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Philosophy 1200: Critical Thinking- Term 1.docx

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Department
Philosophy
Course
Philosophy 1200
Professor
Eric Desjardins
Semester
Fall

Description
9/13/2013 5:41:00 PM Sep 26 Chapter 3 - Clarifying Meaning THE PRINCIPLE OF CHARITY principle of charity: to find the fairest and most plausible interpretation of a speaker’s statement primary purpose is to discover the truth behind statement charitable vs. uncharitable eg. I had the worst possible day ever. charitable: Poor you! uncharitable: You could’ve been hit by a car. being charitable addresses the heart of the matter being uncharitable can lead to the straw man fallacy: arguing the wrong point, usually by taking a statement too literally LINGUISTIC AMBIGUITY Ambiguity and Vagueness ambiguity: having two or more different but possibly precise meanings avoid unless it serves a clear literary purpose vagueness: lacking a precise meaning, unclear what it would take for statement to be satisfied eg. Your total comes to about $50. sometimes necessary to convey a vague idea eg. Lots of people own televisions. pointless to be more precise arise from use of words within sentences, not words themselves Referential Ambiguity referential ambiguity: arises when a word or phrase can refer to two or more things eg. He is a big opera star. distributive: to say something about each and every member of the class eg. We have a large wrestling team. -> big members collective: to say something about the class itself eg. We have a large wrestling team. -> many members Grammatical Ambiguity grammatical ambiguity: structure of sentence allows for multiple interpretations eg. I told him to call me in the morning. Use and Mention use-mention ambiguity: failure to distinguish between using or mentioning a word or phrase eg. Paddy is Irish. the person named Paddy is of Irish descent -> use the name “Paddy” is an Irish name -> mention ANALYTIC, CONTRADICTORY AND SYNTHETIC STATEMENTS statements whose truth or falsity is determined by their meaning analytic: statement that is true by definition eg. Bachelors are unmarried men. Triangles have three sides. contradictory: statement that is false by definition synthetic: whose truth can only be determined by relying on observation and/or experience a non-analytic, non-contradictory statement NECESSARY AND SUFFICIENT CONDITIONS antecedent condition: a condition that must be met in order for a claim to be true consequent: the outcome of such a condition necessary condition: if x condition is false then y condition is also false, but the truth of x does not guarantee the truth of y eg. Being at least 18 years of age is a necessary condition for being eligible to vote in federal elections in Canada. if you are not 18 you cannot vote, but being 18 does not guarantee you the right to vote (electoral officers and insane persons ineligible to vote) the author asserts that its falsity or absence guarantees that the logical consequent won’t be true sufficient condition: the truth or presence of x guarantees y but the falsity or absence of x does not prevent y eg. Holding a BA from the University is a sufficient condition for being a member of the University Alumni Association. if you hold a BA you are a member of the UAA but even if you do not hold a BA does not mean you are not a member of the UAA (you could hold a BSc) author asserts that the condition is something whose truth or presence guarantees that the logical consequent will be true sometimes conditions are both necessary and sufficient casual conditions eg. It is a condition for a candidate to be declared the winner of an election that they received the most votes of this election. sufficient: any candidate receiving the most votes must be declared the winner necessary: any candidate to be declared the winner must receive the most votes - listing all necessary conditions makes them jointly sufficient conditions eg. The necessary conditions for being eligible to vote in federal elections in Canada are: being at least 18 years of age, not being an elections officer or an insane person, and being a Canadian citizen. these conditions are jointly sufficient because anyone who satisfies all three of them are eligible to vote the listing of all sufficient conditions states the necessary condition in the sense that at least one of x conditions must be met for y condition to be true SUMMARY a necessary condition guarantees that y won’t be true unless x is true a sufficient condition guarantees that y will be true if x is true 9/13/2013 5:41:00 PM Wednesday Oct 3 Chapter 4 - Reconstructing Arguments RECONSTRUCTION reconstructing the argument: process of determining the argument by defining the premises, conclusion and relationship between them must not violate author’s intent or principle of charity - four steps: identify all inference indicators identify the conclusion identify the premises write the argument in standard form P1 P2 MP3 ... C or MC IC1, IC2 (intermediary conclusions) no need to add “M” for missing intermediary conclusions the premises can be in any order but the conclusion must come last eg. We should focus the economy more on manufacturing. The reason is that our wealth is only increased to the extent that we produce concrete goods like electronics, cars, games, etc. inference indicator: “The reason is that” standard form: P1: Our wealth is only increased to the extent that we produce of concrete goods like electronics, cars, games, etc. MP2: We should do what we can to increase our wealth. MP3: The economy is not maximally focused on manufacturing as it is. MP4: Manufacturing is the sector that produces concrete goods like electronics, cars, games, etc. C: We should focus the economy more on manufacturing. MISSING PREMISES AND CONCLUSIONS presupposition: a statement logically required to make an argument’s stated claim(s) true missing premise must, if true, support conclusion missing premise should be as plausible as possible to construct a missing conclusion, follow the same steps as for constructing a missing premises try to reconstruct a reasonable thought fill in premises until argument is deductive if trying to make evidence as clear or unclear as possible helps clarify the point of the argument and simplifies the assessment of it to one question: are the premises true? premises and conclusion should be rephrased as necessary and dependencies removed in the rest of the text eg. “John is not outside, I’ve seen him inside.” inference indicators: none standard form: P1: John was seen inside the classroom. MP2: If John was seen inside, he is inside. MP3: If John is inside, he is not outside. C: John is not outside. SPECIAL CASES Reports of Arguments a statement that says so-and-so argued in a certain way eg. John refuses to vote in elections because he believes that all politicians are dishonest. states an argument but does not necessarily make one sometimes an argument is reported in order to make it Explanations an attempt to show why or how something happen(s/ed) when there is little reason to doubt the truth of the conclusion eg. My car won’t start because it is out of gas. may look like an argument eg. When politicians are perceived as corrupt, they tend to lose votes. P1: Politician is perceived as corrupt C: Politician will lose votes ... but it is also an explanation of why the politician lost votes when we argue for a claim, we try to convince an audience that it is true when explaining a fact, we try to show how it came to be true causal explanation: explain an event by reference to its causes non-causal explanation: explained in reference to function, rules, etc. eg. we explain volleyball by explaining the rules of volleyball THE STRUCTURE OF ARGUMENTS tree diagram: schematic representation of the structure of an argument using letters to represent the premises and conclusions and an arrow to represent therefore Simple Arguments an argument with just one premise supporting its conclusion eg. She must have walked home because her bike has a flat tire. Standard form: P: Her bike has a flat tire C: She must have walked home. V argument an argument made of two or more premises that support the conclusion independently eg. You should not smoke because it smells bad and it is bad for your health. Standard form: P1: Smoking smells bad. P2: Smoking is bad for your health. C: You should not smoke. T argument an argument in which two or more premises work together to support the conclusion premises provide virtually no support for the conclusion on their own eg. If you have a meeting I’ll drive. You do have a meeting, so I’ll drive. Standard form: P1: If you have a meeting, I’ll drive. P2: You do have a meeting. C: I’ll drive. How to decide between V or T if premises alone can provide support for the conclusion, it is a V argument ask: does P1 significantly support C even if we suppose that P2 is false? does P2 significantly support C even if we suppose that P1 is false? if yes and yes, then it is a V argument Mixed Cases sometimes premises act together and separately (both V and T diagrams) in an argument eg. A charismatic leader is what we need and Angela can get peoples’ attention. She is the most qualified person for the job. Standard form: P1: We need a leader who can get peoples’ attention. P2: Angela can get peoples’ attention. P3: Angela is the most qualified person for the job. MC: Angela should get the job as a leader. Complex Arguments contains more than one arrow as it contains sub-conclusions ask: C1, therefore C2? or C2, therefore C1? when sub-conclusions exist, it is used as both a conclusion and a premise watch out for when people are merely stating an opinion rather than an actual argument eg. The liquid leaking from your car is water. There are only three liquids in the engine: water, oil, and gasoline. The liquid that is leaking is not oil because it is not viscous, and it is not gasoline because it has no odor. Standard form: MP1: A liquid is leaking from your car engine. P1: There are only three liquids in the engine: water, oil, and gasoline. IC1: The liquid that is leaking is not oil. P2: The liquid that is leaking is not viscous. MP2: Oil is viscous. IC2: The liquid that is leaking is not gasoline. P3: The liquid that is leaking has no odor. MP3: Gasoline has an odor. C: The liquid that is leaking from your car engine is water. 9/13/2013 5:41:00 PM Chapter 5 - Assessing Arguments SOUND ARGUMENTS a sound argument: true premises and logical strength premises must be: acceptable relevant adequate Acceptability concerns each premise considered on its own the premises must be acceptable as premises for the argument not just a matter of being true (contrary to Hughes & Lavery) eg. If such actions were not illegal, the would not be prohibited by the law P1: If actions x were not illegal, they would not be prohibited by the law MP1: Actions x are prohibited MC: Actions x are illegal the fallacy of begging the question: a premise of an argument begs the question when it is no more acceptable to the intended audience of the argument than the conclusion of the argument (differs from H&L p. 116- definition too broad) MP1 begs the question in that it would not be acceptable to anyone that needs convincing of the conclusion (it is a rewording of conclusion) a premise P can be true but not acceptable as part of a given argument Relevance concerns the relationship between each individual premise, considered on its own, and the rest of the argument premises are relevant when they provide some support for the conclusion Adequacy concerns the relationship between all premises considered collectively and the conclusion premises are adequate when they provide sufficient support for the conclusion to warrant it adequacy implies relevance, so adequacy is what really matters ASSESSING ARGUMENTS Identify the main conclusion what is the author driving at? inference indicators Identify the premises what reasons do the author provide as support for the conclusion? Identify the structure of the argument simple structure? Check the acceptability of the premises if counterfactual argument, the premises will not be true Check the relevance of the premises must be considered in context of argument Check the adequacy of the premises notice the degree of support Look for counter-arguments The Role of Fallacies H&L speak of two approaches to assessing arguments: the criterial approach and the fallacies approach fallacies don’t really provide a method of assessment, they are just common errors made in an argument: flaws that typically make premises unacceptable or inadequate still useful to be aware of common fallacies in order to detect and avoid them fallacy of affirming the consequent: results in premises that don’t adequately support the conclusion the premises can be true while the conclusion is false lacks logical strength General form: If p, then q. q Therefore p. 9/13/2013 5:41:00 PM Ch 6 - Assessing Acceptability assesses the individual premises on their own how we go about assessing a claim depends on what kind of claim it is EMPIRICAL VS. NON-EMPIRICAL Empirical Claims empirical: a claim that can be verified or falsified through observation or experiment eg. My car won’t start. no general rule to assess premises how well defended a premise must be to be acceptable depends on context sometimes we want proof: a defense that shows that the premise is true with certainty eg. publication of scientific results, conviction for murder sometimes proof is an unreasonable standard “It is common knowledge that…” - careful! check whether satisfactory empirical evidence has been provided written ≠ true universal claims are hard to prove one counterexample is enough to refute the claim vague statistical claims are hard to assess eg. Most students wear purple. -> how many is most? Non-Empirical Claims non-empirical: cannot be verified or falsified by empirical evidence analytic and contradictory statements are non-empirical eg. The government should provide free health care. moral claims (the way the world is does not dictate the way things ought to be) eg. No one should ever lie. You ought to donate to Oxfam. aesthetic claims (what’s good in a non-moral sense) eg. Heavy metal is better than rap. Domino’s is better than Pizza Pizza. mathematically provable, analytic, and contradictory claims eg. Bachelors are unmarried. moral and aesthetic claims can be defended by using one of two methods: by appealing to general moral or aesthetic principles by spelling out facts about which a moral or aesthetic judgment is required in more detail universalization maxim: if an action is such that everyone doing it is impossible or obviously undesirable, then it is a bad action (Kant) eg. There are no barriers preventing free riders at suburban train stations in Sydney. Is it wrong to free-ride? obviously undesirable if everyone does it utilitarian maxim: one should maximize the greatest good for the greatest number when you choose between different courses of action, choose the one that maximizes the total happiness in the world eg. You ought to donate to Oxfam in order to alleviate poverty in the world. STRENGTH four kinds particular statement: a statement about specific people or objects eg. Alice the butterfly entered my house yesterday. existential statement: a generic statement to the effect that something meets a certain condition key words: some, someone, somebody, there is, at least... eg. Some butterfly entered my house yesterday. There is at least one student with a red sweater in this class. universal statement: a statement to the effect that all members of a class satisfy a condition key words: all, every eg. Every butterfly entered my house yesterday. All Western students wear purple. statistical statement: a statement to the effect that a certain proportion of members of a class satisfy a condition eg. 50% of all butterflies entered my house yesterday. Most Western students wear purple. every simple statement will be either empirical or non-empirical, and will have either particular, existential, universal, or statistical strength eg. All swans are beautiful. (universal non empirical) eg. Bob ought to apologize. (particular non-empirical) eg. No one called the office. (universal empirical) eg. A car is parked wrongly. (existential empirical— if “wrongly” means against the law) eg. Pizza with BBQ sauce is usually too sweet. (statistical non-empirical) eg. There is a good solution to the problem. (existential non-empirical, depending on definition of “good”) eg. Most students live near campus. (statistical empirical) complex cases exist that fall in more than one category at once eg. It is wrong that there is one subject that Alice fails most of the time. (part empirical, part non-empirical, at once particular, existential, universal, and statistical) FALLACIES begging the question: premises are circular to the conclusion, anyone who does not already believe in the conclusion would not be compelled to believe it by its premises inconsistency: not all premises can be true such arguments can be used to prove anything equivocation: when a premise is open to two interpretations and the interpretation that is unacceptable is required by the conclusion eg. Drug dependency is a serious problem in our society. Just look how many people can’t function without coffee. the implicit that coffee is a drug is only true in a weak “drug” that does not support the conclusion one of the most common fallacies false dichotomy: a premise that presents options as exhaustive, exclusive, or both when they are not exhaustive options: cover all the possibilities eg. Alice is either pregnant or she is not. non-exhaustive: more than two possibilities eg. Bob is either young or he is old. exclusive options: cover possibilities that cannot be combined eg. It’s either the AM or PM. non-exclusive options: possibilities can be combined eg. being a faculty member or a student one of the most common fallacies 9/13/2013 5:41:00 PM Ch 7 - Assessing Relevance assesses the relationship between each individual premise on its own and the rest of the argument relevance: premises prove some support for its conclusion general test: do premises make the conclusion more likely to be true? use judgment, non-empirical FALLACIES OF RELEVANCE ad hominem (“to the man”): making a negative claim about a person in order to disprove a statement, when such claim is irrelevant to the statement commonly occurs as a counterargument to check: if someone else had made this claim, would the counterargument be an appropriate one? abusive: attempt to discredit a claim by making an attack on irrelevant aspects of the person making the claim eg. “Yeah, but you’re a greedy jerk.” circumstantial: attempt to discredit a claim by pointing out irrelevant features of the person’s circumstances (typically, features that make it more likely that the person will want the claim accepted) eg. “Yeah, but you work for the chocolate company.” tu quoque (“you also”): when A rejects B’s claim on the grounds that the claim is inconsistent with B’s actions or what they said eg. “Yeah, but you ate candy earlier.” guilt by association: involves a faulty analogy which is so transparently faulty that the purpose of drawing this analogy is defeated in a formal argument eg. “Yeah, but the Nazis thought chocolate was better too.” appeal to pity: attempt to persuade by seeking pity eg. “You should give me a good mark, I worked so hard on it.” appeal to force: attempt to persuade by threat eg. “You should give me a good mark or I’ll kill you.” appeal to authority: attempt to persuade by saying it is the opinion of an authority figure when the person is not an authority on the subject eg. “You should give me a good mark because Obama would.” appropriate to appeal to authority when they are entitled to their status eg. “I believe there are electrons because physicists say so.” appeal to popularity: attempt to persuade by saying it is the popular opinion usually relevant but not adequate to establish the conclusion eg. “You should give me a good mark, everyone else thinks so too.” straw man fallacy: when someone makes the position they are arguing against seem worse than it is in order to refute it often arises from lack of charity eg. “What I object to the most about people who oppose capital punishment is that they believe that the lives of convicted murderers are more important than the lives of the policemen and prison guards who protect us.” 9/13/2013 5:41:00 PM Ch 8 - Assessing Adequacy assesses the relationship between all premises considered collectively and the conclusion the premises of an argument are adequate when they provide sufficient support for the conclusion to warrant it we ought to accept the conclusion if we believe the premises it is possible to have a false conclusion with adequate premises mostly about logical strength— maximum logical strength = premises will always be adequate premises can be made adequate to establish its conclusion by weakening the conclusion eg. Original: P1: There are dark clouds in the sky. C: It’s going to rain. Revised: P1: There are dark clouds in the sky. C: There is a chance it will rain. Use general principles of deduction and induction. Use your judgment regarding degree of support the premises have for the conclusion. Watch out for common fallacies. FALLACIES O
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