IDENTIFYING THE THESIS Bob Corbett PHIL 1010 01: June 5th until July 28th, 2000 What is a thesis and how does one find it? In my earlier paper on locating the thesis thinking I spoke of the ARGUMENT being the central unit of speech. Note that this is somewhat different than normal English.
In English generally the central unit of speech is the sentence. Most people are used to speaking and even thinking in sentences. When I’m in Vienna, which is often, I usually choose to speak German. Obviously I’m most used to speaking English.
German is very bad, I speak it poorly. Nonetheless, I CHOOSE to consciously switch to German. It may be that I have to if I want to communicate. My correspondent may not speak English, and German is the only language we have in common. With critical thinking this latter notion will not often happen. Anyone who can “speak” critical thinking can speak sentences.
But, to begin to take the truth of an idea seriously, is to consider the important step of switching out of “sentence” English into “argument” English. I have already responded to one student’s question about argument and debate. As I explained there, “argument” is a technical term in critical thinking, not a disagreement or a debate. But that will be my next lecture-essay. In this one I want to deal with what is a thesis and how to find it.
A set of reasons or considerations for why one thinks the thesis is true. The first distinction that I must make is between a thesis and a topic. There is a good deal of discussion on the news these days about the fluctuations of the stock market. Many people are having their say.