All Ideas Are Not Treated Equally

by Lincoln Smith

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    00:01 And so we arrive at the treatment of ideas. Note the difference that the official content guide uses in this language.

    00:10 They don't state the presentation of ideas but the treatment of ideas for this specific subset of questions within reasoning within the text questions.

    00:21 To evaluate these, we might think that the skills we've been discussing can be long and daunting.

    00:29 But truthfully, evaluating a CARS passage is in many ways similar to evaluating spoken arguments, something we do almost every day.

    00:41 Consider the following three cases where you might need to evaluate a verbal claim.

    00:46 Firstly, someone tries to sell you a pencil by telling you that this the best pencil you could possibly purchase.

    00:54 How about someone tries to persuade you that chlorine in the water supply is damaging to your gut bacteria.

    01:03 Lastly, something we're all familiar with, someone tries to convince you to vote for a political candidate.

    01:12 In each of these situations, you would want to ask yourself what the intentions were of the speaker trying to convince you.

    01:19 Having evaluated that the speaker had good intentions, you would want to further evaluate if they were reliable in other aspects of their background.

    01:29 You would want to see if the speaker was evading addressing a particular counterargument over stating their authority on a particular issue or if they were making claims without adequate evidence.

    01:43 These same tools will help you to see in a CARS passage if an author has written in an authoritative and objective fashion.

    01:54 CARS authors are particularly talented when it comes to couching subjective ideas as objective facts.

    02:02 It's okay for an author to hold an opinion but if you skim a text superficially, you might fall into the trap of believing that opinions in a CARS passage do not exist.

    02:14 You also don't want to evaluate the treatment of every single idea if a question doesn't ask you to do so.

    02:22 That's why our CARS passage strategy will include reevaluation of passage arguments after you've read a passage.

    02:32 Thus, you need to look beyond which ideas are presented into how those ideas are treated.

    02:40 Since an author has let an idea into their CARS passage, that idea is assumed to be important and relevant.

    02:48 But think of ideas as people.

    02:50 Just because you let a person, idea into your house, CARS passage, doesn't mean that you treat all people, ideas, in the same way.

    03:01 Subtle and at times, unintentional attitudes that an author presents towards different ideas can clue you into the biases of the author.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture All Ideas Are Not Treated Equally by Lincoln Smith is from the course CARS Theoretical Foundations.

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. An author who introduces an important point in the second paragraph and then comes back to it in the fourth and final paragraphs
    2. Inferring meaning from the tone of the speaker
    3. The usage of nonstandard language to grab a reader's attention
    4. The cadence and style of an author
    1. Attitudes held towards the idea are expressed
    2. A subjective idea may be framed as objective
    3. Citing a credible source to support the claim
    4. Stating an idea but giving no supportive evidence
    5. Stating that because Socrates is a man, Socrates is mortal

    Author of lecture All Ideas Are Not Treated Equally

     Lincoln Smith

    Lincoln Smith

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