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PHIL 2100 (5)
Chapter 3-4


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PHIL 2100
Scott Brandon

CRITICAL THINKING CHAPTER 3 Denotation- what the word directly refers to Ex: rose denotes a certain type of flower Connotation- some characteristics of what is directly referred to, association that accompanies a word Ex: the word fire may suggest, or connote the warmth of a living room fire place Association- ideas or concepts that would bring to mind Emotionally charged language/loaded language- a mood or attitude can be set without providing arguments reasons, or any consideration of alternative possibilities. EX: the difference between calling a change a “diversion of funds”(emotionally negative charged language) or a “reform” (emotionally positive charged language) Hyperbole: where an exaggerated sense of word is used to argue for a point without necessarily evidence. Our side bias: (double standard) selective use of words or values so to show ones own position more favorable. EX: We have aggressive players, but their players play dirty We are out to win, but they are desperate for a victory. We have a clever new strategy, but they are underhanded Euphemism: bland, polite deliberately disguises a word so to look less harsh, an effort to desensitize lesson diminishing effect of used word. PROBLEMS WITH LANGUAGE: AMBIGUITY TWO KINDS Ambiguity- language is used ambiguously if, in the context in which a word or phrase appears, it could have any one of several distinct meanings. 1) Semantic ambiguity - arises from multiple meanings connected to the word used. (also pun-making is based on semantic ambiguity) EX: Pavarotti is a big opera star— not clear if he is he fat or important? Semantic ambiguity is related to denotation, connotation and association of a word 2) Syntactic ambiguity- when a phrase or sentence suggests different meanings EX: Robert was profoundly upset because Jim broke promises he had made with his wife. Fallacy- argument based on a common mistake in reasoning, a sort of mistake that people tend not to notice. Fallacy of equivocation- fallacy committed when a key word in an argument is used in two or more senses and the premises appear to support the conclusion only because the senses are not distinguished. Ex: Micah White says he has “endured persecution” for his belief, but an atheist by definition is one who lacks belief. 1) MW is an atheist 2) All atheists lack beliefs 3) So, MW lacks belief 4) Anyone who lacks beliefs cannot be persecuted for their beliefs 5) Therefore MW cannot be persecuted for his beliefs CONCLUSION: belief, a key word in the argument is being used in more then one sense of the word. * like semantic ambiguity but a whole argument is formulated on two senses of a word rather then just a sentence.* Vagueness- a word is used vaguely if, in the context in which it appears, we cannot determine what things the world would apply to. No clear meaning of the word. Jargon- jargon is used to compensate for the lack of evidence for the argument by the way of intellectual intimidation. DEFINITIONS Ambiguity and vagueness especially, can be over come by definition. There are 5 kinds of definitions. 1) Ostensive- indicated by pointing at a thing example to which the word implies. Problems- not always clear which feature you are eluding to 2) Reportive (or lexical)- intended to capture the literal meaning (or denotation) of a word. Problem- scope of definition two broad or to narrow Not circular- difference between explain and mean, they are not the same thing. 3) stipulative- specifying a new or special use of a term. Usually to narrow and clarify a specific use of a term problem- you can make any word mean anything. Ex- by table I mean space monster 4) Persuasive- implicit, a new or denotation to a word while preserving its previous emotional associations. ( new meaning of word while still keeping the old one)attempts to alter attitudes beliefs, favorably or unfavorably, usually without argument. Problem- not bad as long as you don’t change your opinion without valid argument. 5) Operational- a type of stipulative definition with a narrow specification of a procedure that a word implies. Problems- procedure specified may not be good enough. CHAPTER 4 GOOD ARGUMENTS INTRODUCTIO
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