PHL 111 Critical Task 3

Topics: Logic, Bachelor's degree, Critical thinking Pages: 5 (1105 words) Published: June 28, 2015
Southern new hampshire university
Critical Task #3
Syllogisms

Dale McDougall

Submitted to: Professor A. Blaney
Class: PHL - 111
Background
For this next critical task, students were asked to satisfy the following conditions: Identify an issue or goal of importance in one’s life.
Write an argument involving a hypothetical syllogism (an “if…then” argument) that relates to the issue or goal that was selected. Reconstruct a full argument, showing how the premises/assumptions lead to the conclusion or goal that one is intending to prove. Offer a reflection with regard to the strength of the overall argument; in other words, evaluate the hypothetical syllogism for both its validity and its soundness. Do you think there are any missing assumptions, missing pieces of evidence, or weak premises, and does the conclusion follow from the premises? Briefly outline the strength or weakness of the syllogism.

Identifying an Issue or a Goal
One of the most important goals in my life is to get a better education. There are a number of reasons why I am pursuing my degree in English Language and Literature at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). One of them is to become a better journalist and broadcaster. Achieving this goal would not only mean that I will become a better media professional, it also means that I would be the first of my mother’s children to finish college and most importantly, I would be able to have a positive impact on my community and country.

Hypothetical Syllogism
Setting goals is all part of mapping what the future will be like for any person. Many people have a list of things they would like to achieve by a certain age but circumstances and other vicissitudes of life at times throw plans off course. For example, one of my life’s goals was to have a graduate degree by the time I turned 30. I reached this age about 4 months ago, and I am still a considerable ways off of meeting that goal. When I was penning the syllogism based on my goals I explained previously, I was having some trouble putting it together in order to make it as honest as possible. Below is my example and I felt it was important to make it as realistic and sincere as necessary:- “If I finish my undergraduate degree in English Literature by the time I turn 32, then I will be able to afford to pay for my graduate degree. A Bachelor’s degree doesn’t mean more personal income. Therefore, by the time I turn 32, I will not have a Master’s degree.” Reconstructing the Argument

Reconstructing this argument provided me with an opportunity to reevaluate my own life narrative and to put my own situation into perspective. It provided me with insights into what premises are false or misleading, what the conclusion(s) would be if make the premises true and how logical and sound it is: Premises

a. I finish my undergraduate degree in 2 years.
b. In 2 years, I turn 32.
c. When I turn 32, I will be in a better financial situation. d. A better financial situation does not mean I will be finished with this degree. Conclusions
a. I can be more financially stable when I have a degree.
b. I will be able to complete a Master’s degree.

Reflection: Sound and Valid?
The book Think explains that “an argument is sound if (1) it is valid and (2) the premises are true (p. 240).” This is what logic is hinged on. If an argument is not sound or valid, it is not logical. That’s why, the book reminds us, that as a critical thinker, a person should be “interested in the soundness of arguments and in having their premises supported by credible evidence and good reasoning.” Is my argument sound and valid? At first, I thought it was but I can point out some flaws in when it is carefully considered. For example, there are no guarantees that I will be alive to see my 32nd birthday. That’s just how the world works. Death is an unavoidable and inevitable prospect. Another flaw I readily point out is the fact that I may not finish this...
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