A Practical Study of Argument 7th Edition Solution

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A Practical Study of Argument 7th Edition Solution

CHAPTER 1

What Is an Argument? (And What Is Not?)

 

The most important ideas in this chapter are:

  • Arguments can be given for our beliefs, and the fact that we have opinions and ‘have a right to our opinions’ does not preclude giving such arguments.
  • These arguments can be better or worse and we can reach informed judgments about what makes them better or worse.
  • To offer an argument for a claim, C, is to put forward other claims, PI, P2, etc, as reasons supporting C. (4) The premises are supposed to support the conclusion; the idea is that one reasons from the premises to the conclusion.

Obstacles frequently encountered in connection with this material are:

  • General relativism;
  • Relativism supported by cliches such as “it’s all a matter of opinion,” “isn’t it just a matter of opinion?”, “that’s just his opinion,” “everyone has a right to his opinion,” and so on;
  • Relativism supported by the idea that it would be rude to disagree with someone else;
  • An inability to pick out arguments;
  • A tendency to reverse the direction in arguments or not understand that there should be any direction and, thus, to confuse the conclusion with the premises;
  • A tendency to think that every passage must contain either an argument or an explanation.

 

If feasible, one might conduct a general discussion on the opinion/relativism issues. With regard to argument structure, if students are having trouble with this, one might provide extra examples and recommend some strategy such as underlining all conclusions in red and all premises in green. One could really emphasize indicator words and, if providing extra examples, make sure these contain many of these words.

 

Exercise 1

  1. There is no argument here. The first sentence is a factual statement and the second offers an informal definition.
  2. Answer in text.
  3. This passage does contain an argument. The conclusion is that no one can know any claim with certainty.  The other three sentences are premises, put forward to support that conclusion.
  4. Answer in text.
  5. This passage does not contain an argument. There is merely a statement that one person is a better tennis player than another. No support is provided for the claim made.
  6. Answer in text.
  7. This passage contains an argument. The indicator word “so” precedes the conclusion, which is that no atheist can demonstrate his loyalty to the state. Note: in identifying this statement as the conclusion, adapted from John Locke, we are not implying that the statement is true.
  8. This passage does contain an argument. The first part of the sentence is the conclusion, and the rest, following the word “because” supplies a reason for that conclusion.
  9. Answer in text.
  10. Answer in text.
  11. This passage contains an argument. The conclusion is, “You also need to keep toxic radioactive substances from the workers.” The support is signaled by the presence of “Because” at the beginning of the second sentence. Note: The concept of a subargument is not introduced until the next chapter and there is really no need to bring it in here. However, if especially perceptive students raise a question about the role of the last sentence in the passage, it can be explained in this way: The words “You see” at the beginning of the third sentence also serve as a premise indicator. However, here the intended support is not for the main conclusion, but for the statement, “The dose [of toxic radioactive substances] that federal regulations allow workers to get is sufficient to create a genetic hazard to the whole human species.”
  12. This passage does not contain an argument. It offers practical advice on what is needed for long-term business success, but does not provide any premises offering reasons to back up that advice.
  13. Answer in text.
  14. There is an argument. The premise is that I shall pass through this world but once; this premise is expressed in the first sentence and again, in slightly different words, in the last part of the second sentence in “I shall not pass this way again.” The conclusion is that any kindness I can do should be done at once, not deferred or neglected.
  15. Answer in text.
  16. This passage contains an argument. The conclusion is the first parts of the sentence, “knowledge is happiness.” The premise is expressed in the rest of the sentence.
  17. This passage does not contain an argument.
  18. Answer in text.
  19. This passage does not contain an argument. It consists of a series of questions.

 

Exercise 2: Part A

  1. Answer in text.
  2. This passage contains an argument. The conclusion is the first statement. The sentence, “This point is quite easy to prove,” indicates that support for the conclusion is coming, and the reason is provided in the third sentence.
  3. Answer in text.
  4. Answer in text.
  5. Answer in text.
  6. This passage contains an argument; two reasons are given for the conclusion, which is that one should not despair. Why not? First, because it would be unhelpful; second, because there is not enough time.
  7. Answer in text.
  8. This passage contains an argument for the conclusion that human beings are not the only animals that communicate with each other. The premise state that dolphins, whales, elephants, and even bees communicate with each other.
  9. This passage does contain an argument. The conclusion is that the local hospital will not manage to prevent the spread of disease on its premises. The indicator word “so” precedes the conclusion. The first two sentences are premises.
  10. Answer in text.
  11. This passage does not contain an argument. It offers a favorable description of Miller’s writing style.
  12. Answer in text.
  13. This passage contains an argument. The conclusion is “Licensing nuclear power plants is licensing murder.” The first two statements are premises put forward to support that conclusion.
  14. Answer in text.
  15. Answer in text.
  16. This passage does contain an argument. The conclusion is that one is not an isolated individual but rather a member of a larger society. The premise is that one’s life, security, liberty and happiness depend on the cooperation of other people.
  17. This passage contains an argument. The conclusion is, “Marketing practices should not induce mothers who otherwise would be willing and able to breast-feed to switch to the bottle.” The second, third, and fourth sentences are the premises.
  18. Answer in text.
  19. Answer in text.

 

Exercise 2: Part B

This exercise requires student answers with regard to the contexts of explanation and argument.

 

 

 

 

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