Exam Question 1: In your own words, explain the difference between inductive and deductive arguments. Give your own examples. Then explain why reasonable people should believe the conclusions of sound arguments.



Roscoe and Bobby are having lunch at an outside table. They have just ordered their food.


BOBBY: Have you heard that they are going to make a movie out of the book Walter O’Reilly?


ROSCOE: I have just heard about that, and I’m not too happy. Do you know who they have to adapt the book?


BOBBY: Yeah, I think I read that they were going to have Roger Davis do it.


ROSCOE: No way! I can already tell you the movie is going to be terrible. They have the guy whose claim to fame is that he wrote Bongo Goes to College. There is not a chance that he could make that movie work.


BOBBY: What makes you so sure?


ROSCOE: Bongo Goes to College is one the worst movie ever made. Roger Davis is going to write the script for Walter O’Reilly. Since Bongo Goes to College was horrible, Walter O’Reilly is to be horrible as well.


BOBBY: Your argument is weak; you’re using bad logic.


ROSCOE: Let’s pretend I have no idea what you are talking about.


BOBBY: You’re giving a weak inductive argument. You are using bad logic.


ROSCOE: Well, what is bad logic?


BOBBY: Let me tell you what it is. It was bad logic when your premise failed to support your conclusion. You have not seen what he has done to the book yet, so you have no idea how it will turn out.


ROSCOE: So you are telling me that if I were to have good logic, then my premise would support my conclusion?


BOBBY: That is correct. Good logic says that the conclusion will follow from its premise. [SAL1] You can also say that the premise supports the conclusion.


ROSCOE: Why are saying that my argument is weak…inductively?


BOBBY: That is simple; when you have an inductive argument with bad logic they’re[SAL2]  weak. When you claimed that the premise made the conclusion. [SAL3] 


ROSCOE: I understand what you are saying now. Could you continue to refresh me by telling me what the opposite of inductive is?


BOBBY: That is deductive. Do you want me to go on?


(ROSCOE nods yes.)


A deductive argument is one that would guarantee the true conclusion, which is [SAL4] if the premise is true. Do you want to hear an example?


ROSCOE: Do tell me.


BOBBY: I must tell you of validity before I tell you an example. As with the strong and weak inductive arguments, there is not a way that the premise can be true while the conclusion is false. [SAL5] My example would be:


              The Governor of California lives in the Governor’s mansion. Gray Davis is the Governor of California. Hence, Gray Davis lives in the Governor’s mansion.


ROSCOE: I think I know an example of an invalid deductive argument.


BOBBY: Let me hear it.


ROSCOE: Kent fell off the roof of his house. So Kent is dead.


BOBBY: That’s right. We never know if Kent got up and walked away or if he had become paralyzed after falling. There is not enough information. Reasonable people accept these arguments and now, you should too.


ROSCOE: So tell me why reasonable people should believe the conclusion of deductive arguments?[SAL6] 


BOBBY: You see, if reasonable people believe these conclusions, then they are “sound” conclusions. [SAL7] That means the logic is good and the conclusions are valid. If you are a reasonable person you will trust sound conclusions.


Just then the waiter came to the table with the lunch for Bobby and Roscoe.



Essay question 2: Write an essay that critically analyzes the argument in the following passage.

              “Whatever people say, they're just expressing their personal opinions. And opinions are subjective, after all. Because every person's set of personal experiences is unique, nobody can be objective. Every person comes from somewhere; there's no "view from nowhere." And so there's really no such thing as "knowledge," since knowledge requires objectivity. All honest opinions are equally correct. In fact, I'd even go further: I'd say there's no such thing as objective "reality." We all live in our own private little worlds. Who can say their reality is more real than anyone else's?”


     I will go down the Critical Thinking Checklist. What to take out of here is the premises and the conclusions. [SAL8] In the first sentence there is premise of “expressing personal opinions”.[SAL9]  That is then to be concluded [SAL10] with “opinions are subjective, because of every personal experiences are unique, [SAL11] nobody can be objective”. Then the writer goes on to say, “every person comes from somewhere so hence[SAL12]  there’s no view from nowhere.” While the writer claims “there is no such thing as knowledge since it requires objectivity.”[SAL13]  Then, “all honest opinions are correct… there is no such thing as objective reality. We live in our own private worlds. Who can say their reality is more real than anyone else’s.” As long as we are living in our private worlds, nobody else can affect your day by crashing into you [SAL14] car, and just saying “Sorry about that and drive off”[SAL15] . We are living in the same time, our reality is what we get.[SAL16] 

     The second step is clarity, checking for objectionable vagueness, to see if any part of the argument is unnecessary. The sentence, “Because every person’s set of personal experiences is unique, no ones can be [SAL17] objective”. This cannot be true, because you could all be at a park playing basketball one day, and your buddy shoots the game winning [SAL18] shot. There is no way you can say that it could not be objective, because the ten players on the court saw what happened.  Further down in the argument I do not have any clue why the writer added, “Every person comes from somewhere”. It’s probably in there just to add in more words.

     I’m going to go over if there are any false or dubious steps[SAL19] . “Every person comes form somewhere”. This is correct, although not necessary in this argument because it has nothing to do with the argument. “All honest opinions are equally correct”. That is about as false a premise as you can get. One could be entitled to an opinion, but that never means it is the correct opinion. “There is no objective reality”. This can be refuted because the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were right in front of our eyes. Or to say the same of starving children in Africa or even here in the United States. [SAL20] 

     I like to think this argument is deductive. Yet the argument is invalid, because the premises makes false conclusions. [SAL21] The writer claims there is “no such thing as knowledge since knowledge is objective”. It could sound like the writer is committing the fallacy of appealing to ignorance. That is by stating that the claim has not yet been proven false, so the claim must be true. 

     To conclude, the argument lacks of [SAL22] clarity. This makes the argument invalid. [SAL23] 


Essay question 3: Write an essay that critically analyzes the argument in the following passage.

              "I’m against abortion, even very early in pregnancy, and here’s why. On the day a mother goes to the hospital to give birth, it’s pretty clear to everyone that what she’s got inside her at that point is a little person. The nurses and doctors call it her "baby" even if it hasn’t been born yet. Now what about the previous day, the day before the delivery? Nothing much has changed. It’s still a little person — just a slightly younger person. And what about the previous day — the day before the day before delivery? Slightly younger again, but still a person. Where do you draw the line? I say you can’t. And for that reason, no matter how many days you count back, it’s still a person, and killing it at any point is wrong."


          Bobby and Roscoe are now reading this argument on a bulletin board. 

ROSCOE: Seriously, where do you draw the line?


BOBBY: The concept of abortion is an open concept[SAL24] ; there is no way of specifying of what is right or wrong here.


ROSCOE: You mean like a Catch-22; damned if you do, damned if you don’t.


BOBBY: You can say that, but you have no idea of knowing what to argue, [SAL25] because you have no idea how to define some of these concepts. English teachers call it the Continuum Fallacy. [SAL26] The phrase right here in this argument: “Where do you draw the line?” [SAL27] 


ROSCOE: What you are kind of saying is that living or dead is like having tongue ring or not having a tongue ring?


BOBBY: You’re on the right track, but you are missing the part about the definition. We all know what a tongue ring is, yet people still debate to this day if a fetus is alive or not. The writer at the end the passage believes now that they[SAL28]  have written it, the reader has to believe that they have a good argument.


ROSCOE: Yet they really don’t have a good argument reasonable people could understand.


BOBBY: Just like we discussed earlier.


ROSCOE: Well what about blowing a kiss to a girl, and she then turns around and slaps you with a lawsuit for sexual harassment.


BOBBY: True, as times change so does society and what we think of things. Sexual harassment was not a big deal until the late 1980’s and before that people could get away with it. Even today the concept of sexual harassment is an open one, it is shaky in a sense that it is not completely defined. Just as abortion is not completely defined. [SAL29] 


ROSCOE: You mean in the sense of when a fetus is living?


BOBBY: Yes, open concepts are a good thing for this reason. It[SAL30]  lets us fix things that our society was ignoring before and repairing when they [SAL31] realize what they have done.


ROSCOE: If you cannot define the term, the debating seems to get you nowhere since the key concepts are still not known.[SAL32] 


BOBBY: You now have the understanding of where this argument has gone wrong. If your reasons are good then you will not sound ignorant to your peers[SAL33] .

 [SAL1] 12 If an argument has good logic, its premises (if true) would support its conclusion. 

 [SAL2] 9, 3

 [SAL3] 32

 [SAL4] 32

 [SAL5] 32 The premises can be true and the conclusion false in both strong and weak inductive arguments.

 [SAL6] This is not the question asked, right?  A deductive argument could easily have a false conclusion: it could be invalid, or it could have bad information (false premises).

 [SAL7] 44 NO!  First, the word “sound” is reserved for arguments (not statements – the conclusion is a statement).  Second, soundness of an argument simply does not depend on whether anybody believes the conclusion.

 [SAL8] 10

 [SAL9] 32 Premises and conclusions of arguments have to be statements.  A statement has to have a subject and a predicate. “Expressing personal opinions” is a phrase; it’s not a statement, so it can’t function as a premise.

 [SAL10] 22

 [SAL11] 6 this is not quoted accurately.  If you surround something with quotation marks, it must be an EXACT quote.

 [SAL12] 10, and misuse of quotes again

 [SAL13] 5

 [SAL14] 6

 [SAL15] 13 Look at where the second set of quotes is!

 [SAL16] 32, 36

 [SAL17] 6, 2

 [SAL18] 6 “game-winning”

 [SAL19] 32 steps?  Meaning what exactly?

 [SAL20] 5

 [SAL21] 44 This is a serious misunderstanding of validity.  An argument can be valid and have a false conclusion.

 [SAL22] 10

 [SAL23] 44 No – if an argument isn’t clear – so you can’t tell what the statements mean – then  you can’t begin to ask whether it’s valid.   This essay was supposed to discuss the assigned reading on subjectivity and objectivity.

 [SAL24] The relevant open concept in this argument is “baby” or “person”.  We pretty much know how to identify abortions.

 [SAL25] 32

 [SAL26] English teachers rarely know about the Continuum Fallacy.

 [SAL27] 5

 [SAL28] 3

 [SAL29] 5, 22

 [SAL30] 9

 [SAL31] 9

 [SAL32] 22, 44



None of these essays demonstrates familiarity with concepts and terminology of assigned reading.  Content Grade:  D

Deduction for tech errors: 10%

Grade: F