the stairs from the apartment after rising from his bedroom. 3. That the old lady saw the boy kill his father through her window, whilst a train was passing. Juror #8 analyses each of these points and makes credible arguments that the conclusion is flawed based on incorrect reasoning, by pointing out inconsistencies in the conclusions reached. The other jurors are content to believe that their reasoning is solid, as they have used examples of deductive reasoning to reach their conclusion. Chaffee (2011) tells about deductive reasoning. The deductive argument is the one most commonly associated with the study of logic. Though it has a variety of valid forms, they all share one characteristic: If you accept the supporting reasons (also called premises) as true, then you must necessarily accept the conclusion as true. (Chaffee 2011 p432)
Juror #3 gives his reasons for reaching the conclusion that “It’s quite clear that the boy never went to the movies that night, returned home and killed his father with the knife as identified in Court” Until Juror #8 takes out a similar and knife and poses the question that it was ‘possible’ that another knife was used, Juror #7 calls it a million to one however Juror #8 persists in saying it was ‘possible’. He also uses this analysis method to cast aspersions on the second point...
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