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Lecture 7

MODR 1760 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Nuclear Weapon, Zoology, Fax


Department
Modes Of Reasoning
Course Code
MODR 1760
Professor
Hilary Davis
Lecture
7

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Lecture 7 – Introduction to Conceptual Analysis
03/11/2011 19:44:00
Concept
A word, idea or general notion such as ‘love’ or ‘freedom’ which has
both depth and vagueness to them
Questions of concept require that you become self-conscious about
words which you usually use unthinkingly
Concepts change meaning in different contexts. It depends who is
asking the question
oWhen we use words that can mean so many different things.
Example: Is a whale a fish?
Questions to ask: What is a fish? What is a
whale?
Answers depend on person you are asking
oAsking a zoologist: it is not a fish, it is
mammal
oAsk a fisherman: yes a whale is a fish
Example: do women naturally belong in the home?
What is natural? What is meant by home?
Questions of fact cane be solved through research
Questions of value can be answered by appealing to our ethical
norms (what is right, best, or the good)
Questions of concept have no right answer. There are multiple
right answers because we all can answer the question differently
oQuestions of fact, value, and concept can be integrated within
one question
Example: Are women inferior to men? (value, concept)
Example: Are woman today freer than in the 17th
century? (concept, fact)
oWhen answering questions of concept we are not interested in
definitions, but actual an possible uses of a word
DO NOT USE A DICTIONARY OR RESEARCH FOR THIS
ASSIGNMENT

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oAlways reserve judgement on the questions when doing your
conceptual analysis
Explore the concept from all angles – even one which
you might personally disagree with
oWhen writing up an essay, reasons, not answers, will be
important
there is no right or wrong answer to any conceptual
questions only strong or weak arguments
EXAMPLE:
DOES TECHNOLOGY ENSURE PROGRESS?
1. Model Case
A. Concrete example of ‘technology that ensures progress’
Telephone, computers, printing press, fax machines (Choose only one for
homework and Part B)
B. Explain why choice in Part A is a good example that ensures progress
Telephones make communication easier and bring people closer together.
C. Create a two-column chart stating 5 or 6 general characteristics for
each

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Technology Progress
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