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Good vs. Bad ArgumentsSwitching Our FocusExample 1 of an Inductive ArgumentExample 2 of an Inductive ArgumentA Common MisconceptionStatistical GeneralizationsAssessing Statistical GeneralizationsUnconscious BiasHow to lie with StatisticsThe Uses of Argument What is an Argument?*For our purposes, an argument is a set of two or more true or false sentences. One of which is called the conclusion and the rest of which are called premises.-How are these sentences related to each other in an argument? Premises are given to the purpose of providing reasons or logical support, for believing or understanding the conclusion. Why are arguments important?*If every true sentence were obviously true, then there would be no need for paying attention to arguments. That is not the case, however, so arguments are a way of having reasonable beliefs about non-obvious matters.*Some questions that arguments are useful in answering are: Is A true? & Why is A true?Is A True? *Attempts to convince someone (even yourself) that some sentence is true is called a “justification”-We are only concerned with normative justifications. Normative Justifications are when you convince someone in a legitimate way in other words, convincing someone that a sentence is true because there is good reason to think that it is true and a reasonable person ought to believe it. -Compare normative justification with “justifications” by deceit. Two Kinds of Normative Justification *Impersonal normative justification-These justifications ought to convince any reasonable person (Example: a proof that the Pythagorean theorem is true or the fact that H2O is water since many scientists’ experiments have supported this hypothesis)*Personal Normative Justification-Justifications that only apply to a certain set of people-They take the form of “If you believe A, then you should also believe B-All people in the group have to believe A(Example: If YOU believe The Hobbit is the greatest movie of all time, you can’t deny that Peter Jackson has made a great movie. This is personal because not everyone believes that The Hobbit was a great movie)Why is A true?*Attempts to account for why something is true are called “explanations” (Already grants that A is true because there is a justification)-Often we have justified beliefs, but they nonetheless puzzle us. (Example: Say you loan a friend some ear buds and when you get them back you notice teeth marks on the cord. You don’t need to be given an argument to convince you that someone chewed them since your senses give all of theevidence. You will want an argument to explain why anyone chewed on the cord, since that seems strange.)General Principles and Explanations*Given all our experiences and experiments, we are quite confident that some “general principles” hold in the world such as genetic theory*Many explanations, especially in science, are arguments with those well-established general principles and laws as premises, along with specific details of the situation that is under investigation.(Example: If you want to know why you have the blood type that you have, you can apply the principles of genetics to your parent’s blood types)Some Claims to Explain (From the Textbook on Page 9)#4: There are more psychoanalysts in NYC than in any other city or for that matter, in most countries in the worldYou could say that more people cause a higher demand. Given the larger populations there are also more people who can have those jobs.#5: Average Temperatures tend to be higher closer to the equatorYou could give an astronomical explanation such as it has more direct sunlight.#7: Almost no textbooks are more than 18 inches high.You could say that this is not practical, and there is a low demand for impractical things, therefore almost none are made. January 15, 2013Why care about language in this class?*All arguments are presented in language-Of course it is not the case that all things presented in language are arguments. Example: “I promise to pay you $20 next week.” This is a statement not an argument*A feature of language that is particularly relevant to critical thinking is the conventionality of language -Language only exists when there are conventions (roughly accepted rules) for the use of symbols-We assume what a word is what other people think it meansHow do conventions work?*In the United States we drive on the right side of the road where as in England they drive on the left. Do we have the only correct standard? NO*In the United States chips mean thin crispy snacks where as in England chips mean French fries. It allows us to distinguish between things. Again, do we have the only correct standard? NOCan words mean anything then?*In one sense yes: You can imagine a world where everyone uses the word chips in the same way that we do, differently than we do, or not at all.*In another sense no: Given that we, the people in this room, all speak American English when talking with each other, none of us can legitimately use words while ignoring the conventions for these words-What would come of you saying that “grass is typically blue” to mean that the sky is typically blue? It just confuses everyone and your statement doesn’t change the fact that the sky is blue and the grass is green (since these facts are stated in English)The “It depends on what you mean” defense*Occasionally, this appraisal will be appropriate: For example: if someone says it is wise to put your money in a bank, whether or not that it is true really does depend on what he or she means by “bank” since we have multiple conventions for using that word*More often, this appraisal is inappropriate: Why is it inappropriate for someone to say abortion is immoral for me but moral for you since we mean different things by abortion.” Because abortion means the same thing for both people Linguistic Markers*Recall from last time that an argument is a set of two or more true or false sentences, but it is not just that-Socrates is a man. All men are moral. Socrates is moral-For ^ to be an argument, you need to add a argument marker such as therefore to the beginning of the third sentence.-If you add the therefore, it clearly indicates that there is a logical connection between the sentences-Socrates is mortal is the conclusion since it follows therefore, the rest of the sentences are meant to provide reasons for that conclusion.*Remember we call the supporting sentences “premises”*Words

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FSU PHI 2100 - The Uses of Argument

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