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PHIL 1110-02 Introduction to Critical Thinking

Fall 2013
Term Assignment
Writing an Argument Outline
For the Term Assignment you will write an outline for an argument of your own, using the tools
discussed during the semester. This is NOT like a tale of contents! it is a skeleton of an
argument made u" of sim"le statements related in a logical manner. #ou will e working in
grou"s of four students so that you can hel" each other out.
NOT$% You ill not !e riting a "a"er# onl$ an outline.
#ou will de&elo" your argument in a numer of "hases, with each "hase due in class on
s"ecific dates. $ach "hase must !e t$"ed% 'n class you will e e(changing arguments with other
grou"s for their analysis and comments and ' may select some to "ut on the o&erhead "ro)ector
for the class to e&aluate. The final &ersion of the assignment is due at the end of the course, and
you will e graded only on the final &ersion. *owe&er, marks will e deducted each time a "hase
is not com"leted on time. +ore detailed guidelines will e "ro&ided as we go.
'f you are ha&ing great difficulty coming u" with an argument of your own, you can use
or modify an argument from another source, ut that argument must conform to the re,uirements
of the assignment. #ou must clear your selection with your instructor, and original argument
must e credited to its source.
$ach "hase must incor"orate the results of the "re&ious "hases -e.g. after .hase 2 you will
always ha&e your issue and thesis at the to" of the "age./
&I'(T PHA()* Choosing a to"ic+
+eet with grou" memers and choose a to"ic. 't can e on any su)ect, ut "ick something
sim"le and s"ecific0 This is im"ortant since you will find that this assignment is more difficult
than it looks at first. #ou will want to "ick a to"ic that allows you to identify a clear contro&ersy
for the second "hase of the assignment. #ou can change or sim"lify your to"ic later if you find
that it is more difficult than you e("ected. 1ook at the te(took "age 32 for a discussion of how
to narrow your to"ic. 'n class ' will gi&e each grou" ad&ice on whether ' think their to"ic is do2
ale or too difficult. ' will assign each grou" a numer that you will use on all "hases of the
assignment when you ring them to class.
()CO,- PHA()* Identi.$ the s"eci.ic issue+ (tate $our thesis+
There is no "oint in making an argument unless there is something at issue. 'f no one disagrees
with you, there is no reason to "ut forward an argument. 3ritical thinking in&ol&es eing ale to
understand what the contro&ersy actually is. #our issue must e a s"ecific contro&ersy that you
can state in two sentences.
The first sentence makes a claim that someone disagrees with.
The second sentence makes a counter claim that disagrees with the first.
'f "ossile, say who is making these claims. *ere is an e(am"le%
Acme 4aste +anagement claims that their "ro"osed to(ic waste dum" will
ha&e no ad&erse effects on the local en&ironment. The grou" called 3oncerned
3iti5ens maintains that the dum" will "ose health risks.6
As in this e(am"le, do not )ust say that there is a contro&ersy. And do not say something like
Acme 4aste +anagement has "ro"osed a to(ic waste dum". No one disagrees with those
statements ecause oth sides agree that they did indeed make a "ro"osal and that there is a
contro&ersy. Actually state the com"eting claims in the contro&ersy. 'f your to"ic is unfamiliar to
other "eo"le in the class, one additional sentence may e needed efore you state the claims in
order to "ro&ide some ackground information.
Your ork must !e t$"ed# not hand-ritten%
Pick something simple! There is no sense in making this assignment harder than it has to e. #ou
will "roaly ha&e to sim"lify further as your argument de&elo"s. Again, see "age 32 for an
e(am"le of how you might make your issue more s"ecific. 4ithout a clear statement of the issue,
you will not e ale to make a clear outline of your argument.
After stating your contro&ersy, write a thesis statement saying where you stand on this
contro&ersy, eginning with the "hrase, 74e will argue that8.9 #our thesis statement should e
)ust one sentence, "referaly a short one. This is only a are outline, not an essay0
THI'- PHA()* (tate $our main "remises and conclusion+ Are $our "remises !elie/a!le0
Is $our argument deducti/e or inducti/e0
a/ :tate your issue and thesis, then "resent the main "remises and conclusion of your argument
following e(actly the format on "age 121 of the te(took.
$ach main "remise and the conclusion should e marked y a ;oman numeral -', '', etc./.
$ach should e )ust one sentence . <ee" these sentences as sim"le and clear as "ossile.
The conclusion is the same as your thesis, e(ce"t it doesn=t egin with 74e will argue
#ou can ha&e as many "remises as you like, ut you need at least two. #our "remises should
"ro&ide either &alid deducti&e su""ort for your conclusion or strong inducti&e su""ort.
Are your "remises elie&ale> A sound or cogent argument must ha&e true -or likely true/
"remises. 'f your audience does not agree with your "remises, there is no "oint making your
argument. #ou should e arguing for your contro&ersial "remises instead. At this stage, ecause
you ha&e not yet "resented your su2arguments, your audience does not ha&e to readily acce"t
your "remises, ut at least they ha&e to look elie&ale.
/ :ay whether your argument is inducti&e or deducti&e according to the criteria discussed in the
NOT$% 'f you ha&e a conclusion that has a &alue term like 7etter9 or 7should,9 then you are
making a &alue or ethical claim as your conclusion. 'n that case you will need a &alue or ethical
"remise -see 3h. 11, the section on $thics/. The relation etween a factual "remise, a moral
"remise and a moral conclusion is usually deducti&e.
&O2'TH PHA()* -iagram $our argument+
?iagram your argument using the method descried in 7?iagramming Arguments9 in 3ha"ter 3.
@$;# '+O;TANT% #ou must ha&e com"leted the Fourth .hase y the Thursday class of 4eek
A, otherwise you will not e allowed to sumit your assignment at the end of the semester. 'n
other words, you cannot decide half way through the course that you want to do the assignment if
you ha&enBt already done work efore that time.
&I&TH PHA()* &irst dra.t and diagram o. $our com"lete argument ith su!-arguments+
+ost or all of your main "remises will re,uire their own arguments to show that they are true or
at least &ery elie&ale. A sound deduction or cogent induction re,uires true "remises. 'f "eo"le
don=t elie&e your "remises, there is no "oint making your argument and you should e arguing
for your "remises instead.
Cnder each ;oman numeral, state additional "remises that su""ort your main "remises. -:ome
main "remises may e o&ious and need no argument./
These additional "remises are identified y capital letters -A, D, etc./ following the
e(am"le on "age 123 of the te(took.
+ost of your ;oman numeral statements are now conclusions of a su2argument at the
same time that they are "remises of the main argument. One or two of your ;oman
numeral statements might e "reliminary conclusions deri&ed "art way through your
argument from "receding main "remises. These then ecome main "remises for the rest
of the argument.
$ach one of these su2arguments should either e deducti&ely &alid or inducti&ely strong,
and your "remises A, D, etc. should e acce"tale to other students in the class.
'f you need to make further arguments in su""ort of A, D, etc., numer them with lower
case ;oman numerals -i, ii, iii, and so on./.
Please .ollo the te4t!ook .ormat e4actl$# including indentations# so that other "eo"le
-including your instructor/ can see immediately what you are doing.
NOT$% #ou must include your issue and thesis statement at the eginning. Ty"e all your work0
(I5TH PHA()* 'e"resent one deduction as a 6enn diagram+
3hoose one deducti&e "art of your argument -it may e your main argument or one of your su2
arguments/ and diagram it using a @enn diagram. +ake sure your categorical statements are in
their "ro"er standard forms, and make sure that your argument is &alid.
'n categorical logic each ca"ital letter stands for a noun or noun "hrase -not a statement/
that remains e(actly the same where&er you use it in your argument.
: E students
D E roke students -or students who are roke/
A E students who can afford a tuition increase
()6),TH PHA()* ($m!oli7e one "art o. $our argument using "ro"ositional logic+
$ither symoli5e at least one deducti&e "art of your argument using propositional logic or
formali5e it using categorical logic, "utting the argument in standard categorical form.
NOT$% #ou should still "resent your entire argument as you did in the fifth "hase, including
issue and thesis, ut symoli5e only one "art of it.
'f your main argument -identified y ;oman numerals/ is deducti&e, then symoli5e the
main argument.
'f your main argument is inducti&e, then find a su2argument that is deducti&e.
'f you ha&e a &alue or ethical conclusion, you almost certainly ha&e a deducti&e argument
including a &alue or ethical "remise.
De sure to include a legend that says what each of your letters -&ariales or terms/ stands for.
'n propositional logic, each lower2case letter stands for a com"lete sim"le statement
-not a noun/ that remains the same where&er you use it. ' recommend you choose a letter
that corres"onds to the &er in the sim"le statement, or else an ad)ecti&e.
i E tuition is increased
a E students can afford a tuition increase
E students are roke
+ake sure that your argument is &alid y using the tools for testing &alidity that you ha&e
learned in the course. 'f you are using "ro"ositional logic, use truth tales or -etter/ the short
method. 'f you are using categorical logic, use @enn diagrams.
#ou do not ha&e to include these in your sumitted work.
Dy using these tools you should ha&e no in&alid deducti&e arguments0
)I8HTH PHA()* ($m!oli7e or .ormali7e all deductions+
.resent your entire argument with all deductions symoli5ed using "ro"ositional logic or
categorical logic. As with the "re&ious "hase, y using the tools to check &alidity you should
ha&e no in&alid deducti&e arguments in your final &ersion0
,I,)TH PHA()* Identi.$ all $our inducti/e arguments and .ormali7e one o. them+
1. 'dentify all the inducti&e "arts of your argument and say what kind they are.
2. .ick one inducti&e "art and state it formally as descried in the te(took. 'nclude a legend
saying what the &ariales -a, , etc/ stand for.
&I,AL PHA()* Hand in $our com"leted assignment+
Turn in the finished argument, ha&ing corrected any "rolems that may ha&e come u" in the
earlier "hases. The argument should e formatted like the e(am"le in the te(took. The issue and
thesis must e in the "ro"er form. #our "remises should e readily agreeale. All deductions
must e &alid and symoli5ed using "ro"ositional logic or "ut into standard form using
categorical logic. All inductions must e identified and strong, and one should e formali5ed.
+ost final &ersions are 2 "ages long, &ery rarely are they more than 3 "ages.
Your "artici"ation in the grou"* :ince the Term Assignment is o"tional, e&ery grou" memer
must "artici"ate fully, otherwise they shouldn=t e doing the assignment. 'f you withdraw from
the assignment, "lease let the other "eo"le in the grou" know. 'f there is a memer of your grou"
that is not "artici"ating, sim"ly do not "ut that memer=s name on the assignment when you
hand it in. :ome students dro" out of a grou" ecause they are worried that the assignment will
ring down their final grade, and so they don=t want their name on the assignment.
Here is e4actl$ ho $our assignment ill !e graded*
1. ?id you state your issue as instructed> -10 "oints/
2. ?o you ha&e your thesis statement in the re,uired form> -H "oints/
3. 's the argument organi5ed in the form "resented in the te(took> -10 "oints/
F. Are your "remises -A,D, etc./ true or generally acce"tale> -20 "oints/
H. 's each "art of your argument deducti&ely &alid or inducti&ely strong> -2H "oints/
A. ?id you symoli5e or formali5e "arts of your argument correctly> -20 "oints/
I. ?id you correctly identify the ty"es of inducti&e arguments you use> -10 "oints/
J. #OC +C:T C:$ .;O.$; $NK1':*. +arks will e deducted for "oor grammar.
L. 4ere all the "hases turned in on time> -less a mark for e&ery missed "hase/
TOTA1 +A;< FO; T*$ K;OC.