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Problems with relying on popular opinion in an

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Unformatted text preview: problems with relying on popular opinion in an argument, and can be effectively used to develop a counter-argument. See p. 311. 7. c) It should be accepted that there is no such thing as a stable human character . Appeal to authority proceeds as follows: X is an authority with credentials, c, who believes and states y; credentials c are relevant to y; X is not biased; there is wide agreement among the relevant experts over y; y is an appropriate field in which consensus is possible; therefore, y should be accepted. See pp. 312–314. 8. d) The premise that there is wide agreement among the relevant experts over y . According to the argument, the agreement in the field is in the past. Behaviourism “swept” through the academic world, and “was” considered ground-breaking. That suggests that, although the arguer is not willing to admit it explicitly, the academic world has moved on. See pp. 314–318. 9. a) There is limited or insufficient agreement among the relevant experts over y . According to the argument, agreement in the field existed at some time in the past, and may not be current. See pp. 322–324. 10. d) Shakespeare’s claims about human character should not be accepted . Argument against authority proceeds as follows: X is not an authority on y; therefore, X ’s advocating some claim about y does not provide support for it. See pp. 318–319. 11. a) He lacks relevant credentials . The arguer says very clearly that, in his/her view, Shakespeare is not an expert because Shakespeare is not a psychologist. See p. 322. 12. a) Show that the credentials are relevant . This is really the only option. The arguer has already noted that Shakespeare is seen by many to have great insight into human character. So that opens up a path for a counter-argument to travel along, perhaps by making an ad populum argument. If millions of people believe Shakespeare is insightful, is it really likely that they are wrong? See pp. 322–324. 13. e) B. F. Skinner’s claims about human character are creditable . Honour by association proceeds as follows: A person or group X is associated with another person or group Y; Y has creditable beliefs or behaves in a creditable way; therefore, X ’s character or claims are creditable. See pp. 326–327. 14. b) The premise that Y has creditable beliefs or behaves in a creditable way . The alternative won’t work, so this is the only possible area of weakness in the argument. See pp. 328–329. 15. a) Y does not have creditable beliefs or behaves in a way that is not creditable . This, if established, would directly undermine the claim in the argument. In this case, a counter- argument could be made by pointing to beliefs or behaviours of behaviourists that do not deserve to be credited. This doesn’t have to be extreme behaviour. Most academic schools of thought have some extreme adherents who believe in odd things or use objectionable methods. A counter-argument could proceed by pointing them out and explaining why they should not be credited. See pp. 328–329....
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