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Evaluating Truth and Validity Exercise sample essay

Week three assignment was to evaluate arguments from scenarios in the applications list 12.2 (a.-y.) at the end of Ch. 12 in The Art of Thinking using the 4-stepm process while explaining the assessment and adding an alternative argumentation where need be. I will begin with the premise that “Power must be evil because it can corrupt people” which is in exercise j. Step one, I would verify that the argument was stated clear and complete for any hidden premises. The argument did not hold the water once checked for errors affecting the truth although it seemed to have past the first obstacle. Due to the many previous individuals throughout history who had power and were never corrupted proves that the argued statement “power corrupts all people” is not true. I believe that “power may be considered evil if put into the wrong hands” would be a more valid argument.

The argument failed on several objectives once the reasoning’s that linked conclusions to premises determined whether the conclusion is illegitimate or legitimate and validity errors are considered during the evaluation process in step three. Questions such as “How corrupt do an individual have to become before considered evil?” need to be answered when revising the statement. Individuals who have done corrupt things still does not label them as evil. One may ask what would be considered evil or what would be acceptable or unacceptable but yet still not categorized as evil? So with picking that statement apart and showing all the flaws it is only best to move on to a different argument and throw this one out. Evil is defined as some type of supernatural force or profound immorality and powers used for evil purposes will have evil results. So that tells you that if power is in the right hands there will be good results.

Second Argument- N

Exercise n will be the last argument which states, “Nuclear power is a threat to world peace.” Nuclear power is generated by nuclear energy stations which makes the statement not true. The hidden premise process and verifying that the statement was complete and clear was the first step done. Checking for errors affecting the truth was the next step. Just reading the statement as is, “Nuclear power is a threat to world peace”, is written falsely. It should read “Nuclear power is a threat to world peace if used as a weapon.”

Fossil energy is a positive way to use nuclear energy which makes the original statement false. Next we will examine the reasoning that link conclusions to premises and check for validity errors. Nuclear power is a threat to world peace is the premise and I verified that the statement was false. Once I inserted “if used as a weapon” the statement is now more defendable. So rewriting the statement using “if used as a weapon” has changed everything and has made it a qualifying statement.

Most nuclear energy is used to produce clean energy and is not a threat to world peace unless it is used to produce weapons. The statement “Nuclear power is a threat to world peace” had to be rewritten to state “Nuclear power is a threat to world peace if used as a weapon.” Alternative energy sources are generated by most nuclear energy stations and are no threat to the world peace.

Third Argument- R

“If the Social Security system is further weakened, the elderly will have to fear poverty” is my next argument which is exercise r in the evaluating for truth and validity. So therefore the elderly would not have to fear poverty if the Social Security system is not weakened. The statement passed once it was checked to be sure if it was a clear and complete statement and for hidden premises so I moved on to checking for errors affecting the truth which was the next step. In this process I found the statement to be untrue due to not all elderly individuals rely on Social Security. There are several reasons one may be poverty level, one is making poor financial decisions which is also considered as mismanaging funds. This makes the statement false and untrue. If the statement read “The elder who depends on Social Security will have to fear poverty if the system is further weakened”, it would be more defensible.

So therefore, those same elderly individuals would not have to fear poverty if the Social Security system is not further weakened. The final step can be derived from the premise to determine if there is a legitimate assumption and to check the argument for validity errors. The revised final statement is more defensible with the assumption that the elderly who depends on Social Security will be faced with poverty if the program is weakened. Step four process states that it’s best to embrace a different argument and abandon the old one if too many flaws are found in the one being evaluated which was done in each scenario to complete the process.


Ruggiero, V.R. (2012). The art of thinking. A guide to critical and creative thought

(10th ed.). : Pearson Education

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