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Week 1 How to Argue and Reason

Definition of an argument
a series of sentences, statements or propositions
where some of the premises are conclusions
where the premises are intended to give a reason for the conclusion
What are they used for
to change belief (persuasion)
is used to convince
can justify but not always persuade
to give a reason for belief (justification)
the goal of the argument may be different than the results
Questions to ask
is the arguer trying to change my mind
if yes then it is a persuasive argument
is the arguer trying to give some kind of reason for belief
if yes then it is justification
strong argument dont always persuade
What else are they used for
explanation: is giving a reason why something happened
goal is to increase understanding
why it is true
Aristotles 4 forms of explanations
teleological: the why or the goal
formal: why it is true
Example: Train Whistle
Causal: conductor pulls the lever
Teleological: he wanted to warn traffic
Formal: the construction of the whistle and how it works
Material: The density of the air make the sound
Argument Explanation
general principles or laws
initial conditions
therefore phenomenon to be explained
goal is to fit into general pattern
explanation: an attempt to fit a particular phenomenon into a general pattern in order to
increase understanding and remove bewilderment or surprise
1.6 what are they made of
sentences, statements, propositions = language
language is: important, conventional, representational and social
important because it is necessary for life as we know it
conventional: most people follow the rules depending on what the rules are for that
culture. example football and soccer
representational: cannot change the facts of the world
Social: must be used conventionally to get what you want from others
Semantic, physical production, structural combination, etiquette
pronunciation: we are not always aware of the rule and do not have to be to follow it
1.7 meaning
concerned with linguistic meaning
what words mean are what they refer to sentences are facts
this is the referential / descriptive view and is not accurate
what would the word hello represent under this view?
Meaning is use
and is a conjunction so it is not an object
Linguistic act
Meaningful utterance
Speech Act
used to bring an effect
1.8(optional) Linguistic acts
utter a set of words that follow semantics and syntax
songs could be meaningful utterance
must be grammatical
must make sense
Garden path sentences
the man who whistles tunes pianos
Buffalo buffalo Buffalo
1.9 speech acts (optional)
saying makes it so
the thereby tests: if I say, I ___, then I thereby ____
words can change the world
If I say I apologize then I thereby apologize
Circumstances matter
if I say I ___ in the appropriate circumstances then I thereby ___
thanking, promises, apologizing
Arguing is a speech act
1.10 (optional) Conversational acts
to bring about a change in the world EFFECT
example: asking to borrow a car
conversational act is the bringing about of the intended effect for the kind of speech act
that the speaker is performing
does not occur when the effect does not occur
example shooting and killing
Conversational Maxims
Dont say too much or too little give the right amount of infomation
Dont lie or say something that you dont believe
avoid obscurity
avoid ambiguity
Used if cooperating
Conversational implication is not logical implication
is false if it logically entails something that is false
Week 2 how to Argue
Argument makers
certain words indicate that some sentences are the reason for others
switching the order does make a difference in this case
So, therefore, thus, hence, accordingly are argument markers
Conclusion markers: the sentence after the marker is the conclusion
Premise (reason marker)
reason is after the word
because for as for the reason since
since is not always a marker
use one of the other markers to test the meaning
may seem like an argument marker but is not on its own
antecedence (if one thing) consequent (then another)
is not counted as an argument marker
2.2 Standard form
premise then lines (reson)
then the conclusion or therefore symbol
number the reasons
2.3 A problem for arguments
the premise(s) must support conclusion
an argument cannot justify you in believing that the conclusion is true unless you are
justified in believing that the premises are true
if an argument is required to justify a premise then your are in skeptical regress
Ways to avoid the Regress
1. start with premis that is unjustifiable
a. since it cannot be justified it leads to false beliefs
2. use an argument with a circular regress
a. Premise cannot be a conclusion
3. use an infinite chain of arguments
a. premise must have independent justification
Real ways to solve regress problem in everyday life
start with assumptions that everyone shares
assure the audience
discount objections
or gaurd claim
find shared assumption
2.4 Assuring
if a reason is not given then it cannot be questioned
Authoritative (assurance)
cites authority
relies on the trust in the source
belittle the opponent
conditional abuse if you dont agree with them
appeal to common sense
saves time
avoids the regress
poor authority
dropping and acting as if its true
Not appropriate when
no one would question the claim
authority not trustworthy
you have enough time
2.5 Guarding
make premise weaker and harder to object to
use personal beliefs
lessen the degree on continuum
lowering in certainty
depends on expectations
based on personal beliefs
it may be considered rude to question how someone feels
2.6 discounting
citing the objection
but as an indication of which is more important
but before emphasizes clause
although is before the de emphasized clause
The trick of discounting straw people
the pick 5 easy objections to counter to distract and leave the rest unaddressed
2.7 Evaluation
preference is not to be confused with evaluation
good meet the standards
avoids the setting of specific standards so avoid the regress
we dont have to agree on the stands (exp why to turn left)
people can apply their own standards to the situation
some words are abstract (general)
good bad right wrong
Some words are specific
beautiful ugly cruel kind
liberal vs conservative depends on the party
is not evaluative
Combining negatives and positives
depends on the meaning
can take a neutral and make it a negative
use of evaluative without giving reasons
used in weak arguments
2.8 close analysis
mark a passage underline and place codes for the purpose the word serves
rhetorical ge the reader to come up with reasons of their own
Week 3 how to argue
3.1 Validity
one or more premise is false
the premise do not provide good cause or relation between premises and conclusion
Deductive Argument
conclusion should follow from the premises
is supposed to be valid
if and only if its not possible for the premise to be true and the conclusion to be false
try to tell coherent story to test
whenever the conclusion is false one of the premises must be false
What valid is not
valid does not mean good
does not depend on whether the premise is true or false focuses on possibility
Kinds of Arguments
True premise true conclusion (valid)
to be valid there can be no way for either one to be falses and the other true
True premise true conclusion (not valid)
if there is a way for (possibility) the conclusion not to be true
then it will not be true
False premise true conclusion
can be valid
True premise false conclusion
cannot be valid
3.2 Soundness
all premises are true so conclusion must be true
soundness must have true premises and must be valid
must have true premise , conclusion and validity
3.3 Get down to basics
goal of reconstruction is to put an argument in a form in which we can easily and
accurately assess it in as fair a manner as possible
1. close analysis
2. remove excess words or verbiage
3. put in standard form
4. clarify premises
5. divid into subarguments
6. asses where each arguments validity
7. add suppressed premises
8. check each premise for truth
9. qualify premise to make them true
10. conclude
Road Markers (excess verbiage)
helpful to keep track of an argument be not anything else
saying what the argument or topic will be about
Tangent (type of verbiage)
unrelated to issue irrelevant
may keep attention or interest
can be used as a distraction or red herring
Trick of excess verbiage
guarding ters can make hard to determine this
3.4 Sharpen edges (clarify)
seek adequate precision and clarity but not absolute
pick the most charitable option or interpretation
Break up the premises
if it doesn't add confusion
cannot make it look bad
the word and can be broken up
the word or cannot
Organise parts
can build on argument on top of each other in chain
linear structure
Linear structure
one premise giving a reason for conclusion which is then a reason for another
Each premise by itself would be enough for conclusion
provide independent support
two premises work together
identify and number
when they work together put r
draw arrow from reason to conclusion
rearrange if needed
3.6 fill in gaps
valid if it is not possible that the premises are true when the conclusion is false
if found not to be valid then ad suppressed premises /reason to fill in
Reason to fill in
to examine and assess the assumptions of the argument better
to understand the argument better
find the arguers reasoning
find any missteps
Types of suppression
norm based
Week 4 how to Argue
4.1 Deductive arguments
are presented as being valid
an argument is valid just in case there is no possible way for its premises to be true
when its conclusion is false
not valid if the premises are true and the conclusion false
if the premises are true then the conclusions must be true
Quantifiers (only, at least, some, all, none)
the use of these make arguments valid
4.2 Propositional Logic Connectives
a proposition is something that can be either true or false, and that can be the premise of
the conclusion of an argument.
Propositional connective
a propositional connective is something that takes propositions and makes new
propositions out of them
and is sometimes one
4.3 And and the truthfunctional
Jack and Jill example
join two names to make a complex name
makes a complex proposition
includes the two people jack talked jill talked
Two people talking to each other
and as a propositional connective
can be used to convey temporal meaning or ordering
when it is not temporal it is a truthfunctional
a truth functional connective is a propositional connective that males a new proposition
whose truth or falsity depends solely on the truth or falsity of its propositional ingredients
4.4 Truth tables
4.5 Disjunction or
exclusive: may mean one or the other (only one can win)
Inclusive: can mean one or the other or both?
any situation in which the disjunction is true then it is valid
4.6 Joining of conjunction and disjunction
conjunction and disjunction are not associative
order changes meaning
4.7 negation and truth functional operator
does not connect
example: I believe that
a truth functional operator is a propositional operator that creates propositions whose
truth depends solely on the truth of the proposition to which the operator is applied
make the premise the opposite of the original
is the opposite
not, it is not the case that
if the pthen
negation p
if pthen
the negation p+
4.8 Negation conjunctions and disjunctions
together with conjunction
different meaning
is true when both or one conjunct are false
disjunction either one of the disjuncts could be false
false whenever either of one of the disjunct is true
4.9 The conditional
if then is a propositional connective
Rule Modus Ponens
from the premise P if P then Q infer Q
Rule Modus Tollens
from the premise Q if P then Q infer P
the use of the conditional if the argument P C is valid then the conditional if P then C is
4.10 Conditionals in ordinary language
if we use if then in the conventional sense or as a proposition
if it depends on things other than the truth or falsity
cannot be subjunctive
only if is the same as if then
4.11 Biconditionals
is a propositional connective the larger proposition is true if the two propositions have the
same truth value
How to Argue Week 5
Categorical Logic (5.1)
no notes
Categories and Quantifiers (5.2)
The quantifiers make the categories more specific
the right quantifier may make the argument valid
use venn diagram
How quantifiers modify categories (5.3)
A: all Fs are Gs
E: no Fs are Gs
I: some Fs are Gs
O: some Fs are not Gs
Immediate Categorical Inferences (5.4)
it is an inferences with just 1 premise, in which both the premise and the conclusion are
of the form A,E,I or O
Subject term & Predicate Term
is the one modified by the quantifier the one that weve been schematizing with F. the
other term is the predicate term
The most common example of immediate categorical inferences in which the conclusion
switches the subject and predicate term that occur in the premise
Valid for E and I but not A or O
Syllogisms (5.5)
the subject term of the conclusion is called the subject term of the syllogism, and one of
the premises must also contain that subject term the premise is the minor premise
(not modified) The predicate term of the conclusion is called the predicate term of the
syllogism , and one of the premises must also contain the predicate term that premise is
the major premise
3 categories
can use venn diagram
Individuals and language (5.6) Venn diagrams and validity (5.7) Other ways of expressing AEIO
(5.8) reasoning from Venn diagrams and truth tables alone (5.9).
no notes
How to Argue week 6
Inductive arguments (6.1)
inferences to the best explanation
arguments from analogy
statistical generalization
statistical application
causal reasoning
decision making
Inductive vs Deductive
bad when invalid
are intended to be valid
standard is valid vs invalid
all or nothing
no matter what premise and it will still be valid
can be good when they are not valid
standard is weak or strong
strength in degrees
not intended to be valid
context and determine the strength
is defeasible
additional information or premises may weaken the argument
Generalization from sampling (6.2)
cannot test everyone
the first F is G
the Second F is G
the rest of the Fs are Gs
therefore all Fs are Gs
x% of Fs are Gs all x% are Gs
inductive arguments of this type do not try to be valid
When are generalizations strong (6.3)
sample of chocolate chip cookies example
you could lie
Questions to ask
1. are the premise false or unjustified (lie)
2. to small of sample size ( 1 cookie)
a. Fallacy of hasty generalization
b. needed sample size will depend on the type of sample taken apples vs
3. Fallacy of biased sampling
a. if you tell them beforehand
b. poor people without phones Roosevelt election
4. Is the question slanted
a. animal research question wording
b. limited options
c. way it is reported
Applying generalizations (6.4)
applying generalization
example: almost never
ex: 80% fail
x% of fs are gs
a is f
therefore a is probably g
they are defeasible
premises must be true and justifiable
application strength varies with percentages
Reference Class
may point to different conclusions
look at the smallest references class
but may make for too small of class/sample
they can conflict
Inference to the best explanation (6.5)
justify: reason to believe conclusion is true
explanation: something that we know is true but took for granted (natural phenomenon)
inferences used in mysteries and science
premise explains the conclusion
the conclusion describes the phenomenon to be explained and its true.
work in the opposite direction as explanations
the conclusion is what does the explaining
probably true
not always valid but could be good
Which explanation is best
must be conservative
must be falsifiable
must not be shallow
depends on principle that is not explained but needs explanation
must not be Ad Hoc
not powerful or broad
Inference to the best explanation (6.7)
strength may differ from person to person
Arguments from analogy (6.8)
is a comparison
use with small cases
Object A has properties P Q R
object BCD have property X
therefore object A probably also has property X
A= subject
BCD = the analogous objects
PQR= similarities
X= the target
Is strong when
the similarities are more important
there are more similarities
there are fewer dissimilarities
the analogous objects are more diverse
the conclusion is weaker?
Make the arguments look as good as possible (how to determine which to use)
Week 7 How to Argue (Causal Reasoning)
Causal Reasoning
causal judgements cannot be certain
inductive arguments are needed to support causal claims
general rule or principle help to guide the reasoning
General principles
Sufficient condition when one occurs so does the other
Example: being a whale is sufficient for being a mammal
Necessary one cannot be without the other
example: being a whale is necessary for being a sperm whale
F is sufficient condition for G=
for events whenever an event F happens an event G also happens
For featuresanything that has feature F also has feature G
F is a necessary condition for G=
for events:whenever event F does not happen, an event G also does not
for features anything that does not have feature F also does not have
feature G
Causal Example
striking the match is sufficient for lighting it
striking this match on a surface is necessary for lighting it
you are always saying it will hold within normal circumstances
must quantify with in normal circumstances
Revised Definition
F is a sufficient condition for G= in normal circumstances
for events whenever an event F happens, an event G slo happens
for features anything that has feature F also has feature G
F is a necessary condition for G in normal circumstances
for events: whenever event F does not happen an event G also does not happen
for features: anything that does not have feature F also has does not have feature
Kinds of conditions
moral (more controversial)
7.2 Negative condition test
X is not a sufficient condition of Y if there is any case where X is present and Y is absent
detectives use this
example: diner chicken not sufficient for death
only what is not sufficient
7.3 Positive sufficient condition
we have a good reason to believe X is a sufficient condition of Y if all of the following are
a. we have not found any case where X is present and Y is absent
b. we have tested a wide variety of cases including cases where x is present and
cases where y is absent
c. if there are any other features that are never present where Y is absent then we
have tested enough where those other features are absent but X is present
d. we have tested enough cases of various kinds that are likely to induce a case
where X is present and Y is absent if there is any such case
7.4 Negative Necessary condition Tests
X is not a necessary condition of Y if there is any case where X is absent and Y is
7.5 Positive necessary condition test
we have a good reason to believe X is a necessary condition of Y if all of the following
conditions are met
we have not found any case where X is absent and Y is present
we have tested a wide variety of cases including cases where X is absent and where y is
if there are any other features that are never absent where Y is present, then we have
tested cases where those other features are present but X is absent
we have tested enough cases of various kinds that are likely to include a case where X is
absent and y is present if there is any such case
7.6 complex condition
both necessary and sufficient
7.7 Correlation vs causation
the necessary condition test will not work
Metone or concomitant variation
Aka correlation
X and Y are positively correlated when
the degree of x increases as the degree of y increases
the degree of x decreases as the degree of y decreases
X and Y are negatively correlated when
the degree of x increases as the degree of y decreases
the degree of X decreases as the degree of Y increases
Causal Relations
A causes B
B causes A
Some third thing C causes both A and B
Could be coincidental
Ways of determining relation
temporal : which comes first
Manipulation or experimentation
7.8 Common fallacies
confusing correlation with causation
post hoc ergo proptes hoc = after this therefore because of this
confusing a cause with effect
example bad golf swing and bad back
backwards relation
How to Argue Week 8
Statistical generalization from a sample
Application of the generalization
inference to the best explanation
argument from analogy
positive sufficient necessary condition test
comitant variation
Inductive strength
is strong in proportion to probability
cannot tell what is not likely to happen or will not happen
examples 7s (gamblers fallacy)
the odds are always the same
Representative heuristic
the more you see something the more likely you will think it will be
Example: three door problem
What is probability 8.2
Probability: the number of time that it might happen out of the number of times it occurs
example 3/10 equals a .3 probability
the range from 0-1
1 means it is certain it will happen
0 means it will not happen
Kinds of probability
A priori
You figure it out before hand (assumption)
example heads or tails
assumes likelihood of alternatives
Statistical or empirical evidence
you have to experiment
Probability of negation (8.3)
1. Rules
1.1. the probability that an event will NOT occur is 1 - the probability that it will
Rule for the probability of conjunction (8.4)
1. two events are independent if and only if the occurrence of one has no effect on the
probability of the other.
a. example cards
Rule for independent events
1. if two events are independent then the probability that both events will occur in that order
is the product of the probability of the first event time the probability of the second event
Rule for Dependent value
The conditional probability of X given Y is the percentage of cases where X occurs out of
the cases where Y occurs
the probability of both of two events occurring is the product of probability the first event
occurring time the conditional probability of the second event occurring given that the
first event occurred
Rule for probability disjunction (one or the other) (8.5)
mutually exclusive the probability that both of them will occur together is 0
the probability of one or the other will occur is the sum of the probability of one
and the other
example coin toss (.5+.5)-.25=.75
Rules for Probabilities Series (8.6)
Example Contraceptive
two methods:
a. Look at the failure rate and multiply both failure rate
Formal rule
the probability that an event will occur at least once in a series of independent trials is 1-
the probability that it will not occur in that series.
Bayes Theorem honors (8.7) Optional
all tests have errors
formula to find how accurate the formula is
Look at base rate = percentage of those who have condition
Look at sensitivity= percentage of those who have condition and test positive
look at specificity= percentage of those without the condition that test negative
solution or posterior probability= that you tested positive on the test if you have the
Box Method
divide the population into four groups (--),(-+)(+,+)(+,-)
those who do have the condition/ the total number of those who test positive.
hits true positive, False positive, false negative, true negative
Expected financial value (8.8)
probability to make decision
Decisions with certainty
you know what will happen
The chooser knows the actual outcomes of each opinion or alternative action rather than
just the probability of the outcomes
Decision under risks
the chooser does not know the actual outcomes of each option or alternative action but
does know the probabilities of the outcomes
Most decision fall under this category
Expected value theory (8.8 & 8.9)
The expected monetary or financial value of a choice = the probability of winning times
the net gain in money of winning minus the probability of losing times the net loss in
money of losing.
Lotto winning - the cost of the ticket
Diminishing Marginal utility
each increment decreases in value as you get more and more increments
example are 10 hamburgers better than 1
Overall value
actual overall value of utility of an act = all the good and bad effects that the act actually
Decisions with ignorance or uncertainty
the chooser does not know the actual outcomes of the options or alternative actions also
does not know even the probabilities of those outcomes
Week 9
Lecture 9.1 introduction to fallacies
kind of bad argument
the premises do not support the conclusion whether they are true or false
example men who make less than 30k are violent criminals one does not support the
not all bad arguments are fallacies
Lecture 9.2 Argument from the heap aka sorites
creates fallacies
Principle of mathematical induction (is correct )
the number 0 belongs to F
if x belongs to F then x+1 belongs to F
therefore all natural numbers belong to F
poor pennies (example)
is a paradox
the argument and premises are correct
the conclusion is not correct even if they premises are true
Lecture 9.3 vagueness
An expression is vagueness when there is no precise boundary between the cases to
which is correctly applies and the cases to which it does not
Why it leads to paradox
if there is no precise boundaries between cases of correct applications and incorrect
applications, then it will seem obviously true that miniscule difference from a particular
thing will not change whether or not we have a case of correct or incorrect application.
But the problem is that a series of minuscule differences can amount to a large change.
Lecture 9.4 Conceptual slippery slope fallacy
is an argument that exploits the vagueness of the category to argue that there is no
significant difference between things that belong to a category and things that do not.
premises dont support the conclusion
Lecture 9.5 Fairness slippery slope
Is an argument that exploit the vagueness of a category to agur that it is unfair to treat
cases that fall into that category different from cases that dont fall into that category
Example passing exam 99.99% vs 99.98% vs 99.97% down to 0.01%
Assumes that a line cannot be drawn
Lecture 9.6 Causal slippery slope
is one that exploits the vagueness of a category to argue that a particular event that
you are considering will lead to a calamity that is causal connected to that event that is
connected to that event by a series of steps.
domino effect
parade of horrors
Example human euthanasia doctors will start killing everyone
Example if you date then you will get married if you get married you will get divorced if
you get divorced then you will not speak to each other so if you date you will eventually
end up not speaking to each other.
9.7 Ambiguity
There maybe more than one meaning to a word
sentence could mean more than one thing
example: she is an Asian historian
Why ambiguity: if an expression has two acceptable interpretations, and we switch
between those two interpretation in the course of single argument, then we can construct
an argument that seems valid even if though it isnt.
9.8 Semantic and syntactic ambiguity
Semantic: is when a particular word has two different interpretation
example: stoned= killed or high
Syntactic: is when you have a phrase that can be given to different interpretation.
differ in how you are supposed to understand them.
9.9 Fallacies of Equivocation
Is a fallacy that results when an argument seems to be valid only because it switches
between two different interpretations of an ambiguous expression.
example: no woman can be rational
Week 10 how to argue
10.1 Fallacies of relevance and vacuity
Fallacies of vagueness are hard to avoid
fallacies of relevance and vacuity are easier to avoid
it is important for language to have vagueness in it
example when are you going to jamaica
Example the white house said does the white house talk
Fallacies of Relevance
is a fallacy that results when an arguments premise are not relevant to its conclusion
appeal to authority
appeal to popular opinion
when you cant be justified in accepting the premises unless you are independently
justified in accepting the conclusion
begging the question
10.2 Fallacy of relevance Ad Hominem
one that begins with premises about a particular person who is making an argument,
and ends with a conclusion critical of that persons argument
looks at the motivations of the person as a way to ignore the argument
3 kinds of Ad Hominem
ends with conclusion we should disregard that persons argument. they
are not entitled to speak on the issue
denine that the person as the right to speak
Dismisser: end with the conclusion that the persons conclusion is fine but thier
reasons are not good
Ends with denial of the persons conclusion
10.3 Silencers
not all ad hominem are fallacies
definition of silencers: begins with premises about a particular person, who is making
a point and ends with a conclusion that we should disregard the persons argument
not a fallacy:
occur in special cases where there are a lot rules and regulations
Argument: I saw the accused murder the victim, Therefore the accused is guilty
of the crime (burst in uninvited and unannounced)
the persons argument might be sound but should be silenced because
there is no way to know its sound
violates criminal procedures
Is a fallacy
Dont listen to them they are criminals or weird
10.4 Dismissers
Definition: Begins with premises about a particular person who is making a point, and
ends with a conclusion to the effect that the persons reasons are not good.
some can be good arguments
example: fuel company arguing against global warming should be dismissed
most of the time they are not good arguments
there might be something about the person we dont like so we dismiss it
10.5 Deniers
Definition: begins with the premises about a particular person who is making a point, and
end with the conclusion denying the conclusion of that persons argument
good argument: admits to lying including now so he is not telling the truth (Arthur the liar)
good if you know the reputation of the speaker
bad if uses features that are irrelevant
10. 6 Fallacies of relevance (appeals to authority)
is an argument that begins with premises about a particular person who is making a
claim, and ends with a conclusion endorsing that persons claim.
opposite of an ad hominem argument
example: the person was well dressed so we should accept their conclusion
3 types of appeals to authority
Amplifier: we should place great weight on the persons point, they are very
deserving of our attention
supporters: the persons reason are especially compelling
amfiremer: affirmed that persons point
Definition: begins with premises about a particular person who is making a point, and
ends with a conclusion that we should place great weight on the persons point.
can be good arguments: legitimate authority
this is very rare
10.8 Supporters
begins with premises about a particular person who is making a point and ends with
a conclusion and ends with the conclusion to the effect that the persons reasons are
especially compelling.
Example: good waren buffet & isaac mizrahi
10.9 Affirmers
begins with premises about a particular person who is making a point, and ends with a
conclusion affirming that persons point.
if they said it is true
differences from supporters is that the argument is true not that is argument has good
even if you do not understand the argument if you accept it then it is an affirmer
10.10 popular opinion
is an appeal that begins with premises about the popularity about a particular claim and
ends with a conclusion endorsing that claim.
if enough people believe it then it must be true
can be good depending on the sources and reliability of the population
10.11 Vacuity
when an arguments starts by assuming what its supposed to establish
circularity the argument is among the premises
begging the question: you need to already have a good reason for believing the
self sealing: is irrefutable by any means
example: you will then be doing exactly what you will be doing
noe evidence can be brought against it
it is not significant
10.12 Circularity and begging the question
fallacy that results when an arguments premises contain its conclusion
are usually easy to notice
begging the question
fallacy that results when you cannot have a reason to believe an arguments premises
unless you have an independent reason to believe its conclusion
10.13 Self sealers
is a proposition or an argument that is irrefutable because it does not claim anything, it
does not rule out any conceivable situation
Week 11 How to argue
Refutations and varieties (11.1)
to refute an argument is to show that the argument is unsuccessful
an argument may be unsuccessful because we are not entitled to accept its premises or
it may be unsuccessful because its premises do not support its conclusion
Ways to refute
dont support the conclusion
parallel reasoning
point out the fallacies
false premises
counter examples
reductio ad absurdum
Straw man
similar but not enough
False Dichotomy
things have to be either one way or another way.
Parallel reasoning (11.2)
To refute an argument by parallel reasoning is to show that the arguments form is not
valid or strong.
Find another argument that has the same form but is clearly a fallacy
Example: If everyone had a bigger salary then everyone could afford a bigger house and
if everyone stands up at a ballgame then everyone will have a better view.
The parallel argument must have exactly the same form and the parallel argument must
clearly be a fallacy
Counter Examples (11.3)
a counterexample is an example that runs counter to a generalization: it thereby shows
that the generalization is false
can be used to refute an argument that contains generalization in either the premises or
the conclusion
Example: I should not change the babys diaper
example: no one should eat the bread
hard to find a counterexample when a guarding term is used
Reductio ad absurdum (11.4)
reduce to absurdity
is an argument that prove that a particular hypothesis is false, because it implies an
Example: the best way to fight theft is to get rid of the tangible media of exchange
False Dichotomy
when the argument assumes that there are only two possible situations
Example: you are either with us or against us switzerland. There is no neutrality
Example: Socks and shoes all in the family
Attacking the Strawman (11.5)
to misunderstand the argument or the hypothesis that you are trying to refute
example: hussan argument
How to argue week 12
Lecture 12.1 Constructing your own arguments
how to pick
quality of the arguments
how useful the arguments were
new points
Lecture 12.2 Debate about smart phones
Should smart phones be banned in schools
The apps are distracting
the students dont concentrate
behaviors that are distracting should be banned so smart phones should be
Opposite: they should be allowed in class
Smart phones have apps that help you study
anything that can help students learn should be allowed in school
banning will lower students communication in an emergency
so they should be allowed
Lecture 12.3 all conscious thoughts are finitely explainable (deductive) -review
all conscious thought are finitely explainable due to the finiteness of words.
could be false
Lecture 12.4 chocolate pudding will probably improve your mood.
beware of arguments that you already believe in
probably guarding term
improves your mood improves is a causal claim
Lecture 12.5 Slippery slopes
a series of small differences can be considered a significant difference
fairness doesn't always require us to treat cases differently when theyre not significantly
fairness fallacy
Lecture 12.6 to visit parents frequently shouldnt be legalized (ambiguity)
to make it legal will lessen the morality of the people
the imperative to
Lecture 12.7 capital punishment (vacuity)
circular logic
you would have to accept the conclusion for the premise to be true
lecture 12.8 Refutation via parallel reasoning if god does not exist neither do barbers
if god existed there would be no suffering in the world
there are people with long hair in the world if barbers existed then there would be no
people with long hair in the world
Lecture 12.9 Why Walter should shave his head