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Lecture 6

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Modes Of Reasoning
MODR 1760
Hilary Davis

Lecture 6 – Clarifying Meaning 27/10/2011 18:33:00 ← Clarity • Argumentation requires the clear expression of claims and arguments o Ex. Woman without her man is nothing. o Using punctuation differently throughout the sentence will change the statement drastically  Woman, without her, man is nothing; or woman, without her man, is nothing. ← Context • Context matters when determining the meaning of concept o Words don’t have one meaning  “Meet me by the bank” – bank means financial institution or the bank of the river ← Connotation • The subjective and emotional association we make with a concept • Can be positive or negative; universal or individual • Strong connotations can be neutralized by separating the literal meaning from its emotive force o Ex. “The terrorists in Afghanistan want to take the country to the Dark Ages.”  Analyzed: “terrorists” and “Dark Ages” are negative  Rewritten: Those resisting the occupation of Afghanistan by Allied forces want to bring about a more conservative society based on fundamentalist Islamic religious principles  Meaning of Negative: These are bad people and their agenda is bad for the Afghani people ← Fallacy of Prejudicial Language • Uses loaded or emotional terms to influence the audience based solely on emotion rather than a valid reason • It can be positive or negative • Also called question begging epithet ← Vagueness • When the meaning of a concept or claim or its application is unclear or inexact in the context • The listener cannot determine with certainty how or when the concept would be applied or whether the claim is true or false o Avoiding vagueness:  Be clear about what you are trying to express  Use precise terms to express what you mean  Use concrete rather than general terms  When using general terms, provide examples  Use precise quantifiers, rather than indefinite ones like “some” or “many”, “old” or “young” ← Missing Quantifier/Qualifier • An no quantified or unqualified claim is assumed to apply to all members of the group that the claim is about when, at best, it is true of only some members or subgroups within the whole • Often involves crude stereotyping • Universalizes when it should note the differences within a group o Hasty generalization and over generalization ← Ambiguity • When a term, phrase or sentence has two or more distinct
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