Logical Reasoning Notes for Argumentation and Debate
Logical Reasoning Notes for Argumentation and Debate CMST 255
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This 9 page Class Notes was uploaded by Jodi DeMassa on Sunday August 28, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to CMST 255 at California State University Chico taught by Sue Peterson in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 13 views. For similar materials see Argumentation and Debate in Communication Studies at California State University Chico.
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Date Created: 08/28/16
Logical Reasoning Notes By Jodi DeMassa Book is about (1) writing logically (2) detecting inconsistency and lack of clarity (3) spotting issues and arguments (4) detecting and avoiding reasoning errors (5) generating and improving arguments and explanations Key Concepts (pgs. 1164) It's your responsibility to give them reasons they can appreciate to give a conclusion. Use your own background knowledge and common sense to make conclusions. Statements require good evidence to back them up. Be consistent with your reasoning and watch out for inconsistencies other people are using. If you can show that there are alternative explanations your opponent doesn’t look as credible. A discount claim is not a premise. Conditionals don’t require the truth. In mathematical reasoning, you need to explain how you there to draw your conclusion. In a good argument, the conclusion to follow from the premises you state. When there are degrees to a circumstance, the x factor is very vague. Redefining is a way to remove vagueness. The less specific the conclusion of an argument, the stronger the argument. A person should inform the audience of where he or she is coming from without being too general. The more precise a claim, the more informative it is if it does turn out to be true. The principle of fidelity requires you to keep the speaker’s statements. It is not always unwise to accept unsupported claims. It’s more reasonable to pay attention to statistics than from your friends’ stories. Beware of your audience. Most TV news directors are more concerned with entertaining their audience instead of informing them. Be selective of what you present. Skills we will develop ● RECOGNITION of arguments ● EVALUATION of arguments ● CREATION of arguments Weighing pros and Cons (1) consider the possible courses of action (pack up and hike back out, stay and boil the water, go on a search for a wet leaf to lick, and so forth), (2) guess the consequences of different action (being thirsty, continuing the camping trip, getting a disease) (3) evaluate those consequences (being thirsty is a negative, continuing the camping trip is a positive, getting a disease from Giardia would be terrible) (4) consider the probabilities that those various consequences will actually occur (It is 100 percent probable that you won't be thirsty after you drink from the stream. It is only very slightly probable that you'll catch a disease if you drink boiled water.) Principles of logical reasoning (1) ask for reasons before accepting a conclusion (2) give an argument to support your conclusion 3) give reasons to your audience (4) design your reasons to imply the conclusion (5) recognize the value of having more relevant information (6) weigh the pros and cons (7) consider the possible courses of action (8) look at the consequences of these various courses of action (9) evaluate the consequences (10) consider the probabilities that those various consequences will actually occur (11) delay making important decisions when you have time (12) assess what is said in the situation (13) don't take people too literally (14) use your background knowledge and common sense in to draw in conclusions (15) remember that extraordinary statements require extraordinarily good evidence (16) listen to the expert (17) remember that stronger conclusions require better reasons (18) be consistent in your own reasoning (19) be on the lookout for inconsistency in the reasoning of yourself and others (20) check to see whether explanations fit all the relevant facts (21) you can make your opponent's explanation less believable by showing that there are alternative explanations that haven't been ruled out (22) stick to the subject (23) don't draw a conclusion until you’ve gotten enough evidence. Glossary An argument is a conclusion backed up by one or more reasons. In this sense of “argument,” there is no requirement that there be two people who disagree about anything. Inconsistent: A group of statements is inconsistent if it implies that something is so and not so. [Chapter 9 is focused on this concept] Issue: The specific point of disagreement that inspires someone to present an argument. The argument’s conclusion favors one side of the issue over the other. Topic: The general area of the issue. If the issue is whether Americans prefer southern European food to northern European food, then the topic might be American taste preferences. Weigh the pros and cons: In deciding on taking an action, you weigh the pros and cons by looking at alternative actions that can be taken, then considering the probable good consequences of each action and the probable bad consequences while weighing the positive and negative impact of each consequence. A description says that it's like that. An explanation says how it came to be like that. An argument tries to convince you that it is like that. Argument a conclusion with one or more basic premises. Basic premises those premises that directly support the conclusion rather than indirectly support it. Indirect premises are in support of other premises, such as those in support of the basic premises. Conclusion indicators words or phrases that signal the presence of conclusions but not premises. Examples: So, therefore, thus, it follows that. Conditional statement an ifthen statement. An assertion that the thenclause holds on the condition that the ifclause holds. Counterexample to an argument a possible situation that makes the premises true and the conclusion false. Deductive argument an argument intended to meet the standard of being. Deductively valid an argument is deductively valid if its conclusion follows with from its basic premises. [Chapter 4] Description a statement or sequence of statements that characterize what is described. Descriptions state the facts, report on states of mind, make value judgments or explain the situation. A pure description does not argue. Discount indicator a term in an argument that indicates the presence of a claim that discounts or deemphasizes a relevant factor. That claim is neither a premise nor a conclusion. Equivocating changing the reference of a term from one occurrence to another within an argument. Explanation a statement or sequence of statements designed to show the cause, the motivation, or the sequence of events leading up to the event that is being explained. Pure explanations do not describe. Nor are they designed to convince you that something is so or that something should be done. Final conclusionin a chain of arguments, the last conclusion, the conclusion that isn’t used as a premise. Implicit premise a statement that does not appear explicitly in an argument but that is intended by the arguer to be a premise to help make the conclusion follow from the premises. Imply a statement P implies a statement Q if Q has to be true whenever P is. Informally, speakers might say “P means Q” instead of “P implies Q.” Indicator term a conclusion indicator term is a word or phrase in an argument that is usually followed by the conclusion; a premise indicator term is usually followed by a premise. inductive argument An argument intended to meet the standard of being Inductively strong inductively strong, meaning that it’d be probably true if the premises were to be true. Inductive strength is a matter of degree. Invalid not deductively valid. Even strong inductive arguments are deductively invalid. Multiple argumentation a passage containing more than one argument. Premise a claim that is used as a reason in an argument. Premise indicatorswords or phrases that signal the presence of premises but not conclusions. Examples: Because, since, for the reason that. Standard forma single argument rewritten with its basic premises above the line and its conclusion below the line. The premises and conclusion should be expressed as complete sentences. Indicator words and other words are stripped away. Subconclusion the conclusion of an argument that occurs among other arguments. Ambiguous If a word, phrase, or sentence is too imprecise (for the needs of the audience) because it has two or more distinct interpretations Statement what a speaker or writer states Claim is pseudoprecise if it assigns a higher degree of precision than circumstances warrant. Operationalizationis the operation or method used to tell whether the term applies. Ambiguity a type of imprecision; a term is ambiguous if the context cannot be used to sufficiently rule out all the term's possible meanings but one. Ambiguous definition a definition that expresses the meaning ambiguously. Broad definition a term's definition that would permit too many things to be called by that term. Circular definition using the term to be defined as part of the term's own definition. Context the sentence that a word or phrase occurs in, plus the surrounding sentences, the situation in which the sentences are used, the time, the identity of the speaker, and even the speaker's body language. Definition by example defining a term by indicating examples of things appropriately named by that term. Disambiguation using context and one's background knowledge to detect the intended interpretation (meaning) of a phrase with multiple possible interpretations and thereby remove the potential ambiguity. Equivocation illegitimately switching from one meaning of a term to another on different occasions. General terms terms that refer to a class of objects. Generalizationa statement containing a general term, usually as its subject. Inconsistent definitiona definition that expresses the meaning inconsistently. Lexical definitiona dictionary definition. Narrow definitiona term's definition that would permit too few things to be called by that term. Nonuniversal generalization a generalization that does not require the characteristic to apply to every member of the class. Operational definitiona definition given by stating an operation or method to follow in deciding whether the term applies. Operationalizationthe operation or method used to tell whether a term applies in a particular context. Ostensive definitiona definition by example offered by a speaker who indicates the example by pointing. Overly vague definition a definition that expresses the meaning too vaguely. Persuasive definition a definition that could be used to persuade the audience to take a particular stand on an otherwise controversial issue. A definition that is not objective. Precising definitiona definition that makes the meaning more precise. Pseudoprecision a claim is pseudoprecise if it assigns a higher degree of precision than circumstances warrant. It occurs whenever a number is placed on some property that an object has when: (1) the property cannot be quantified (2) the object cannot have the characteristic to that degree of precision (3) the object could have the characteristic to that degree of precision but the person is not justified in claiming that much precision. Quantifyto put a number on something in order to measure it. Quantity term a term assigning a quantity to a class. Examples: 17, each, every, most, all, some, and no. Semantic disagreementa disagreement about meaning; also called a verbal disagreement. Clarifying terms can resolve a semantic disagreement. Specific terma word or phrase that refers to a single object rather than to a class of objects. Statementwhat a speaker or writer states. Uttering a declarative sentence is the usual way to make a statement. Statistical generalizationa generalization whose quantity term is a percentage or statistic. Stipulative definitionstipulating how a term will be used from now on. Universal generalizationssometimes called categorical generalizations. Vaguenessfuzziness of meaning. For example, "Step closer." Weaslera phrase that is inserted into a claim to make it harder to criticize or refute. For example, “You can make up to $30 per hour” when you don’t intend to pay over $8 per hour nor give anyone more than $15 per hour even if they work for you all their life. Anecdotea report of an individual's own experience. Credibilitya person’s credibility on some issue is their ability to offer solid ground for deciding the issue. Credibility is a matter of degree, and it involves both the honesty of the person and how much of an expert they are. Fallacy of misplaced burden of proof committing the error of trying to get someone else to prove you are wrong, when it is your responsibility to prove you are correct. Principle of fidelitythe principle requiring you to keep the meaning of the speaker’s statements. Principle of charitythe principle that says to interpret a claim, try to find a reinterpretation that makes it reasonable without violating the principle of fidelity by putting words into the claimant’s mouth that the claimant would not accept. Logical providing arguments for your conclusions (so your reasons lead you to conclusions that may lead to other conclusions) ● Tailoring your reasons to your audience. Placing a number on a property of an object is pseudoprecise if (1) the property cannot be quantified if it doesn’t make sense to put a number on it (2) the object cannot have the property to that degree of precision (3) the object could have the property to that degree of precision but the person is not justified in claiming that much precision. Reliable sources? ● Is the authority an authority on the proper subject? ● Would she know if the authorities disagreed on this subject? ● Can you trust her to have quoted the authority correctly? ● Can the authority be trusted to have told her the truth? Sources of information (1) the newspaper stories and magazine articles that profile the candidates and discuss the issues long before election day (2) government voter pamphlets (3) extended TV news programs (4) public debatesnot 30 sec summaries of candidates (5) the arguments of editors, columnists, and wellinformed friends. All these are better than TV ads, campaign leaflets, blog entries, and TV news.
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