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deductive arguments, and nondeductive arguments and deductive argument persuading us to a conclusion, and a theory explaining why the conclusion is true

 

The Logic course concerns the basic concepts and methods of logic as placed within the need for rational communication, whether it be needed to reach agreement, to resolve a dispute, to take decisive action, or simply to come to a common understanding. In logic, we are concerned with evaluating if and in what manner a conclusion follows from the premises and the truth value of the conclusion as it relates to the premises. Broadly speaking, there are two types of arguments: deductive arguments where the conclusion follows necessarily, and nondeductive arguments where the conclusion follows probably. There is also a difference between a deductive argument persuading us to a conclusion, and a theory explaining why the conclusion is true. This course prepares the student to be able to understand, evaluate, and discuss real world discourse, i.e., the arguments and theories encountered in everyday life. In Chapter 11, our text Critical Reasoning synthesizes the course material into a six-step procedure. At the end of that chapter in Exercise 11.1 Exercise 3, there is a selection of recent articles on relevant contemporary topics. The student will evaluate the argument or arguments put forward in Exercise 11.1 Exercise 3 in one of the articles marked a, b, c, d, e, or f according to the six-step procedure. Students will first identify the arguments and then criticize and evaluate them, following closely the guidelines provided in Chapter 11 for the six-step procedure. This is an essential skill in all communication and subsequently an important skill in the acquisition of information literacy. Combining all the concepts and methods learned this semester as embodied in the six-step procedure, the student will reconstruct and evaluate the argument, distinguishing between deductive and nondeductive arguments and using the proper methods relevant to each, and how these types of arguments work together to bring about the overall conclusion the article argues for.

SIX STEPS:
STEP 1: Identify all the explicit premises or conclusions, paraphrase or restate assertions made by the passage. But even if no premises can be copied word for word from the passage, some premises might be strongly suggested and easily paraphrased from what is actually written.
STEP 2: Step of identifying implicit premises typically amounts to adding any premises that are needed to make the conclusion follows. Adding an implicit conclusion consists of adding a conclusion that would follow from the interpreted premises, if the conclusion is not already stated in the passage.
STEP 3: Determining whether the conclusion follows will often be carried out in the process of adding implicit premisses or an implicit conclusion. Or, the argument might contain an unclear expression that occurs more then once.
STEP 4: Determining whether the premises should be accepted or rejected. More detailed techniques for evaluating additional kinds of premises, particularly definitional premises and empirical generalizations as well as convergent arguments and scientific theories. If you decide that the premises should be accepted, then you are done with your evaluation. If you decide to reject the argument, you move to a reassessment stage at Step 5.
STEP 5: If you find that the conclusion of an argument does not follow or the premises are unacceptable, the flowchart directs you to consider giving q more charitable interpretation of the argument. If an argument can be interpreted in such a way that the conclusion follows and the premises are acceptable, then the flowchart calls for the conclusion to be accepted. If, on the other hand, there is no reasonable way of interpreting the argument so that it passes these tests, the argument should be rejected.
STEP 6: However, if an argument is rejected, the flowchart calls for the additional step of considering why the argument may have seemed persuasive. Step 6 can also serve as an occasion to suggest what direction might be taken to improve the argument being examined. Often some core of reasonableness that presenter of the argument was not able to adequately express lies behind the argument being offered. But in applying the 6 step procedure you might have developed some ideas about how a different but related argument could be constructed that would be acceptable.

 
ARTICLE:
THE PRICE OF BEAUTY IS TOO HIGH
A website auctioning the eggs of fashion models promotes an unhealthy idea. It encourages parents to fixate on their child’s physical appearance.
Ron Harris, a fashion photographer, organized the auction. Bids start at $15,000 and can go to $150,000. Harris characterized the sale of the model’s eggs as “Darwin at his very best.” American society is obsessed with celebrity beauty, Harris says in trying to justify the sale. At the website, he writes, “If you could increase the chance of reproducing beautiful children, and this giving them an advantage in society, would you?’
He also states: “It is not my intention to suggest we make a super society of only beautiful people. This site simply mirrors our current society in that beauty always goes to the highest bidder.”
The commercial aspect of Harris’ enterprise isn’t so unusual. Sperm has been available essentially as a commodity for years now. The most notorious example is genius sperm bank at which included donations form William Shockley, a Nobel Prize winning scientist. Harris says, in fact, that he plans an online auction of sperm in the future.
It’s also true that women who donate their eggs deserve monetary compensation for inconvenience and discomfort they experience as a result of hormone treatments and physical removal of the eggs. A payment in range of $2,500 to $5,000 is most common.
The last thing American society needs, however, is the shallow beauty worship Harris promotes. Harris is encouraging parents to engineer a desired appearance for their child hardly a healthy philosophy around which to build a family. There’s no guarantee, after all, that the children produced though Harris’ projects will meet the parents’ expected standards of beauty. If the parents wind up with a boy or girl they considered an ugly duckling, the child could be weighed down by a horrible burden .
Harris’ beauty obsessed rhetoric would have the world imagine that people with less then perfect features are somehow inferior. But modest physical attributes needn’t stop individuals from achieving greatness. Consider the great good accomplished by Abraham Lincoln, whose physical appearances was such that his political foes derided him as an “ape.” Albert Einstein had puffy hair, yet he turned modern science inside out with his revolutionary thinking. Golda Meir may not have been a beauty queen, but she proved to be strong leader of Israel.
Parents often discover that their child falls short in one regard or another, or that their child has developed interests far different from what the parents had expected and yet the parent’s love remains undiminished.
Harris urges parents to look on their children as physical objects. Well adjusted parents, however, regard their offspring as individuals precious yet imperfect individuals. And they love them for what they are.

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