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Exam Prep essay The Violence Interrupters, credible.docx

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Department
Modes Of Reasoning
Course
MODR 1770
Professor
Linda Carozza
Semester
Fall

Description
The Interrupters of Violence, Credible Experts? (1) The Violence Interrupters are cited to have a goal in mind and that is they’re trying to save lives (The Interrupters, 2011). Violence Interrupters take the initiative in interceding before, while, or after an event of violence in order to stem violent behaviour. However, the question lies if these interrupters can be considered credible sources and experts. The documentary “The Interrupters” shows how they constantly impede upon their own purpose by engaging in uncritical arguments and reasoning. In particular, some of their offenses include arguing with the fallacy of hasty generalization, not fulfilling the criteria to be viewed as a credible expert, and becoming extremely biased in their decision-making. These are all important to take into consideration, as they are contrary to the process of a logical and rational inquiry. By critically evaluating the documentary “The Interrupters”, we can come to a reasoned judgment whether or not the people or the arguments proposed were logical, coherent, and within the spirit of inquiry. It is their so- called duty as Violence Interrupters to mediate and mentor and with such a high degree of trust and responsibility, they should be held to the utmost. This means being able to critically present sound arguments and to evaluate themselves to such a degree so as to eliminate all doubts and criticisms of their techniques and practices. Ameena is an activist and a Violence Interrupter shown within the documentary “The Interrupters”. While she is shown to be active within the streets of Chicago, she is constantly shown to be arguing either with various high-risk individuals or giving her opinions on the reasons behind violent behaviour. She continually generalizes from her own experiences and bases her arguments on anecdotal evidence. Ameena stated at one point if a child grows up to commit a crime, the fault not only laid on the child but on his influences around him. While this statement may be true, Ameena draws this conclusion not on peer-reviewed studies of human psychology or on careful consideration to the child’s background, but based only on her own experience and insight. The documentary never states her professional background or occupation other than working alongside ceasefire as a veteran and a wife of an Imam. While it is reasonable to infer experiences, Ameena draws hasty conclusions believing that her experience within a gang and drug dealings years ago is representative of the individuals she speaks to and mentors presently. She paints her experiences vividly by quickly stating a claim with strong words and emotions; she quickly draws individuals around her to jump towards a conclusion she expresses as fact. Another fallacy committed constantly throughout the film is an appeal to authority. If a person is not qualified to make reliable claims on a subject, then the argument becomes fallacious. It is necessary to provide some acceptable standards of assessment within this case. According to Bailin and Battersby (2010), one of the criteria for evaluating a source is if the claim is from an appropriate domain of knowledge (p. 106). Moral claims of violence made within the documentary cannot be appropriately settled or even supported by appeal to authority because of the lack of consensus. For example, under what conditions is violence morally justified? Ceasefire personnel argue that violence is never morally justified and speak as though it is widely accepted fact. Taking drastic measures to stem violent behaviour, Violence Interrupters take positions of authority but cannot be considered experts in a field where there is a large number of factors behind violence. The remedies and solutions to these issues are not certain and a fallacy is committed when individuals take upon themselves to claim positions of authority when they assert conclusions without rational inquiry and reasoning. Violence Interrupters have various preconceptions and biases that prevent them from effectively providing more than one perspective on an issue. Bias and self-interest are crucial factors for assessing expert judgment and the Violence Interrupters continually promote non-violence while being experts on violence. Ameena’s religious background and past history play a huge part when she voices her opinions to Caprysha and while speaking to children. Experts should be free from bias and self-interest in an issue, especially in regards to professional opinions on the subject in question. This is especially true when considering she speaks to laypeople who know very little of the background of the various theories and psychology behind violent behaviour. Ceasefire’s pursuit of non-violence is to such an extent where they belittle and miniaturize the issue of violence so as to reach and save as many individuals as possible. While it is admirable that they are able to reach local communities with strong advocacy against violence, they act in such a way where it encourages uncritical reasoning. While Violence Interrupters mediate between disputes and confrontations, they implicitly claim a position of an expert because of a background of crime and violence. To be more precise, to be a mentor and to judge is a difficult and this requires much deliberation into their practices and procedures. The amount of responsibility that the Violence Interrupters hold is immense since their roles are to enter into high-risk areas of Chicago to directly influence the communities. However, the fallacies and uncritical reasoning they present such as hasty generalization, not fulfilling the required criteria for being an expert, and the biases that they have all point towards a conclusion that they cannot be a credible source. By all means, Ceasefire is a group that builds relationships with communities but by placing their Violent Interrupters as credible experts, they become deceitful and manipulative of the general populace and the pursuit of non-violence becomes arbitrary when it is at the cost of irrational and uncritical thinking. References 1. Bailin, S., Battersby, M. (2010). Reason in the Balance: An Inquiry Approach to Critical Thinking. (1st ed.). Ontario, Canada:McGraw-Hill Ryerson 2. Kotlowitz, A. & James, S. (2011). The Interrupters. United States: Kartemquin Films --- Fallacy Summary and Application Paper Fallacy Summary and Application Paper Introduction Logical Fallacies are methods in argumentations or persuasions that may look or sound good and truthful but do not stand up to critical analysis. These are errors of reasoning that may be recognized by prudent thinkers (Downes, 1995). Fallacies are more than just mistaken belief, it is a flaw in argument that may be intentionally created by a person who has an agenda or may be due to a simple error. On the other hand, Fischer (1970; p. 306) in contrast with fallacy explains logic as follows: “Logic is not everything. But it is something which can be taught, something which can be learned, something which can help us in some degree to think more sensibly about the dangerous world in which we live.” Logical fallacies are commonly used in order to manipulate a situation or worse when an individual does not recognize the fallacies in the argument, he can be manipulated during the decision making process. As such it is necessary for every individual to use critical thinking particularly during the decision-making process for him or her to become aware of logical fallacies and how these relate to decision-making. Critical thinking as against logical fallacies is a process being used particularly in resolving a problem. It is a mental process of analyzing and evaluating information such as statements or propositions being offered as truth. This process involves reflection of the meaning of statements given, examinations of evidence and reasoning
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