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2: Language, Meaning, and Definition

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    Critical thinking, on one understanding of the idea, is the ability to ask the right questions. Some of the right questions are questions about the words used in an argument or used to express a position. What do they mean? No, what, specifically, do they mean? When someone says something like “immigration is a problem.” What do they mean by “immigration”? Are they referring to illegal immigration? Legal Immigration? All immigration? A specific nationality? A specific subset of illegal immigrants? What do they mean by “a problem”? Do they mean “we need to find out how to support these people as they struggle to survive?” or do they mean “we need to protect ourselves from these people”? We don’t really know exactly what they mean until we’ve clarified it with them (or sometimes looked at the other things they’re saying and inferred what they mean).

    This page titled 2: Language, Meaning, and Definition is shared under a CC BY 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Andrew Lavin via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

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