Arguments101 - Reasoning and Argument Analysis Clark Wolf...

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Unformatted text preview: Reasoning and Argument Analysis Clark Wolf Director of Bioethics Iowa State University [email protected] OBJECTIVES: On completion of this unit, students should be able… 1.1 …to recognize when they are presented with an argument, 1.2 …to analyze arguments by identifying the conclusion and distinguishing conclusions from premises. 1.3 …to evaluate arguments by considering the plausibility of the premises and the extent to which the premises support the conclusion. 1.4 …to distinguish deductive and inductive arguments, 1.5 …to distinguish an argument’s content from its form. 1.5 …to define key concepts: argument, premise, conclusion, evidence, rationally persuasive argument, fallacy, valid argument, invalid argument, inductive argument, abductive argument. 1.6 …to evaluate arguments, by (i) distinguishing premises from conclusion, (ii) putting the argument in standard form, (iii) critically examining the premises, and (iv) evaluating the inference from premises to conclusion. 1.7 …to be self-reflectively critical of their own arguments and those of others. What is an Argument? Argument: A set of statements, some of which serve as premises , one of which serves as a conclusion , such that the premises purport to give evidence for the conclusion. Premise: A premise is a statement that purports to give evidence for the conclusion. Evidence: To say that a statement A is evidence for another statement B is to say that if A were true, this would provide some reason to believe that B is true. Conclusion: The statement in an argument that is supposedly supported by the evidence. When do we encounter arguments? Any time anyone tries to persuade you of something, or to make you change your mind. Rational persuasion uses reasons , but even irrational persuasion employs reasons (bad reasons). In evaluating arguments, we need to be able to evaluate reasons and patterns of reasoning. Nick: OK, let’s say you’re defending chocolate and I’m defending vanilla. Now if I were to say to you “vanilla is the best flavor ice cream,” you’d say…? Joey: No, Chocolate is. Nick: Exactly. But you can’t win that argument. So, I’ll ask you, “So you think chocolate is the end all and be all of ice cream, do you? Joey: It’s the best ice cream. I wouldn’t order any other. Nick: Oh, so it’s all chocolate for you, is it? Joey: Yes, chocolate is all I need. Nick: Well, I need more than chocolate. And for that matter, I need more than vanilla. I believe that we need freedom, and choice when it comes to our ice cream, and that, Joey Naylor, that is the definition of liberty. Joey: But that’s not what we’re talking about. Nick: Ah, but that’s what I’m talking about....
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Arguments101 - Reasoning and Argument Analysis Clark Wolf...

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