First Exam on Friday, September 28th
Topics that will be covered on the midterm exam (Chapters 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and 8)
Arguments and Evaluating Arguments
· Conclusions and premises
· “Good arguments”
· Deductive validity and inductive strength
· Principal of Charity
· Principle of Rational Acceptance
· Deductive argument patterns
o Hypothetical syllogisms (modus ponens, chain argument, modus tollens, denying the antecedent, affirming the consequent) and which are unreliable
o Categorical syllogisms
o Argument by elimination
o Argument by mathematics
o Argument from definition
· Deductive validity
· Inductive reasoning patterns
o Predictive argument
o Argument from authority
o Causal argument
o Statistical argument
o Argument from analogy
· Inductive strength
· Fallacies of Relevance
o Ad hominem abusive
o Ad hominem circumstantial
o To quoque
o Two wrongs
o Argumentum ad baculum
o Argumentum ad misericoriam
o Argumentum ad populum
o Straw man
o Red herring
o Argumentum ad ignoratiam
o Begging the question
o Ignoratio elenchi
· Fallacies of Evidence
o Argumentum ad verecundiam
o Argumentum ad ignoratiam
o False alternatives
o Loaded question
o Questionable cause (post hoc, mere correlation, oversimplification)
o Hasty generalization
o Slippery slope
o Weak analogy
· Why fallacies occur and why we should avoid them
Some sample questions
1. Define each of the characteristics of Critical Thinking (clarity, precision, accuracy, consistency).
2. Describe any two of the barriers to critical thinking (egocentrism, sociocentrism, unwarranted assumptions and stereotypes, wishful thinking). Why might these barriers exist?
3. Identify whether each of the following sentences are statements or just sentences:
a. What time is it?
b. I feel some pain in my left knee.
c. Don’t you realize that smoking is bad for your health?
d. Roses are red and violets are blue.
e. Canada is in South America
4. In the following statements, circle the premise(s) and underline the conclusion(s):
a. “You want to be very careful about lying; otherwise you are nearly sure to get caught.” Mark Twain
b. “Since light takes time to reach our eyes, all that we see really existed in the past.” Louis Pojam
c. You have to be 18 or older to vote. Since you’re only 16, you can’t vote.
d. “Has it ever occurred to you how lucky you are to be alive? More than 99% of all creatures that have ever lived have died without progeny, but not a single one of your ancestors falls into this group!” Daniel C. Dennett
e. How can anyone in his right mind criticize the state police for speed traps? If you’re not speeding, you don’t have to worry about them. It could save your life if some other speeder is stopped.
5. Identify whether each of the following passages contain arguments or not. If it’s a non-argument, explain why.
a. The newspaper said that it’s going to rain tomorrow.
b. Don’t turn the music up so loud. It’s easy to damage your hearing.
c. If Sam comes to the party then Sarah will come to the party.
d. Cats are smarter than dogs. Cats would never pull around a sled!
6. What is the difference between a deductive argument and an inductive argument?
7. Indicate whether the following arguments are deductive or inductive:
a. Every ruby discovered so far has been red. So, probably all rubies are red.
b. The bank safe was robbed last night. Whoever robbed the safe knew that combination.
c. Socrates was Greek. Most Greeks wore togas. So Socrates probably wore a toga.
d. The murder occurred in the library. Joe never entered the library. Therefore, Joe cannot be the murderer.
e. All oranges are fruit. All fruit grows on trees. Therefore, oranges grow on trees.
8. In two to three paragraphs, discuss the characteristics that make an argument a “good” argument.
9. What is the difference between a fallacy of relevance and a fallacy of evidence?
10. Identify the fallacy that exists in the following arguments. If the argument does not contain a fallacy, write “no fallacy.” (I’ll provide a list of fallacies on the exam).
a. I’m not a doctor, but I play one on tv. You should use the aspirin that I use.
b. I don’t think there will be a nuclear war. I couldn’t sleep if I believed that!
c. If you break curfew one more time, we’re taking away your car.
d. Religion is a universal. After all, all cultures have religion.
e. You should keep that chain letter going. Last time I broke a chain letter, I lost my job the next week.
11. Discuss why a persuasive argument is not necessarily a “good” argument.