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Modes Of Reasoning
MODR 1770
Linda Carozza

Argument: contradiction, disagreement One person is frustrated, while the other is calm. Meta argument: arguing about having an argument The term argument has several meanings:  Contradiction between views  Disagreement among arguers  A quarrel between arguers  An attempt to prove a viewpoint Can you think of any other meanings for the word argument? We argue about many things:  Metaphysical questions  Moral issues Is it okay to have sex before marriage?  Political issues Should Ford be re-elected?  Social issues Do parents play a big part in bully’s lives? Is smoking in public places okay?  Economical issues  Personal issues What should I major in, in University? Should I work part time while in school or not?  Professional issues Make a list of specific issues for arguments. Bias can interfere with arguments: Overconfidence effect:  When we think too highly of our understanding of a situation Confirmation Bias:  When we favor arguments that uphold our beliefs (only believing what you want to believe) Halo Effect:  When we assume that someone with positive attribute(s) is intelligent, pleasant, moral, etc. (we believe whatever they say because we trust them) An argument is defined as “a set of reasons offered in support of a claim.”  The reasons can be oral, written, or visual, etc  The claim is an arguments conclusion  The reasons are also know as an arguments premises BATTERSBY (READING) Claim Reasons Conclusion Premise Reasonal opinion Support Standpoint/stance Evidence Thesis Proof Viewpoint Backing Don’t cheat on your essay; it’s unfair to all the other students Conclusion: You shouldn’t cheat on your essay Premise: it’s unfair to other students if you cheat Assessing real life examples Step 1 identify the components of an argument.  These include the arguments conclusion and premise(s) Arguers and system of arguers  Where there is an argument, there is an arguer behind it.  An arguer can be a single individual or a group of people who hold a viewpoint.  This is the first of several “people” who can be involved in the make-up of an argument  The premises used by an arguer may be rooted in the arguer’s systems of belief which may be influenced by our sex, race, nationality, religion, education, career, personal experiences, etc.  Systems of belief can remain rooted and unchanging or they can be rejected. An audience is comprised of a person, or group of people, who are being convinced of a conclusion. Different Kinds of audiences Specific audience: considering the actual audience members of an argument, their belief systems (eg., profession, family status, etc) Universal Audience: an abstract concept that assumes a broader audience reasonable people worth different systems of belief Different kinds of audiences Sympathetic: those who are inclined to side with a given argument Open: those who are open to considering an argument they may not have agreed with, or thought a bout, in the past. Hostile: those audience members who do not agree with an argument and are the hardest to convince of a conclusion Opponents and Proponents There is always an opponent to an argument one makes. Its important to consider opposing views when developing an argument. There is always a dialectical exchange. An opponent may respond by criticizing one’s argument, by requesting some kind of clarification, or by expounding an opposing argument. A dialectical exchange is a process between proponents and opponents who engage in a dialogue of arguments, criticisms, doubts, questions, and so on. Summary of terms  Halo effect  Overconfidence effect  Confirmation bias  Argument  Conclusion  Premise  Arguer, audience, opponent and proponent  System of belief  Dialectical exchange  Specific audience, universal audience  Sympathetic audience  Open audience  Hostile audience Lecture 2 Bias and Conflict Chapter 2, “Conflict is for the Birds” Reasonable skepticism: Halfway between asking a lot of questions vs. believing everything. Battersby question on a test: she will not ask the same specific situation. Will just require the same process of critical thinking. Ex: Essay Re-appraisal. Get another professor to mark your essay because you received a poor grade from your prof and are not happy with it. Competent Layperson: A person who is good at dealing with experts and expertise outside their own field. Bias To be biased is to have an, “inclination or prejudice for or against” something. Recall “systems of belief”  How do your systems of belief connect to your own biases? Bias can turn into Illegitimate Bias  An illegitimate bias can negatively influence how we support our claims and out ability to listen to others’ views.  Features of Illegitimate Bias:  Inability to recognize one’s own biases  Inability to articulate others’ arguments  Typically occurs when dealing with matters of high importance to an individual Can you think of an illegitimate bias hold? Signs of Illegitimate Bias Include:  Vested interest  Conflict of interest  Slanting by omission  Slanting by distortion Interests Vested Interests  An arguer who makes or believes an argument because he/she has something to gain—and not because the argument has strong rationale— may have a vested interest.  A vested interest can lead to a conflict of interest  Armani & Guggenhiem Conflict of Interest  Someone who has a conflict of interest when he/she has the ability to make a decision or an argument that unfairly provides him/her with advantages.  Someone who has a conflict of interest should declare it, as his/her ability to act impartially may be compromised. (good example would be in the office at work) Slanting Slanting by Omission  When an arguer fails to give important information of his/her argument because it weakens the view, or at least casts doubt about it, slanting by omission may be occurring.  Results in a more concise version of an argument.  Emphasizes specifically chosen elements of an argument. Slanting by Distortion  An arguer may be slanting by distortion when aspects of an argument are concentrated on, or even exaggerated, in order to highlight a particular impression the arguer wants to convey.  Allows an arguer to emphasize reasons that support his/her argument and downplay reasoning that does not work as well. Conflict  Occurs when individuals’ interests are in disagreement with each other  Interests = wants, needs, hopes, concerns, etc. “Conflict is for the Birds”  Woodpecker  Owl  Parakeet  Ostrich  Hummingbird Woodpecker (not afraid to get angry. Have serious drive to prove their point. STUBBORN. Don’t care about others opinions at all)  Noisy  Tenacious  Single-minded  Utilitarian Owl (calmer in the middle of arguments. Try to present an unbiased opinion. Good at long term, thoughtful decisions)  Aware  Perceptive  Slow Moving  Communicative Parakeet (cater to others who are having the argument. Not very controversial. Don’t really get their real point out. PROS: they are really good at knowing other people’s views.)  Friendly  Talkative  Relationship-oriented***  Agreeable Ostrich (agree to disagree. If they are unable to escape, they will have an aggressive reaction, verbal and physical)  Avoiding  Fast Moving  Powerful Kicker  Heat Resistant Hummingbird (meet people halfway. Don’t need to win. Seek agreements between conflicting parties. Brain-stormer.)  Quick  Hovering  Flexible  Energetic Some roadblocks to communicating your way through argumentative situations  Woodpecker: tends to make orders; can bully or threaten.  Owl: excessive questioning, theorizing  Parakeet: try being honest about how you feel/think  Hummingbird: restate/reframe others’ thoughts/feelings  Ostrich: open to others’ ideas; don’t fear disagreement Some tips for effective communication of arguments  Woodpecker: Don’t interrupt, practice empathy  Owl: show understanding non-verbally (less talk!)  Parakeet: try being honest about how you feel/think  Hummingbird: restate/reframe others’ thoughts/feelings  Ostrich: be open to others’ ideas; don’t fear disagreement Detecting Illegitimate Biases o Looking for balance  When determining when arguments have illegitimate bias. The following method can be used: 1. Note any vested interests, or conflict of interest. 2. Look for slanting, whether by omission or distortion. 3. Survey opposing views. 4. Admit problems with difficult cases. Constructing Arguments Without Your Illegitimate Biases  Be explicit, or transparent, about your commitments or beliefs that influence your claim  Be careful about expressing arguments too emotionally  Be careful not to overstate, or exaggerate, parts of your argument Summary of Terms o Bias o Illegitimate Bias  Vested Interest  Conflict of Interest  Slanting by Omission  Slanting by Distortion o Woodpeckers, owls, parakeets, ostriches, hummingbirds Lecture 3: Chapters 4/5 Father-Son Argument Dad is a woodpecker. Bias: Conflict of interest? – yes, because the dad will have a comfortable mind but son loses time hanging out with his friend. Vested interest? Slanting? Chapters 4 & 5: Dressing and Diagramming Arguments Important Terms and Methods Simple and extended arguments Sub argument and sub conclusion Statement, Argument, or Opinion? 1. The fundraiser is next Saturday. Statement 2. You should go to the fundraiser. Opinion 3. You should go to the fundraiser because you will be supporting a good cause. Reasoned Opinion (same as argument) 4. The triathlon is next week. Statement 5. One of the best ways to get in shape is to prepare for a triathlon. Opinion 6. You need to get in shape. You should prepare for the triathlon. Argument Simple Argument: single conclusion supported by one or more premises. Extended Argument: at least one premise that is supported by another premise, making it a premise of the main argument, and a conclusion of a sub-argument. Sub-arguments: support the premises that support the argument’s main conclusion.  Sub-conclusion has a dual role – a premise for the main conclusion, and a conclusion for a premise(s) “We should be grateful when people choose to care for ailing relatives. This alleviates the burden on hospitals.” (no pronouns in argument diagrams) P(premise): Caring for relatives eases the burden on hositals. MC(conclusion): It’s a good thing when people take care of their ailing relatives. Extended Argument Diagram “We should be grateful when people choose to care for ailing relatives. This alleviates the burden on hospitals, allowing for less expenses on resources (e.g. space, personnel, etc.). It can also provide less for waiting times and over-crowding.” P1 (Premise 1): Caring for relative's means hospital would save on overall expenses. P2: Caring for relative’s means there would be less waiting times, or overcrowding. C (Sub-conclusion): Caring for relative’s eases the burden on hospitals. MC (Conclusion): It’s a good thing when people take care of their ailing relatives. Inference Indicators Some premise indicators include the following:  Since  Because  As  For  It follows from  Given that  The reasons are Some conclusion indicators include the following:  Consequently  Hence  So  Thus  Therefor  It follows that  We conclude that Arguments Without Indicator Words Not all arguments contain inference indicators. When arguments do not contain these logical indicators we must ascertain for ourselves whether there is  an issue in dispute;  a claim supported by a reason(s) Can you do a MAC? “Mental argument check”  add an indicator word to check whether an argument seems to be present. Arguments and Explanations If “X, therefore Y” is an argument, then it is Y (the conclusion) that is in dispute. If “X, therefore Y” is an explanation, then the issue in dispute is whether X caused Y. You can ask yourself whether X is an attempt to explain the cause of Y or argue for it.  Their car is in the driveway, so they haven’t left for the party yet.  Their car is in the driveway until the garage is cleaned out. Borderline Cases Is an argument actually present?  Look for conclusion and premise(s)  Admit ambiguity of the arguer  Admit that you are not sure of the authors intent, which means your interpretation may be in question Major Excuse For the following, decide whether an argument, explanation, or both are present. Be able to explain your answer. Question: “If you could live forever, would you and why? Answer: I would not live forever, because we should not live forever because if we were supposed to live forever then we would live forever but we cannot live forever which is why I would not live forever.” P1: We are not meant to live forever C1: We shouldn’t live forever MC: I would not want to live forever Argument Diagrams: Simple Arguments When we construct an argument diagram, the following legend should be followed: Premises are designated with P1, P1… A conclusion is marked as C In extended arguments the main conclusion is MC, and the sub-conclusions as C1, C2… The argument parts are connected with arrows from premises to their conclusions An example of a simple argument diagram: P1= All students should study the rudiments of logic MC = Courses on critical thinking should be mandatory Exercise 5A, 4 Diagram the following argument: “Al Jazeera is a breath of fresh air…There are half the number of commercials, no pro-war or anti-war bias, and a fearlessness no longer seen at the other networks. And it does it all in style.” Solution P1: There is half the number of commercials on Al Jazeera television P2: There’s no pro-war or anti-war bias P3: There’s a fearlessness no longer seen at the other networks P4L Al Jazeera television does it all in style MC: Al Jazeera television is a breath of fresh air P1 P2 P3 P4  MC Diagramming Extended Arguments An example of an extended argument diagram: P1 = Thinking clearly and logically is an important skill C1 = All students should study the rudiments of logic MC = Courses on critical thinking should be mandatory P1 -> C1 -> MC Benefits of Diagramming Arguments  Diagramming delineates clear paths of reasoning from premises to conclusions, eliminating noise.  Diagramming can help determine whether premises work independently of each other or need the support of other premises.  When developing your own arguments, a diagram sketch can aid in formulating a strong written or spoken argument. GROUP ASSIGNMENT Chapter 2: p. 49 i) Yes, the following is an argument P1: Convincing quotes are easy to obtain and are meaningless P2: Customer quotes may come from a brief peak of satisfaction C: The ads don’t state the results over time MC: Fad diet ads offer convincing quotes from highly satisfied customers It is an illegitimate bias through slanting by omission. The arguer does not specifically state how the quotes are formed/produced. By leaving out unfavorable results, it makes it seem as though every fad diet has only favorable results every time. P1 P2 C MC “NOISE” Noise is not integral to an arguments diagram. Noise can include the following:  Descriptions  Background information and context repetitive information  None of which are necessary in the method of diagramming the premises and conclusions in arguments. Linked and Convergent Premises Linked premises function together to support a conclusion.  This implies that one, or more of the unit of linked premises cannot function by itself to prove its conclusion. They must be connected with a “+” sign connecting linked premises in an argument diagram. P1: All humans are mortal P2: Socrates is human MC: Socrates is mortal P1 + P2 -> MC A CONVERGENT PREMISE provides proof for its conclusion independently, not requiring the aid of another premise Determining whether premises are linked or convergent b
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