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Notes and Exercises on Asking Essential Questions pp 5-15

Notes and Exercises on Asking Essential Questions pp 5-15



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Published by: IWantToBelieve8728 on Sep 03, 2008
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Notes and Exercises on Asking Essential Questions pp. 5 - 15
A. Analytic (or Descriptive) and Evaluative Questions
 An analytic or descriptive question probes the nature or structure of something. An evaluativequestion probes the quality or value of something.
Example (analytic): What is the chemical composition of a star?Example (evaluative): Is Asimov's book on stars interesting?
Exercises:A. Identify whether the following questions are analytic or evaluative. Explain!
 1. How many sessions does this course have?2. Is Tom Cruise a good actor?3. Is Kim Basinger sexy?4. Is this assignment difficult?5. What are the requirements for passing this course?6. Is your stereo system Phillips?7. Are Phillips stereo systems good?8. Is Macy's an expensive store?
A 2. Compose one analytic and one evaluative question on the following topics:
 a) your clothing, b) Katrina relief efforts, c) War in Iraq
B. Conceptual and Empirical Questions
 A conceptual question probes the meaning or aspects of a concept or idea, i.e., it requires ananswer based on definition and/or analysis of concept(s). An empirical question pertains to realityor fact, i.e., it requires an answer based on reality or fact.
Example (conceptual): What is love?
This is a question on the meaning of a concept.
 Example (empirical): How many weekly flights are there from Las Vegas to Honolulu?
Thisis a question pertaining to facts about the weekly availability flights on certain routes.Exercises:
B. Identify whether the following questions are conceptual or empirical. Explain!
Is equality of sexes and races required by justice?2.
Does the U.S. have equality of sexes and races?3.
Must love be unconditional?4.
Is Ms. K in love with Mr. S?5.
Is affirmative action reverse discrimination?6.
Is intentional bombing of civilian areas a war crime?7.
Have U.S. forces committed war crimes in Iraq?8.
Is government censorship of pornography consistent with the idea of freedom of expression?9.
What is terrorism?10.
Is Bin Laden sponsoring terrorism?11.
What is the boiling point of water?12.
What is the molecular structure of water?
What is “molecular structure”?
What is love?15.
What is faith?16.
What does “God” refer to?
What is polytheism?18.
Is Cheney a closet polytheist?19.
What is schizophrenia?20.
Does Rumsfeld suffer from schizophrenia?21.
Do aliens exist?22.
What is a free society?23.
Is America a free society?
Simple and complex conceptual questions
 A simple conceptual question is a conceptual question which can be answered by merely definingthe key term in the question. A complex conceptual question is a conceptual question which canonly be answered by
the key term or concept. For example, the question "Who is acurmudgeon?" can be answered merely by consulting the dictionary definition of "curmudgeon".Hence, it is a simple conceptual question. The question "What is true love?" is a complexconceptual question because it can be answered only by analyzing the concept of love and whatmakes it true.C. Distinguish between
simple and complex conceptual questions
in the following list andexplain.1.
What does “implicit” mean?
What is the meaning of “appraisal”?
What is justice?4.
What is liberty?5.
Is some form of inequality compatible with justice?6.
Is censorship compatible with free speech?7.
Is global peace compatible with a global arms race?8.
Does monogamy require commitment to one spouse?9.
Is belief in God essential to being religious?
D. Settled and unsettled empirical questions
 An empirical question is settled if it has a definite answer. It is unsettled if it does not have adefinite answer.D. Distinguish between
settled and unsettled empirical questions
in the following list andexplain.1.
Are there extra-terrestrial beings?2.
Is there life on the moon?3.
What is the cure for cancer?4.
How many solar systems are there in our galaxy?5.
Is homosexuality genetically determined?
Is criminal behavior genetically determined?7.
What is the GNP of the U.S.?
E. One System, No System, and Conflicting Systems QuestionsConsider first whether the question is a matter of personal preference. If it is not, then it is a)a one system, or b) a conflicting systems question. Then ask whether facts alone can settle thequestion. If the answer is "Yes", then it is a one system question. If facts alone cannot settlethe question and interpretation and values are involved, it is a conflicting systems question.This is because there will be conflicting interpretations and values, if facts alone cannot settlethe issue.
Example (one system): "
Are there craters on the Moon
?" This is a one system question becausethe facts about the surface of the Moon will settle the question.Example (no system): "
Do you prefer to date within your own race or ethnic group
?" This is ano system question because it is a matter of personal preference or prejudice!Example (conflicting systems): "
Does Satan exist
?" First we ask, "Is this a matter of personalpreference?" We see that since it asks about the existence of an entity, it is not a matter of personalpreference. Second, we ask whether facts alone can settle the issue. Now we understand that factssuch as evil behavior, possession-behavior, voices in the head, etc., can be interpreted in differentways, for example, as evidence of mental disorder rather than as evidence for the existence of Satan. So, the facts are subject to different interpretations. Thus it is a conflicting systems question.
E. Identify whether the following questions are OS, NS, or CS questions. Explain!
 1. How many moons does Jupiter have?2. What are the rings of Saturn made of?3. Are apples rich in Vitamin C?4. Which candidate do you prefer?5. Which candidate is best suited for the job?6. Is the war in Iraq morally wrong?7. Is it legal to drive 80 miles an hour on Las Vegas streets?8. Does God exist?9. Is there life after death?10. Is premarital sex moral?11. Is promiscuity immoral?12. Is evolution a fact of nature?13. Did God create the world?14. Do aliens or ET's exist?15. What is poverty?16. What is life?17. Does a vegetarian diet provide adequate nutrition for the human body?18. Is meat-eating morally wrong?19. Is human nature good or evil?20. Do square-circles exist?
F. Model and Contrary Cases:
 A model case is a standard example of something. For instance, a model case of racial

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