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And when you notice things like that, when you distinguish between good and bad reasons for believing something, you're exercising your[br]critical thinking skills.So critical thinking is making sure we have good reasons for our beliefs, and so one of the essential[br]skills that you learn when you're studying[br]critical thinking is how to distinguish good reasons[br]for believing something from bad reasons for believing something.So "Monty's really shy" is premise one, "Monty rarely goes to[br]parties" is premise two, and the statement that[br]those premises give you reason to believe, we call[br]the argument's conclusion.
We're gonna talk about three possible answers she could give.
First, she might say, "I can't stand him, and I want to have a good time." Second, she might say,[br]"Well, he's really shy, and he rarely goes to parties." And third, she might say, "He's in Beijing, and it's impossible to get here from[br]Beijing in an afternoon." The first response that she gives you does not give you a good reason to believe that Monty won't be at the party.
Rather, here, what it is to[br]say that a reason is good is closely tied to the notion of truth.
So a good reason for a belief is one that makes it probable, that is, it's one that makes the belief likely to be true.
In that case, we say that the argument supports the conclusion.
Good arguments support their conclusions, and bad arguments don't[br]support their conclusions.
So I'm gonna put up here, on the left, the orange argument, which is the second response that your friend gave, "Monty's really shy" and[br]"He rarely goes to parties." On the right we'll put[br]the purple argument, "Monty's in Beijing" and "He can't get from Beijing[br]to the party in time." Both of them have the same conclusion, "Monty won't be at the party." Now, as I said before, both of these are good arguments, they both do give you reason to believe the conclusion, i.e., both of them have premises which support the conclusion, but there's an important difference between the two arguments[br]that I want to point out.
If you consider the purple argument, and think about what those premises say, you'll notice that if[br]those premises are true, if Monty's in Beijing,[br]and can't get from Beijing to the party in time, then it must be true that Monty won't be at the party. In such an argument, where the premises guarantee the truth of the conclusion, we call the argument deductive.
So it's not morally right or morally good to believe something on[br]the basis of good reasons.
Similarly, it's not morally[br]wrong, or evil, or wicked to believe something on[br]the basis of a bad reason.