Argument Evaluation sample essay
1) Let’s have more practice with argument evaluation.
Determine if these arguments are strong or weak and then explain why they are strong or weak.
Every time Jorge has seen a baseball game between the Giants and the Dodgers at Candlestick Park, the Giants have won. Tomorrow, the Giants play the Dodgers at Candlestick, so the Giants will win.
This is a weak argument because the Giants have been playing different teams for the past few games, and it is not certain that the level of skill possessed by the opponents in the upcoming game will be the same as those in previous games.
I heard John arguing with Steve an hour before Steve was murdered, so John must be the murderer.
This is a weak argument because an argument—even one that contains strong words—is not identical to murder. Furthermore, arguments are not even necessarily connected with murder.
Most hikers are in good physical condition. Thus, Francine is probably in good physical condition because she is a hiker.
This is a good argument because it does not assume that just because Francine is a hiker she necessarily has to be in good shape. It qualifies this by saying this is “probably” true, which is right.
First carefully determine if the following arguments are valid or invalid and then explain why they are valid or invalid.
All X’s are Y’s. No Y’s are Zs. So, no X’s are Z’s.
This argument is valid because the premise defines X completely as belonging to the Y group. Therefore, anything Y is excluded from, X is necessarily also excluded from.
All A’s are B’s. All B’s are C’s. So All A’s are C’s.
This is a valid argument because all A’s have been defined as completely belonging in the B group. Therefore, whatever is true of all B’s must also be true of all A’s.
Some cats are mammals, therefore some mammals are cats.
This argument is valid because the premise indicates that the cat family contains some members that will always be co-members of the mammal family. Therefore, the mammal family has a portion of its members that belong to the cat family.
2) Evaluate the following arguments as weak/strong (inductive) or valid/invalid (deductive). For each argument, give at least one specific reason for your evaluation. (HINT: assume premises are true.) Be sure to briefly explain your answer/analysis.
The sign on the parking meter reads Out-of-Order, therefore the meter is definitely not working.
This argument is weak. The sign on the parking meter may in fact read “out of order” but that does not necessitate that the sign has been posted on the right meter. Therefore, the use of the word “definitely” places too much confidence in the sign.
The blasted hedge clippers are not working again. Must be the switch. That is usually the problem.
This is a weak argument because the switch is not the only component of the hedge clippers and therefore isn’t the only thing that can malfunction. Just because it has usually malfunctioned in the past does not mean that nothing else can be the problem this time.
No oppees are doodles.
No doodles are wuzzles.
So, no wuzzles are doodles.
This is a valid argument, because while the doodle category has not been defined completely, it has been defined as never containing wuzzles.
Some humans are mammals
Some cats are mammals.
So, some cats are humans.
This is an invalid argument because, according to the premise, the mammal category may contain several different members, none of which overlaps. It may therefore contain both cats and humans without some of the cats being humans.
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