The basic building blocks of critical thinking: claims, issues, and arguments. If we evaluate these elements, separating them out from embellishments and charlatans, and analyzing and evaluating them are what critical thinking is all about.
Claims are the things we say, aloud or in writing, to convey information, to express our opinions and beliefs. Claims about whether your toothpaste whitens your teeth requires critical evaluation.
Issues are nothing more than a question. Whenever we call a claim into question, when we ask questions about its truth or falsity, we raise an issue. So, when we think critically about a claim, we call it into question and make it an issue.
Arguments are the single most important ingredient in critical thinking. We produce an argument when we give a reason for thinking that a claim is true or false when we weigh the reasons for and against the claim and try to determine its truth or falsity.
A claim that is offered as a reason for believeing another claim is a premise. The claim for which a premise is supposed to give a reason is the conclusion of the argument.
Premise: Sam's garnadmother died, and he had to attend the funeral.
Conclusion: Sam should be excused for missing class.
An argument consists of two parts: the premise or premises supposedly provides a reason for thinking that the conclusion is true.
Argument does not mean two people having a feud or fuss about something. In critical thinking, arguments do not need 2 people. We make argumets for our own use all the time.