Lecture Notes.

Module Two: Session Two

Elements of Thought: Purpose, Goal, or End in View


  • Whenever you reason, there is a purpose. This seems so obvious that you may wonder why it is important to discuss. Here are a few reasons

Identify Differing or Conflicting Purposes

  • People may have different, even conflicting purposes when reasoning. It is important to clarify the purpose each has. For instance, when buying a new car, the customer has a different purpose from the salesperson.

Identify the Best Purpose

  • It is important to identify the best purpose. For instance, you may be evaluating different universities in order to decide which is the best one for you to attend. Is your purpose to stay close to your boyfriend or girlfriend? Is it to attend the best party school? Is it to get as far away from home as possible? Or, is it to find the best reputation or the school with a good placement record in your major, or the finest teachers

Identify non-critical thinking motives.

  • The primary purpose in all reasoning should be to discover what is true. But often we have other motives. For instance, we may want to win an argument. We may be trying to justify a preconceived idea. Or we may simply be trying to protect our ego


  • Regarding the purpose, consider the following:
  • Take time to state your purpose clearly.
  • Distinguish your purpose from related purposes.
  • Check periodically to be sure you are still on target.
  • Choose significant and realistic purposes.
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