govier chapter 6 supplementary material.pdf - Govier A...

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Govier: A Practical Study of Argument 1 Chapter 6: Supplementary Material Relevance: The “R” Condition Learning Objectives After completing this unit of the textbook, you should be able to: 1. Demonstrate your understanding of relevance in the process of assessing arguments. 2. Demonstrate your ability to distinguish between positive relevance, negative relevance, and irrelevance. 3. Demonstrate your ability to apply the R condition to the various argument types. 4. Demonstrate your ability to identify when arguments commit fallacies. Relevance is an important concept but also a difficult and elusive one. It is important to keep in mind as we work through this chapter that relevance must be distinguished from sufficiency of grounds. When we talk about relevance, in general, what we have in mind is simply premises which provide at least some evidence either for or against a conclusion. So the emphasis will be on premises providing some reason to believe the conclusion. This is independent of whether or not they provide enough evidence to believe the conclusion. When disputes arise about whether or not X is relevant to Y, remember that you need to give reasons in support of their judgments about that matter, i.e. 'X is positively relevant to Y because ...' or 'X is not positively relevant to Y because ...'. Positive Relevance Statement A is positively relevant to statement B if and only if the truth of A counts in favor of the truth of B. Premises are positively relevant to their conclusion when, if true, they provide some reason to believe that the conclusion is true. When there is positive relevance, one statement supports another. Notice that this does not say that A is true, nor does it say that is a complete proof of B. It merely says that if A is true, it is some evidence. When dealing with arguments, this is the condition that we want to find. For Example Statement A: Students who eat regularly at the college cafeteria have higher incidences of intestinal distress than students who do not. Statement B: Food prepared at the college cafeteria is harmful to student health. Negative Relevance Statement A is negatively relevant to statement B if and only if the truth of A counts against the truth of B. Premises are negatively relevant to their conclusion when, if true, they provide some reason to think that the conclusion is false. When there is negative relevance, one statement undermines another.
Govier: A Practical Study of Argument 2 Chapter 6: Supplementary Material Negatively relevant premises constitute counterconsiderations or objections to their conclusion. Such counterconsiderations are common in conductive arguments. For Example Statement A: Students who eat regularly at the college cafeteria have lower levels of cholesterol and saturated fat in their diet than students who do not.

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