Counterargument Paper: PHI 103 Week 3 Assignment

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Counterargument Paper
Counterargument Paper

This paper assignment expands upon your Week One Assignment and prepares you for the Final Paper. The expansion is to learn to improve one’s argument after investigating and fairly representing the opposite point of view. The main new tasks are to revise your previous argument created in Week One, to present a counterargument (an argument for a contrary conclusion), and to develop an objection to your original argument.

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Here are the steps to prepare to write the counterargument paper:

Counterargument Paper
  • Begin reviewing your previous paper paying particular attention to suggestions for improvement made by your instructor.
  • Revise your argument, improving it as much as possible, accounting for any suggestions and in light of further material you have learned in the course. If your argument is inductive, make sure that it is strong. If your argument is deductive, make sure that it is valid.
  • Construct what you take to be the strongest possible argument for a conclusion contrary to the one you argued for in your Week One paper. This is your counterargument. This should be based on careful thought and appropriate research.
  • Consider the primary points of disagreement between the point of view of your original argument and that of the counterargument.
  • Think about what you take to be the strongest objection to your original argument and how you might answer the objection while being fair to both sides. Search in the Ashford University Library for quality academic sources that support some aspect of your argument or counterargument.

In your paper,

Counterargument Paper
  • Present a revised argument in standard form, with each premise and the conclusion on a separate line.
  • Present a counterargument in standard form, with each premise and the conclusion on a separate line.
  • Provide support for each premise of your counterargument. Clarify the meaning of the premise and supporting evidence for the premise.
    • Pay special attention to those premises that could be seen as controversial. Evidence may include academic research sources, supporting arguments, or other ways of demonstrating the truth of the premise (for more ideas about how to support the truth of premises take a look at the instructor guidance for this week). This section should include at least one scholarly research source. For guidance about how to develop a conclusion see the Ashford Writing Center’s Introductions and Conclusions.
  • Explain how the conclusion of the counterargument follows from its premises. [One paragraph]
  • Discuss the primary points of disagreement between sincere and intelligent proponents of both sides. [One to two paragraphs]
    • For example, you might list any premises or background assumptions on which you think such proponents would disagree and briefly state what you see as the source of the disagreement, you could give a brief explanation of any reasoning that you think each side would find objectionable, or you could do a combination of these.
  • Present the best objectionto your original argument. Clearly indicate what part of the argument your objection is aimed at, and provide a paragraph of supporting evidence for the objection. Reference at least one scholarly research source. [One to two paragraphs]
    • See the “Practicing Effective Criticism” section of Chapter 9 of your primary textbook for more information about how to present an objection.
Counterargument Paper

For further instruction on how to create arguments, see the How to Construct a Valid Main Argument and Tips for Creating an Inductively Strong Argument documents as well as the video Constructing Valid Arguments.

For an example of how to complete this paper, take a look at the following Week Three Annotated Example. Let your instructor know if you have questions about how to complete this paper.

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Writing Help Image In this class, you have three tutoring services available: Paper ReviewLive Chat, and Tutor E-mail. Click on the Ashford Writing Center (AWC) tab in the left-navigation menu to learn more about these tutoring options and how to get help with your writing.

The Counterargument Paper

  • Must be 500 to 800 words in length (not including title and references pages) and formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center (for more information about using APA style, take a look at the APA Essay Checklist for Students webpage).
  • Must include a separate title page with the following:
    • Title of paper
    • Student’s name
    • Course name and number
    • Instructor’s name
    • Date submitted
  • Must use at least two scholarly sources in addition to the course text.
  • The Scholarly, Peer Reviewed, and Other Credible Sources table offers additional guidance on appropriate source types. If you have questions about whether a specific source is appropriate for this assignment, please contact your instructor. Your instructor has the final say about the appropriateness of a specific source for a particular assignment.
  • Must document all sources in APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center (for more information about how to create an APA reference list, take a look at the APA References List webpage).
  • Must include a separate references page that is formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.

With Good Reason: A Guide to Critical Thinking

Christopher Foster Ashford University

James Hardy Ashford University

Gloria Zúñiga y Postigo Ashford University

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James Hardy, Christopher Foster, and Gloria Zúñiga y Postigo

With Good Reason: A Guide to Critical Thinking

Editor in Chief, AVP: Steve Wainwright

Executive Editor: Anna Lustig

Development Editor: Rebecca Paynter

Assistant Editor: Jessica Sarra

Editorial Assistant: Lukas Schulze

Production Editor: Catherine Morris

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Cover Design: Bambang Suparman Ibrahim

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ISBN-10: 1621785661

ISBN-13: 978-1-62178-566-8

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Brief Contents

Chapter 1: An Introduction to Critical Thinking and Logic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

Chapter 2: The Argument . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25

Chapter 3: Deductive Reasoning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59

Chapter 4: Propositional Logic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119

Chapter 5: Inductive Reasoning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165

Chapter 6: Deduction and Induction: Putting It All Together . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 207

Chapter 7: Informal Fallacies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 239

Chapter 8: Persuasion and Rhetoric . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 279

Chapter 9: Logic in Real Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 319

Glossary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 355

References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 363

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About the Authors xiii Acknowledgments xv Preface xvii

Chapter 1 An Introduction to Critical Thinking and Logic 1

1 .1 What Is Critical Thinking? 2 The Importance of Critical Thinking 3 Becoming a Critical Thinker 6

1 .2 Three Misconceptions About Logic 7 Logic Is for Robots 7 Logic Does Not Need to Be Learned 9 Logic Is Too Hard 10

1 .3 What Is Logic? 11 The Study of Arguments 11 A Tool for Arriving at Warranted Judgments 12 Formal Versus Informal Logic 14

1 .4 Arguments Outside of Logic 14 Arguments in Ordinary Language 14 Rhetorical Arguments 15 Revisiting Arguments in Logic 16

1 .5 The Importance of Language in Logic 17

1 .6 Logic and Philosophy 19 The Goal of Philosophy 20 Philosophy and Logical Reasoning 20

Summary and Resources 21


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Chapter 2 The Argument 25

2 .1 Arguments in Logic 26 Claims 29 The Standard Argument Form 31

2 .2 Putting Arguments in the Standard Form 33 Find the Conclusion First 34 Find the Premises Next 36 The Necessity of Paraphrasing 38 Thinking Analytically 39

2 .3 Representing Arguments Graphically 42 Representing Reasons That Support a Conclusion 42 Representing Counterarguments 45 Diagramming Efficiently 46

2 .4 Classifying Arguments 47 Deductive Arguments 48 Inductive Arguments 49 Arguments Versus Explanations 50

Summary and Resources 53

Chapter 3 Deductive Reasoning 59

3 .1 Basic Concepts in Deductive Reasoning 60 Validity 60 Soundness 62 Deduction 63

3 .2 Evaluating Deductive Arguments 66 Representing Logical Form 66 Using the Counterexample Method 68

3 .3 Types of Deductive Arguments 70 Mathematical Arguments 70 Arguments From Definitions 71 Categorical Arguments 72 Propositional Arguments 72

3 .4 Categorical Logic: Introducing Categorical Statements 73 Clarifying Particular Statements 76


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Clarifying Universal Statements 76 Accounting for Conversational Implication 78

3 .5 Categorical Logic: Venn Diagrams as Pictures of Meaning 80 Drawing Venn Diagrams 81 Drawing Immediate Inferences 84

3 .6 Categorical Logic: Categorical Syllogisms 91 Terms 91 Distribution 91 Rules for Validity 93 Venn Diagram Tests for Validity 94

3 .7 Categorical Logic: Types of Categorical Arguments 111 Sorites 111 Enthymemes 112 Validity in Complex Arguments 113

Summary and Resources 115

Chapter 4 Propositional Logic 119

4 .1 Basic Concepts in Propositional Logic 120 The Value of Formal Logic 121 Statement Forms 122

4 .2 Logical Operators 123 Conjunction 124 Disjunction 126 Negation 128 Conditional 129

4 .3 Symbolizing Complex Statements 133 Truth Tables With Complex Statements 135 Truth Tables With Three Letters 137

4 .4 Using Truth Tables to Test for Validity 140 Examples With Arguments With Two Letters 141 Examples With Arguments With Three Letters 144

4 .5 Some Famous Propositional Argument Forms 149 Common Valid Forms 149 Common Invalid Forms 152

Summary and Resources 158

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Chapter 5 Inductive Reasoning 165

5 .1 Basic Concepts in Inductive Reasoning 166 Inductive Strength 167 Inductive Cogency 170

5 .2 Statistical Arguments: Statistical Syllogisms 171 Form 172 Weak Statistical Syllogisms 173

5 .3 Statistical Arguments: Inductive Generalizations 174 Representativeness 175 Confidence Level 179 Applying This Knowledge 180

5 .4 Causal Relationships: The Meaning of Cause 181 Sufficient Conditions 181 Necessary Conditions 182 Necessary and Sufficient Conditions 183 Other Types of Causes 184 Correlational Relationships 184

5 .5 Causal Arguments: Mill’s Methods 186 Method of Agreement 187 Method of Difference 188 Joint Method of Agreement and Difference 189 Method of Concomitant Variation 190

5 .6 Arguments From Authority 192

5 .7 Arguments From Analogy 193 Evaluating Arguments From Analogy 194 Analogies in Moral Reasoning 197 Other Uses of Analogies 198

Summary and Resources 203

Chapter 6 Deduction and Induction: Putting It All Together 207

6 .1 Contrasting Deduction and Induction 208

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6 .2 Choosing Between Induction and Deduction 211 Availability 211 Robustness 212 Persuasiveness 214

6 .3 Combining Induction and Deduction 216

6 .4 Reasoning About Science: The Hypothetico–Deductive Method 218 Step 1: Formulate a Hypothesis 219 Step 2: Deduce a Consequence From the Hypothesis 219 Step 3: Test Whether the Consequence Occurs 220 Step 4: Reject the Hypothesis If the Consequence Does Not Occur 220

6 .5 Inference to the Best Explanation 225 Form 228 Virtue of Simplicity 229 How to Assess an Explanation 231 A Limitation 232

Summary and Resources 236

Chapter 7 Informal Fallacies 239

7 .1 Fallacies of Support 241 Begging the Question 241 Circular Reasoning 242 Hasty Generalizations and Biased Samples 243 Appeal to Ignorance and Shifting the Burden of Proof 245 Appeal to Inadequate Authority 246 False Dilemma 248 False Cause 249

7 .2 Fallacies of Relevance 251 Red Herring and Non Sequitur 251 Appeal to Emotion 252 Appeal to Popular Opinion 255 Appeal to Tradition 256 Ad Hominem and Poisoning the Well 257

7 .3 Fallacies of Clarity 261 The Slippery Slope 261 Equivocations 262 The Straw Man 264

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Fallacy of Accident 267 Fallacies of Composition and Division 268

Summary and Resources 273

Chapter 8 Persuasion and Rhetoric 279

8 .1 Obstacles to Critical Thinking: The Self 280 Stereotypes 280 Cognitive Biases 282

8 .2 Obstacles to Critical Thinking: Rhetorical Devices 289 Weasel Words 290 Euphemisms and Dysphemisms 291 Proof Surrogates 293 Hyperbole 294 Innuendo and Paralipsis 295

8 .3 The Media and Mediated Information 300 Manipulating Images 301 Advertising 302 Other Types of Mediated Information 306

8 .4 Evaluating the Source: Who to Believe 308 Reputation and Authorship 309 Accuracy and Currency 312 Interested Parties 312

Summary and Resources 314

Chapter 9 Logic in Real Life 319

9 .1 The Argumentative Essay 320 The Problem 321 The Thesis 322 The Premises 323

9 .2 Strengthening the Argumentative Essay 327 Clarification and Support 327 The Objection 329 The Rebuttal 330 Closing Your Essay 331

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9 .3 Practical Arguments: Building Arguments for Everyday Use 333 The Claim 333 The Data 334 The Warrant 334 Comparing the Models 335

9 .4 Confronting Disagreement 338 Applying the Principle of Accuracy 339 Applying the Principle of Charity 340 Balancing the Principles of Accuracy and Charity 341 Practicing Effective Criticism 342

9 .5 Case Study: Interpretation and Criticism in Practice 346 Examining the Initial Argument 347 Examining the Objection 347 Examining the Wording 348 Drawing a Conclusion 349

9 .6 Other Applications of Logic 349 Symbolic Logic 350 Computer Science 350 Artificial Intelligence 350 Engineering 351 Politics (Speech Writing) 351

Summary and Resources 351

Glossary 355

References 363

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James Hardy, Ashford University Dr. James Hardy is part of the core faculty of the Humanities & Science department at Ashford University. He obtained a PhD in philosophy from Indiana University, a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Washington, and bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and psy- chology from Utah State University. He has taught philosophy at multiple universities since 1998 and has had the opportunity to teach across the general education spectrum, including courses in algebra, speech, English, and physics. Dr. Hardy’s favorite part of teaching is watch- ing students get excited about learning, helping them achieve their dreams, and seeing their excitement as new worlds of knowledge open up to them.

Dr. Hardy loves spending time outdoors hiking, backpacking, and canoeing—especially when he can do so with family members. He has lived all over the United States and has always found beauty and natural wonders wherever he has lived. The only time he is happier than when he is in nature is when he is spending time with his family.

Christopher Foster, Ashford University Dr. Christopher Foster is lead faculty of the Humanities & Science department at Ashford University. He holds a PhD in philosophy with a specialization in logic and language and a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Kansas (KU). His undergraduate work was completed at the University of California–Davis, where he earned bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and philosophy. Dr. Foster began his career as a graduate teaching assistant at KU and went on to teach at Brigham Young University and Utah Valley University. Dr. Foster has a passion for philosophy and believes that digging deeply into life’s ultimate questions is often the best way to improve students’ critical thinking and writing skills. He lives in Orem, Utah, with his wife, Cherie, and two daughters, Avery and Adia.

Gloria Zúñiga y Postigo, Ashford University Dr. Gloria Zúñiga y Postigo is part of the core faculty of the Humanities & Science department at Ashford University. She earned a PhD in philosophy from the University at Buffalo, special- izing in ontology, ethics, and philosophy of economics. Her previous studies are in philosophy at the University of California–Berkeley and economics at California State University–East Bay. Dr. Zúñiga y Postigo’s present research interests include examinations of the effect in our experiences of moral, aesthetic, and economic phenomena; and value in the Brentano School, the Menger School, and the Göttingen Circle scholars. Teaching philosophy is one her greatest passions. She especially enjoys teaching informal logic, because it empowers students with a tool for distinguishing truth from the mere appearance of truth, thereby making it possible for them to achieve fulfilling lives with greater efficacy.

About the Authors

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The authors would like to acknowledge the people who made significant contributions to the development of this text: Anna Lustig, executive editor; Rebecca Paynter, development edi- tor; Jessica Sarra, assistant editor; Lukas Schulze, editorial assistant; Catherine Morris, pro- duction editor; Amanda Nixon, media production; and Lauri Scherer and LSF Editorial, copy editors. Additional thanks go to Justin Harrison and Marc Joseph for their work creating and accuracy checking the ancillary materials for this text.

The authors would also like to thank the following reviewers, as well as other anonymous reviewers, for their valuable feedback and insight:

Justin Harrison, Ashford University

Mark Hébert, Austin College

Marc Joseph, Mills College

Stephen Krogh, Ashford University

Renee Levant, Ashford University

Andrew Magrath, Kent State University

Zachary Martin, Florida State University

John McAteer, Ashford University

Bradley Thames, Ashford University

Finally, but not least importantly, the authors would like to acknowledge their respective spouses—Teresa Hardy, Cherie Farnes, and Jacob Arfwedson—for their loving understand- ing of the long hours that this project demanded, as well as all characters in popular culture (for example, Sherlock Holmes, Mr. Spock, and Dr. House) who have kept logic present in everyday conversations. The rewards of our work are enriched by the former and reassured by the latter.


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With Good Reason: A Guide to Critical Thinking examines the specific ways we use language to reason about things. The study of logic improves our ability to think. It forces us to pay closer attention to the way language is used (and misused). It helps make us better at providing good reasons for our decisions. With Good Reason: A Guide to Critical Thinking seeks to help you examine and develop these abilities in order to improve them and to avoid being per- suaded by the faulty reasoning of others.

Textbook Features With Good Reason: A Guide to Critical Thinking includes a number of features to help students understand key concepts and think critically:

Everyday Logic boxes give students the opportunity to see principles applied to a variety of real-world scenarios.

A Closer Look boxes give students the chance to explore more in-depth concepts and issues in critical thinking.

Figures illustrate a variety of concepts in easy-to-understand ways.

Practice Problems provide an opportunity for students to exercise the knowledge they have learned in each chapter.

Knowledge Checks test preconceptions about and comprehension of each chapter’s top- ics and lead to a personalized reading plan based on these results.

Moral of the Story boxes and Chapter Summaries review the key ideas and takeaways in each chapter.

Interactive Features in the e-book allow students to engage with the content on a more dynamic level. Animated scenarios in Logic in Action show students how logic might be used in real life. Consider This interactions invite students to think about various issues in more depth. Interactive exercises in Connecting the Dots give students further opportuni- ties to practice what they have learned.

Key Terms list and define important vocabulary discussed in the chapter, offering an opportunity for a final review of chapter concepts. In the e-book, students can click on the term to reveal the definition and quiz themselves in the process.


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1An Introduction to Critical Thinking and Logic

Hemera Technologies/

Learning Objectives After reading this chapter, you should be able to:

1. Explain the importance of critical thinking and logic.

2. Describe the relationship between critical thinking and logic.

3. Explain why logical reasoning is a natural human attribute that we all have to develop as a skill.

4. Identify logic as a subject matter applicable to many other disciplines and everyday life.

5. Distinguish the various uses of the word argument that do not pertain to logic.

6. Articulate the importance of language in logical reasoning.

7. Describe the connection between logic and philosophy.

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Section 1.1 What Is Critical Thinking?

This book will introduce you to the tools and practices of critical thinking. Since the main tool for critical thinking is logical reasoning, the better part of this book will be devoted to discuss- ing logic and how to use it effectively to become a critical thinker.

We will start by examining the practical importance of critical thinking and the virtues it requires us to nurture. Then we will explore what logic is and how the tools of logic can help us lead easier and happier lives. We will also briefly review a critical concept in logic—the argument—and discuss the importance of language in making good judgments. We will con- clude with a snapshot of the historical roots of logic in philosophy.

1.1 What Is Critical Thinking? What is critical thinking? What is a critical thinker? Why do you need a guide to think criti- cally? These are good questions, but ones that are seldom asked. Sometimes people are afraid to ask questions because they think that doing so will make them seem ignorant to others. But admitting you do not know something is actually the only way to learn new things and better understand what others are trying to tell you.

There are differing views about what critical thinking is. For the most part, people take bits and pieces of these views and carry on with their often imprecise—and sometimes conflicting— assumptions of what critical thinking may be. However, one of the ideas we will discuss in this book is the fundamental importance of seeking truth. To this end, let us unpack the term critical thinking to better understand its meaning.

First, the word thinking can describe any number of cognitive activities, and there is certainly more than one way to think. We can think analytically, creatively, strategically, and so on (Sousa, 2011). When we think analytically, we take the whole that we are examining—this could be a term, a situation, a scientific phenomenon—and attempt to identify its components. The next step is to examine each component individually and understand how it fits with the other com- ponents. For example, we are currently examining the meaning of each of the words in the term critical thinking so we can have a better understanding of what they mean together as a whole.

Analytical thinking is the kind of thinking mostly used in academia, science, and law (includ- ing crime scene investigation). In ordinary life, however, you engage in analytical thinking more often than you imagine. For example, think of a time when you felt puzzled by some- one else’s comment. You might have tried to recall the original situation and then parsed out the language employed, the context, the mood of the speaker, and the subject of the com- ment. Identifying the different parts and looking at how each is related to the other, and how together they contribute to the whole, is an act of analytical thinking.

When we think creatively, we are not focused on relationships between parts and their wholes, as we are when we think analytically. Rather, we try to free our minds from any boundaries such as rules or conventions. Instead, our tools are imagination and innovation. Suppose you are cooking, and you do not have all the ingredients called for in your recipe. If you start thinking creatively, you will begin to look for things in your refrigerator and pantry that can substitute for the missing ingredients. But in order to do this, you must let go of the recipe’s expected outcome and conceive of a new direction.

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Section 1.1 What Is Critical Thinking?

When we think strategically, our focus is to first lay out a master plan of action and then break it down into smaller goals that are organized in such a way as to support our outcomes. For exam- ple, undertaking a job search involves strategic planning. You must identify due dates for applications, request let- ters of recommendations, prepare your résumé and cover letters, and so on. Thinking strategically likely extends to many activities in your life, whether you are going grocery shopping or planning a wedding.

What, then, does it mean to think criti- cally? In this case the word critical has nothing to do with criticizing others in a negative way or being surly or cynical.

Rather, it refers to the habit of carefully evaluating ideas and beliefs, both those we hear from others and those we formulate on our own, and only accepting those that meet certain stan- dards. While critical thinking can be viewed from a number of different perspectives, we will define critical thinking as the activity of careful assessment and self-assessment in the process of forming judgments. This means that when we think critically, we become the vigilant guard- ians of the quality of our thinking.

Simply put, the “critical” in critical thinking refers to a healthy dose of suspicion. This means that critical thinkers do not simply accept what they read or hear from others—even if the information comes from loved ones or is accompanied by plausible-sounding statistics. Instead, critical thinkers check the sources of information. If none are given or the sources are weak or unreliable, they research the information for themselves. Perhaps most importantly, critical thinkers are guided by logical reasoning.

As a critical thinker, always ask yourself what is unclear, not understood, or unknown. This is the first step in critical thinking because you cannot make good judgments about things that you do not understand or know.

The Importance of Critical Thinking Why should you care about critical thinking? What can it offer you? Suppose you must make an important decision—about your future career, the person with whom you might want to spend the rest of your life, your financial investments, or some other critical matter. What considerations might come to mind? Perhaps you would wonder whether you need to think about it at all or whether you should just, as the old saying goes, “follow your heart.” In doing so, you are already clarifying the nature of your decision: purely rational, purely emotional, or a combination of both.

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