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Week 1-5 Review Notes

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by: Shane Ng

Week 1-5 Review Notes Phil 103

Shane Ng

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We just finished a midterm today, but these are the notes for it if you are interested in revising.
PHIL 103 Critical Reasoning
Daniela Vallega-Neu
philosophy, critical thinking, Critical Reasoning
75 ?




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"Better than the professor's notes. I could actually understand what the heck was going on. Will be back for help in this class."
Will Bergstrom

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This 5 page Bundle was uploaded by Shane Ng on Friday February 5, 2016. The Bundle belongs to Phil 103 at University of Oregon taught by Daniela Vallega-Neu in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 50 views. For similar materials see PHIL 103 Critical Reasoning in PHIL-Philosophy at University of Oregon.


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Better than the professor's notes. I could actually understand what the heck was going on. Will be back for help in this class.

-Will Bergstrom


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Date Created: 02/05/16
Functions of Language 1. Descriptive Function: We describe something and thus are stating (what we believe to be) facts. 2. Evaluative Function: We make value judgments (aesthetic, moral, economic, technological, scientific). 3. Emotive Function: expressing emotion as when we say “Damn!” 4. Evocative Function: Using language for the purpose of evoking certain emotions in the audience. (Advertisement) 5. Persuasive Function: Trying to persuade someone of something either through the use of rational arguments or with propaganda and advertisement. 6. Interrogative Function: Seeking to gain information. 7. Directive Function: Ordering, commanding, directing, advising, requesting, etc. 8. Performative Function: Saying a sentence performs and action as in “I find the accused guilty of murder.” 9. Recreational Function: Language used for amusement as in jokes, word games, etc. Purposes of Definition 1. Reportive definitions: They give the standard meaning of a word as it is given in a dictionary. (Standard meanings change) a. Too broad a definition b. Too Narrow a definition c. Both too broad and narrow a definition d. A circular definition e. An obscure definition 2. Stipulative definitions: They are used to create a new, more precise meaning for a term. This is often done in research and legislation. 3. Essentialist definitions: They reveal the essential nature of something (justice, truth, love, peace). Methods of Definition 1. Genus-Species Method: Mention the larger category to which what is being defined belongs and then specify what makes that particular kind of thing different. 2. Ostensive Method: Give examples of the things you want to define either verbally or by pointing. 3. Synonym Method: Give a synonym for the word you want to define. 4. Operational Method: Specify the rule of operation of what you want to define. 5. Contextual Method: Use a word in a standard context and provide a different sentence that does not use the word but has the same meaning. The Principle of Charity - “According to the principle of charity, when two interpretations are possible, we should always adopt the more reasonable one (unless something in the context suggests that another interpretation is what the person meant.)” (48) 1. An ambiguous sentence is one that has two or more different but possible quite precise meanings. a. Referential ambiguity arises when a word or phrase could, in the context of a particular sentence, refer to two or more properties or things. i. Distributively: refer it to each member of a class. ii. Collectively: refer to the class as a whole. b. Grammatical ambiguity arises when the grammatical structure of a sentence allows two interpretations, each of which give rise to a different meaning. c. Necessary condition: X is necessary for Y if, and only if, when X is false Y must also be false. (Without X, Y cannot occur). But X does not guarantee Y. d. Sufficient condition: X is sufficient for Y if, and only if, when X is true Y must be true. But without X, Y can still be true. 2. A vague sentence is one that lacks a precise meaning. Types of Statements 1. Analytic statement is true by definition. 2. Contradictory statement is false by definition. 3. Synthetic statement is a statement in which truth and falsity is not only dependent on the meaning of the words it contains. Reconstructing Arguments 1. Argument or not? 2. Identify conclusion and [premise] 3. Identify the structure of the argument a. How premises relate to conclusions and (when dealing with complex arguments) how conclusions relate to each other. Labeling of Premises and Conclusions 1. The conclusion (C) 2. [Premises] – P1, P2, P3, etc. 3. Missing premises MP1, MP2, etc. Missing conclusions MC. a. A presupposition “is a statement that is logically required by the argument in order for one of its stated claims to be true.” Special Cases - Reportive Argument simply reports the argument someone else has made. As such, the report does not aim at proving anything. - Probative arguments are arguments that are in the strict sense intend to prove the conclusion - Explanations are not arguments. T Arguments - T arguments are arguments in which two or more premises work together in order to support a conclusion. - If either premise is false, the other premises do not provide enough support for the conclusion. V Arguments - In V arguments, two or more premises support the conclusion independently from each other. - Even if one of the premises were false, the other premises could still support the conclusion. Complex Arguments - Complex argument contains more than one conclusion (i.e., sub- conclusion). Assessing Arguments - The fallacies approach contains an error or weakness that detracts from the soundness of an argument yet somehow manages to disguise itself so as to give the argument the appearance of being better than it really is. o Begging the question: An argument begs the question when it premises presuppose, directly or indirectly, the truth of the conclusion. o Inconsistency (contradiction): an argument contains, implicitly or explicitly, a contradiction, usually between two premises. o Equivocation: a term is used with more than one meaning within a single argument. o False Dichotomy (false alternatives): an argument that offers only two alternatives where there are actually more.  Exhaustive: alternatives cover all the possibilities.  Exclusive: the choice of one rules out the choice of the other o - The criterion approach is a principle or standard by which we judge something. o Acceptability: The premises must be acceptable (even if they cannot be proven.)  We should consider whether we are justified to accept certain truth-claims. o Relevance: The premises must be relevant for the conclusion. o Adequacy: The premises must be adequate to support the conclusion. Rules for Assessing Arguments 1. Identify the main conclusion 2. Identify the premises 3. Identify the structure of the argument 4. Check the acceptability, relevance and adequacy of the premises 5. Look for counter-arguments Three theories of Truth 1. The correspondence theory: a statement or belief is true when it corresponds to the facts. a. Empirical 2. The coherence theory: a belief or statement is true if, and only if, it coheres with a system of beliefs or statements. 3. The pragmatic theory: a statement or belief is true if, and only if, it leads to the successful solution of a problem. a. Truth is confirmed when one put’s one’s beliefs into practice. 2 Types of Truth Claims 1. Empirical truth claims cannot easily be verified; among these are truth claims about the past and the future as well as general empirical statements. 2. Statistical empirical statements acquired through inductive generalization. (i.e., A majority of Americans support the use of capital punishment.) a. Universal empirical statements – i.e., all swans are white. 3. Non-empirical truth claims depend on other beliefs that provide justifying reasons. a. Mathematical statements b. Analytic statements and contradictory statements c. Moral statements d. Aesthetic statements e. Religious statements f. Foundational principles Assessing Relevance - A premise is relevant when it helps to make it reasonable to accept the conclusion. - Recognize irrelevant premises (non sequitur – means it does not follow) Non Sequitur Fallacies - These fallacies appeal to emotion in various ways o Appeal to pity o Appeal to force o Appeal to popularity (ad populum) Assessing Adequacy - Premises are inadequate when the conclusion is reached too hastily or that someone jumped to a conclusion - Premises may be partly adequate to support a conclusion, which often is expressed in a more tentative conclusion. 1. Deductive Validity: the premises, if true, guarantee the truth of the conclusion. 2. Inductive Strength: Criteria for inductive strength vary according to the kind of inductive argument that is being made. - These arguments are inductive: o Appeals to authority  Authority must be identified  Authority must be generally recognized by the experts in the field  Matter lies within his or her field of expertise o Appeals to anecdotal evidence  Distinguish between using an anecdote for expository purposes, as an example that clarifies a general claim. o Appeals to ignorance  Any argument whose premises attempt to support the conclusion that something is (or isn’t) the case by appealing to the lack of evidence to the contrary. o The slippery slope fallacy  It constructs a chain of predictions leading to an event for which the first prediction provides no evidence. o Causal fallacies  Post hoc  When it is argued that something that occurs before some event must be its cause.  Confusing cause and effect  The two events always occur together might suggest a causal relation but it may not be clear which event causes which.  Common cause  When there is a causal relation between A and B when A and B are both caused by C.


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