Argumentation

Topics: Argumentative, Logic, Ethics Pages: 11 (795 words) Published: September 28, 2013
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Interlude: Reflection on Values
Take fifteen minutes to respond to the following prompt.
This assignment will not be graded.
Think about the things that are important to you.
Perhaps you care about creativity, family
relationships, your career, or having a sense of
humour.
Pick two or three of your values and write a few
sentences about why they are important to you.

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Argumentation

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What Arguments Are Not
  Here’s

a news lede from 2012:

SAN ANTONIO -- An argument between a father
and son that may have started over barbecue and
quickly escalated to a fatal shooting is devastating
friends and family just days before Father's Day.
  That’s

not what we’ll be talking about today.

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What Arguments Are
  An

argument is just a set of statements.
  Some of these sentences are premises.
  One of them is the conclusion.

  Example:
1. 
2. 
3. 

All humans are mortal.
Socrates is a human.
So, Socrates is mortal.

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Evaluating Arguments
  Is
1. 
2. 
3. 

this argument good or bad?
All women are bad drivers.
Sarah is a woman.
So, Sarah is a bad driver.

  What
1. 
2. 
3. 

Good form, but
false content.

about this argument?

Pigs have wings.
It is Monday.
So, ice cream tastes good.

  Answer: They’re

False content
and bad form!

both bad, but in different ways.

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Evaluating Arguments
  In

a good argument, at the very least, the premises
support the conclusion.

  Example:
1. 

Hugh’s bloody fingerprints are on that gun.

2. 

That gun was used to kill Sam.
So, Hugh killed Sam.

3. 

 

These premises support the conclusion, but they
don’t guarantee that it is true…

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Evaluating Arguments
  In

the best arguments, the premises make the
conclusion absolutely certain.

  Example:
1. 

2 is the smallest prime number.

2. 

2 is an even number.
So, the smallest prime is even.

3. 

  Another

Example?

1. 

I am thinking.

2. 

Therefore, I exist.

If premises are true,
conclusion must be true.

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Evaluating Arguments
  But

notice that sometimes, an argument can have a
good form without having true content.

  Example:
1. 
2. 
3. 

This table is the smallest prime number.
This table is an even number.
So, the smallest prime is even.

  Another
1. 
2. 
3. 

example:

All rocks are mortal.
Socrates is a rock.
So, Socrates is mortal.

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Evaluating Arguments
  Moreover, some

arguments have good content but
their form is bad…

  Example:
1. 

All humans are mortal.

2. 

Socrates is a philosopher.
So, Socrates is mortal.

3. 

True premise,
True premise,
True conclusion…
Still a bad argument!

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Strength, Validity, Soundness

  This

suggests that when evaluating arguments, we
must check their form and their content.

  An
  If

  An
  If

  An

argument that supports its conclusion is strong:
the premises are true, the conclusion is likely true.

argument with perfect form is valid:
the premises are true, the conclusion must be true.

argument with good form and content is sound:

  The

argument is valid, and its premises are all true.

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Examples
Animal testing is immoral, for it causes more
suffering than happiness. And whenever an action
causes more suffering than happiness, that action
is immoral.
  Is

this argument strong? Is it valid?

  Is

it sound? (Sound = valid + true premises)

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Examples
The only reason it is wrong to kill a person is that
they have a right to life. To have a right to
something means that, if you want that thing, you
should not be deprived of it. So, if someone does
not want to live, it is not wrong to kill them.
  Is

this line of reasoning strong? Is it valid?

  What

about sound?

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Value: An Introduction

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Value Theory
  Value Theory

is the part of ethics that examines the...
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