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§ We have used this encyclopedia for ten years and neither of us has found a mistake in it. § This encyclopedia is widely celebrated as the most accurate in history. § The staff of the encyclopedia has no reason to lie about this. Evidence and Warrant: Making the Distinction 1 The Distinction
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Intro into Ethics Professor: Jacob Affolter · The distinction between evidence and warrant turns on an important point about arguments. o The core structure of an argument is: § X is a reason to believe Y. o A special case of this relationship is: § X is a reason to believe that Y is a reason to believe Z. · Core Structure Revisited o The key to understanding evidence and warrant is that anytime you present a claim, people can ask two questions: § Is this claim true? § Is this claim a good reason to believe what it supposedly supports? · Example: Alice and the Interstate o First part: Asking for Evidence o Second part: Asking for Warrant (You might notice that when Alice asks for warrant, she is always referring back to the evidence. In a sense, there always has to be some evidence before you can ask why the evidence works.) Putting the Picture Together 1. The “tendons” of any argument is the following relationship: · X supports Y. · We could also put this in other terms: o X provides a reason to believe Y. o X is evidence for Y. o X supports Y. o X proves Y. o Etc., etc., etc. 2. Whenever someone presents X as a reason to believe Y, then we can ask two questions: a. Why should I believe that X is a good reason to believe Y? b. Why should I believe that X is true?
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Intro into Ethics Professor: Jacob Affolter 3. In our terms: a. The first question asks for warrant. b. The second question asks for evidence. Where Arguments go Wrong 1. The Basic Problem · An argument breaks down if, at any point, we are unable to answer the following questions: o Why should we believe that X is a good reason to believe Y? o Why should we believe that X is true? · If it turns out that there are strong reasons to doubt either of these points, then the argument breaks down. 2. Illustration: No Evidence · Example: Best-Selling Books · Key Point: If you don’t believe that a claim is true, then it does not matter how well it supports the claim that it is supposed to prove. 3 Illustration: No Warrant · Example: High-Paying Jobs · Key Point: If your claim does not support what it is supposed to support, then it does not matter whether or not it is true. 4. General Point · If you are going to convince someone by saying “X is a reason to believe Y”, than two things had better be true: o X is true.
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  • Fall '19
  • Jacob Affolter

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