Argument and New York Times

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Recognizing Arguments

In this assignment, you will apply key concepts covered in the module readings. You will identify the component parts of arguments and differentiate between various types of arguments such as strict, loose, inductive, and deductive. You will then construct specific, original arguments.

There are two parts to the assignment. Complete both parts.

Part 1

1a: Identify Components of Arguments

Identify the component parts of the argument, premises and conclusion, for the following passages. Where applicable, highlight key words or phrases that identify a claim as a premise or a conclusion.

Refer to the following example:

“All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore, Socrates is mortal.”

All men are mortal.Premise

Socrates is a man.Premise

Therefore, Socrates is mortal.Conclusion

“Therefore” is a key word indicating the claim is the conclusion.

1. Sue is pregnant and will give birth to one child. We know already this child has no genetic anomalies. If Sue’s baby is a boy, he will be named Mark. If Sue’s baby is a girl, she will be named Margaret. Sue will have either a boy or a girl. So we know Sue’s baby will be named Mark or Margaret.

2. If the library has The Lord of the Rings, you won’t find it on the first floor. This is because all fantasy novels are fiction and all works of fiction are housed on the second floor of the library. Of course, I am assuming that all the books are properly shelved at this time.

3.“After a year, brain scans showed that among the walkers, the hippocampus had increased in volume by about 2 percent on average; in the others, it had declined by about 1.4 percent. Since such a decline is normal in older adults, ’a 2 percent increase is fairly significant,’ said the lead author, Kirk Erickson, a psychologist at the University of Pittsburgh. Both groups also improved on a test of spatial memory, but the walkers improved more. While it is hard to generalize from this study to other populations, the researchers were delighted to learn that the hippocampus might expand with exercise” (Span, 2011).


Span, P. (2011, February 7). Fitness: A walk to remember? Study says yes. The New York Times. Retrieved from

1b: Identify Arguments as Strict or Loose

Identify the arguments as strict or loose for the following passages:

1. I was late for class because my car ran out of gas and I could not find a gas station.

This a loose argument.

2. It’s a good idea to drink more cranberry juice. It’s a good source of vitamin C and they say it helps keep the kidneys healthy.

This is a loose argument.

3. “Researchers from the National Institutes of Health have found that less than an hour of cell phone use can speed up brain activity in the area closest to the phone antenna, raising new questions about the health effects of low levels of radiation emitted from cell phones” (Parker-Pope, 2011).

This is a strict argument.

4. She argued that despite my wealth of personal experience and knowledge, I should not attempt to help my cousin with preparing her divorce paper. “That would constitute impersonating a lawyer,” she said, “which is a crime.”

This is a strict argument.

Parker-Pope, T. (2011, February 22). Cellphone use tied to changes in brain activity. The New York Times. Retrieved from 1c: Identify Arguments as Inductive or Deductive

Identify the arguments as inductive or deductive for the following passages:

1. Because Una has circles under her eyes, is yawning, and looks tired, I’m certain she didn't get much sleep...
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