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ENGL 199W (4)
Chapter

Week 1a - Ch 51 (424-432)

3 Pages
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Department
English
Course Code
ENGL 199W
Professor
Stephen Collis

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Week 1a Readings – Chapter 51 (424-432) – Making a Good Argument 1 An argument must be based on clear thinking. The failure to distinguish among facts, opinions, and logical statements is one cause of fuzzy thinking. Fact – something that is known to exist or to have happened; based on actual experience or observation Opinion – belief based on something less than absolute certainty or experience; still open to dispute Logical statement – a conclusion based on reasoning; depends on inferences drawn from facts or assumptions, but the conclusions themselves aren’t necessarily facts Two Basic Types of Reasoning Processes: Induction – examine particular facts or individual cases and draw a general conclusion from them  Example: If I eat strawberries and then break out in a rash, I might well suspect that the strawberries caused my rash. If this happens many times then my suspicions will be stronger and I will conclude, by induction, that I am allergic to strawberries.  Leads to absolute proof if every instance examined supports the conclusion. Deduction – reasoning from the general principle to the specific case; general principles or premises, and not individual instances, lead to conclusions Syllogism – the basic formula for deduction; consists of three statements: two premises that have at least one term in common and a logical conclusion drawn from these premises Example: 1. All languages have consonants. Premises 2. Inuktitut is a language. 3. Therefore, Inuktitut has consonants. Conclusion Truth and validity: When we speak of facts, we refer to truth. When we speak of deductive reasoning, we also talk about validity. The conclusion of a syllogism may be true but not valid if the premises and conclusions are all facts but the reasoning process isn’t correct. INVALID BUT TRUE 1. All rodents are mammals. 2. A squirrel is a mammal. 3. Therefore, a squirrel is a rodent. INVALID AND UNTRUE 1. All rodents are mammals. 2. A giraffe is a mammal. 3. Therefore, a giraffe is a rodent. VALID AND UNTRUE 1. All mammals are rodents. 2. A giraffe is a mammal. 3. Therefore, a giraffe is a rodent. Week 1a Readings – Chapter 51 (424-432) – Making a Good Argument 2 6 Rules to Make Arguments as Convincing as Possible: 1. Define the argument clearly. 2. Define all terms used in the argument. 3. Limit the argument to the question at hand. 4. Present adequate evidence to support the argument 5. Reason clearly and logically. 6. Anticipate contrary arguments and evidence. 51a – Defining an Argument 1. Make sure you have an argument. A real argument requires a statement about which there can be disagreement. It must also be one for which evidence for and against can be offered. 2. Stating the Argument – State it clearly and fairly. Avoid the fallacy of the false dilemma, which implies that there are only two alternatives when there are several alternatives. The false dilemma usually takes the form of an “if…then” statement or an “either…or” statement. 51b – Defining All
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