Notes Philo 1100 Standard Rules and Ch.1.docx

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PHIL 1100
Arthur Sullivan

Philosophy 1100: Critical Thinking Summarized Class Notes Dan Kalbhenn PHIL 1100 Arthur Sullivan Standardizing Rules 1. Read the passage carefully several times, making sure that you understand it. 2. Confirm that the passage you are dealing with actually contains an argument. It contains an argument if, and only if, the author is trying to support a position with claims offered in its defense. 3. Identify the main conclusion, the premises used to support that conclusion, and any sub-arguments put forward to support those premises. Indicator words should help. Context may also be helpful. In a context in which one person argues against another, his conclusion will be the denial of the other person’s position. His premises will state his reasons for denying that position. 4. Omit any material that serves purely as side comments, background information, or the setting of the context for the argument. 5. Omit material that you have already included. This instruction applies when the same premise or conclusion is stated several times in slightly different words, except in one circumstance. 1. If the repetition is present because there is the same content in both a premise and a conclusion of the same argument or sub-argument, then do put the statement twice. In other circumstances, do not repeat the statement. 6. Omit such personal phrases as “it disgusts me to see that,” “I am concerned that,” “I have long thought,” “in my humble opinion,” and so on. These are not part of the content of the argument but are indicators of how the author feels about what he or she is saying. 7. Number each premise and conclusion, and write the argument in the standard form with the premises above the conclusion. 8. Check that each premise and conclusion is a self-contained complete statement. Premises and conclusions should not include pronouns such as they, my, it, that, and this. Instead, the appropriate nouns should be used. Premises and conclusions should be in the form of statements—not questions, commands, or exclamations. 9. Check that no premise or conclusion itself expresses an argument. For instance, if one premise says, “The party will do poorly in the election because the leader has made serious mistakes,” you need to break down this premise further into (1) the leader of the party has made serious mistakes and (2) the party will do poorly in the election. In your standardization, (1) and (2) will be distinct statements, and (1) should be shown as supporting (2) in a sub-argument. That sub-argument would not be clearly indicated if yo
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