Logic 1000, Second Assignment Answers
November 28, 2006, due December 5, 2006.
Argument reconstruction and evaluation.
Reconstruct the following arguments, identifying premises and conclusions, and supplying any necessary tacit premises.
Then evaluate the
arguments, considering all the virtues, and decide how strong or weak each is.
General Grading Scheme:
20 points per argument—10 for reconstruction (4 for identifying premises, 3 for conclusion, 3 for a good TP if
needed; -1.5 if the UTP is used where a more focused TP is available; -1.5 if the TPs added don’t really make the argument valid).
evaluation—4 for plausibility of premises (2 for addressing it; 2 for quality of remarks), 3 for independence (1.5 for addressing it, 1.5 for quality
of remarks), 2 for interest (1 for raising it, 1 for quality); 1 for summary.
Free markets allocate resources efficiently because buyers, knowing what they want and what is available, force sellers to compete by
offering low prices and high quality.
Buyers (in a free market) know what they want and what is available.
If buyers (in a free market) know what they want and what is available, they will force sellers to compete by offering low prices and high
If sellers (in a free market) are forced to compete by offering low prices and high quality, then free markets allocate resources
Free markets allocate resources efficiently.
P1 and P2 are combined in the original; they can
be left together.
The tacit premise needs to connect sellers in a free market
being forced to compete… to the claim that free markets allocate resources efficiently.
Using the UTP instead is a small deduction (1/2 the TP
The qualification, ‘in a free market’ in the premises is important, but will mostly be missed I fear.
A small deduction should be assigned
for missing it.
This may be plausible in particular cases, but it certainly isn’t always the case (consider medical care, education, etc.).
often, in practice, we may be unsure of what we want and poorly informed about what is available.
This is plausible, since the antecedent puts buyers in a position where, unless they have no real choice, they can choose between different
sellers on these criteria.
But it could be criticized as too general, since the antecedent could hold in a monopoly situation, where the buyers really
have no choice.
On the other hand, someone might reply that this would not be a ‘free market.’
This is again broadly plausible, but too general to stand.
If the contract between buyer and seller imposes costs on others (society at large
perhaps), then free-market contracts will be reached that don’t pay attention to these costs.
Such externalities prevent the free market from
achieving efficient resource allocation, which applies not just to buyers’ and sellers’ resources, but to the resources of all…