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Good reasoning matters a constructive approach to

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Unformatted text preview: Good Reasoning Matters! A Constructive Approach to Critical Thinking, Fifth Edition © Oxford University Press Canada, 2012 e) [From Michael Kesterton, “Social Studies: a daily miscellany of information,” The Globe and Mail , 13 May 1997 p. A20] The murder rate in Britain would be at least triple what it is now if it weren’t for improvements in medicine and the growing skills of surgeons and paramedics, experts believe. “The murder rate is artificially low now,” says Professor Bernard Knight, a leading pathologist. “People say there were far more murders in the old days, but the woundings that happen now would have been murders then,” he told the Independent on Sunday. “If you look at the rise in [the] murder rate, it is very small, but look at the wounding figures and the graph goes up 45 degrees. If that number of woundings had occurred years ago the murder rate would have been massive.” P1 = The murder rate in Britain would be at least triple what it is now if it weren’t for improvements in medicine and the growing skills of surgeons and paramedics [X is correlated with Y.] P2 = If you look at the rise in [the] murder rate, it is very small, but look at the wounding figures and the graph goes up 45 degrees. If that number of woundings had occurred years ago the murder rate would have been massive.” [The correlation between X and Y is not due to chance.] HP3= The correlation between X and Y is not due to some mutual cause Z. HP4= Y is not the cause of X. C = improvements in medicine and the growing skills of surgeons and paramedics cause a decrease in the murder rate in Britain [X causes Y]. The extended claim is that woundings in the past would have been murders because the level of medical attention was not sufficient to prevent them. Thus, improvements in medicine and medical skills have decreased the murder rate. The premises we have (relying on relevant experts) indicate that the correlation both exists and is unlikely to be due to chance. We can rule out a third causal factor producing both the lower murder rate and the medical advances, and we know the murder rate did not (directly) cause the medical advances. So we have a plausible causal argument. Major Exercise 9M 2. Decide whether each of the following passages contains an argument. If it does, assess the reasoning. For any specific argument schemes dealt with in this chapter, explain whether the argument fulfills the conditions for good arguments of that scheme. a) Walking in the bird sanctuary I again saw my neighbour with his dog, and a son previous occasions, the dog had a bird feather in his collar. My neighbor now tells me that when his dog wears a feather, he thinks he’s a bird and thus doesn’t chase other birds. I assume he’s relying on the hidden premise that “birds don’t chase birds.” But that’s not the case: birds do chase other birds....
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