Phil 347/ critical thinking, reasoning


        Assignment: Journal         

Required Resources
Read/review the following resources for this activity:

  • Textbook: Chapter 8, 9, 17 (Introduction); review Chapter 7
  • Lesson

Remember – your  actual journal entry should be somewhat brief; most of your time should  be spent thinking about the questions asked and the issues raised. Your  thoughts should then be distilled into a mini-argument that will  respond affirmatively to the four tests for evaluating arguments:  truthfulness of premises, logical strength, relevance, and  non-circularity.

For this journal assignment, briefly answer each of the following prompts:

  • Inference: The differing meanings of “valid inference”  and “warranted inference” are closely related to the differing purposes  of deductive and inductive arguments – the purpose of deductive being to  prove; the purpose of inductive to make the conclusion most probable. 
    • Look up the words “valid” and “warranted.” Each of these words, you  will find, has what is known as a lexical definition – that is just the  dictionary definition of the word. Words also have a certain  connotations – meanings that go beyond their lexical definitions;  associated ideas and concepts – think of terms such a “fur baby” as the  name for a pet.
    • Briefly discuss how the lexical definitions and connotations of  “valid” and “warranted” can help us understand the differing purposes of  deductive and inductive arguments.
  • Fallacies: In Section 8.2, the text states that there  are “fallacious argument templates” (Facione & Gittens, p. 167) and  then gives a number of examples. The authors further state: “Analysis of  the meanings of the terms used and the grammatical rules of the  language reveal the source of error” (p.167). 
    • Choose one of the fallacies in this section, such as Denying the  Antecedent or False Classification and pair it with the valid argument  template. For example, if you choose Denying the Antecedent, the valid  argument template will be Denying the Consequent. False Classification  would pair with one of the fallacies in Reasoning About Classes of  Objects.
    • Explain, in your own words, how the fallacy is revealed through  analysis of the valid argument template. Think of it this way – if you  know how the heart works, you will know that certain malfunctions will  prevent it from working.  For example, if you know that the coronary  arteries supply the heart with blood, then you can reason that a  blockage will stop that vital flow. So this journal prompt asks you to  explain, in your own words, how one of the valid argument templates work  – and how that exposes the fallacy connected with that type of  argument.
  • Civic Responsibility: At the end of Chapter 9 there is a  Bonus Exercise that asks you to research and analyze the 2009 debate  over the healthcare public option. If you were actually to complete that  exercise, it would take quite a bit of time and effort. 
    • Do you think that completing such an exercise would be time well spent or time wasted? If well-spent, why? If time wasted, why?
    • Is there any issue on which you think a comparable amount of time and effort would be worthwhile?
    • As a critical thinker, do you believe that citizens have an  obligation to be informed on topics of current interest? If yes, why, if  no, why not?

If you include references to outside sources (beyond the textbook), make sure you cite them properly.

Writing Requirements (APA format)

  • Length: 2-3 pages (not including title page or references page)
  • 1-inch margins
  • Double spaced
  • 12-point Times New Roman font
  • Title page
  • References page (as needed)

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