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Phil 103, Week 8 Notes

by: Shane Ng

Phil 103, Week 8 Notes Phil 103

Shane Ng

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PHIL 103 Critical Reasoning
Daniela Vallega-Neu
Class Notes
philosophy, counter-arguments, critical thinking
25 ?




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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Shane Ng on Tuesday March 1, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Phil 103 at University of Oregon taught by Daniela Vallega-Neu in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 15 views. For similar materials see PHIL 103 Critical Reasoning in PHIL-Philosophy at University of Oregon.


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Date Created: 03/01/16
Counter Arguments Mobility of thought - A good critical thinker can argue not only for but against an opinion she holds. Learning to make good counter-arguments will allow you to - Achieve mobility of thought and perhaps revise opinions you held without much thought (prejudices) - Be effective in arguing against an opponent’s position - Strengthen your own argumentation by considering possible counter-arguments and being ready to refute them. - The general structure of an argumentative essay is o Argument in favor of a certain position, theory, or belief o Counter-argument o Refutation of counter-argument Counter arguments - We often make arguments in the context of debates over controversial issues. Such debates contain arguments and counter-arguments. - Counter-arguments may o Attack the premises of an argument or o Present an all-together different argument that reaches an opposite conclusion. Attacking premises - Since the strength or weakness of an argument depends on o The acceptability (truth) of the premises o The relevance of the premises for the conclusion o The adequacy of the premises for the conclusion - Attacking the premises of an argument with respect to either of theses criteria will weaken that argument. Attacking Deductive arguments - The soundness of deductive arguments depends on the truth of the premises and the validity of the form. - You need to determine whether the deductive argument form is valid and if it is so, all you can attack is the truth or acceptability of the premises. Attacking inductive arguments - How to attack the premises of inductive arguments depends on what kind of inductive argument is being made. - We look at the following: o Argument from authority o Statistical syllogism o Inductive generalization (argument by example) o Analogical argument o Causal argument Attacking arguments from authority - The authority appealed to is not an expert in the issue at stake (the authority is not relevant). - It is not clear who the authority is, whether it is a recognized authority and whether the issue at stake can be settled by recourse to that authority (is the authority adequate for the issue at stake). - Evaluating Sources o Instead of having a clear authority we refer to, we may rely on sources we cite (from newspapers, books, articles). When it comes to sources, ask yourself the following questions:  Are sources cited? (based on the information given, could you independently verify the source?)  Are the sources informed?  Are the sources impartial? Attacking statistical syllogisms - The particular case subsumed under a general group may be known exception to that group. - Find information regarding the particular case that is subsumed under the general group that might show that the particular case is (likely) an exception. Attacking inductive generalizations - Look for counter-examples o Samples might not be representative o Samples might not be large enough Attacking arguments by analogy - Find weakness in the analogy. - A strong argument by analogy rests on the o Number of relevant similarities o Relevance of the similarities for what is claimed in the conclusion Attacking causal arguments - Fond weakness in the causal chain of connections. - Given two correlated events, can we claim a necessary direction of causality? (Does A cause B? Does B cause A? Are A and B caused by C?)


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