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1.E: Chapter One (Exercises)

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    Exercise \(\PageIndex{1}\): Rhetoric vs. Reasoning

    Is each primarily engaged in rhetoric or primarily engaged in reasoning?

    A. We’re going to invade that country, and we’re going to win. The enemies of democracy will find no quarter on the face of the Earth. The mighty arm of justice will smite those who fight in the name of evil and tyranny.

    B. We’re going to invade that country, and here’s why: the threat the current government poses to the American people is clear and present and furthermore the massacres taking place through the military are just short of genocide. We have, I think, a moral duty to intervene to prevent the further loss of life—American or Foreign.

    C. My client is innocent of these trumped up charges and furthermore is the victim of a relentless campaign of defamation motivated by the most cynical and dare I say racist motives this country has seen in a prosecution. Any decent person can see that though my client is no angel, she is nevertheless no murderer.

    D. My client is innocent of the charges brought before you in this case. I’ll lay out why in what follows. She has an air tight alibi: she was at her brother’s funeral at the time of the murder. She has no motive: she was taking piano lessons from the victim at the time, but the victim’s logs show that they had a good and healthy rapport. They were even friends on Facebook and those records indicate a friendly relationship.

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{2}\): Propositions vs. Non-Propositions

    Is each of the following a proposition or a non-proposition? (remember that propositions are sometimes false)

    A. Don’t eat my food when I’ve clearly labeled it.

    B. Please try to be more considerate.

    C. The moon is made of cheese.

    D. The moon is the most awesome thing in the universe.

    E. The Betelgeuse Nebula is approximately 2 light years from Earth.

    F. How can you act that way when you know it hurts her feelings?

    G. Nobody knows what lives on the dark side of the moon.

    H. Stop talking about the moon.

    I. The dark side of the moon isn’t really dark.

    J. Pink Floyd is one of the greatest musical groups of all time.

    K. Yaaaaah! Pink Floyd!!!!!

    L. For real, though, please stop talking about the moon.

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{3}\): Breaking down complex propositions

    Break down each complex proposition into its component simple propositions. The words ‘and’, ‘but’, ‘or’, ‘if...then...’, and ‘if and only if’ tell us (at least at this introductory stage) we’re dealing with a complex proposition and also tell us what the simple propositions are.

    A. Y’all don’t know nothing, but at least I know something that’ll help us get out of this situation.

    B. I’ve always been a self-reliant person, and I don’t generally like to travel together, but if you can get me to Chicago, then I’d be mighty grateful.

    C. If I had a cow, then I would have all the milk I needed.

    D. Either Valeria knew what she was doing or she was completely ignorant of the effects that her actions were likely to have.

    E. Robots are either sentient or they are just machines.

    F. An ear of corn is either used for animal feed or for applications in human cuisine.

    G. Samir, Raj, and Asia were late to school today.

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{4}\): Argument or Non-Argument?

    Identify whether each is an argument or inference, or whether it is instead a set of disconnected statements, an explanation of why something happened the way it did, an account or story, or something else that doesn’t have an inferential connection in it.

    A. She only cheated on the exam because her financial aid depended on it.

    B. We know she cheated on her exam because the instructor caught her stealing glances at her neighbor’s test and found notes hidden in the sleeve of her jacket.

    C. He only cheated on his boyfriend because his boyfriend was neglecting him.

    D. Rabies is an often-deadly viral infection that causes hydrophobia or the inability to drink water. There are treatments available, but they must be administered quickly.

    E. You shouldn’t go around spreading stories about people since you wouldn’t want people doing the same to you.

    F. No one has ever been to the moon, so we don’t know that it isn’t made of cheese.

    G. “Boy when you walk by every night talking sweet and looking fine, I get kinda hectic inside.” – Mariah Carey

    H. “I never sleep, ‘cause sleep is the cousin of death” – Nas

    I. No one should ever sleep, because sleep is the cousin of death

    J. Every time I walk by here, you’re sitting around doing nothing. I guess you don’t have anything to do with your time.

    K. John Lennon was shot and killed. So was Bobby Kennedy and his brother John. Dr. King and Malcolm were killed around the same time.

    L. “Hey Jude. Don’t make it bad. Take a sad song and make it better.” – Paul McCartney

    M. “(you shouldn’t) carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, for you know that it's a fool who plays it cool.” (Hey Jude again)

    N. We need to reverse our course when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions. If we don’t, the Earth will soon become inhospitable to human life. We must act now.

    O. As Joni Mitchell said, we shouldn’t pave paradise and put up a parking lot. To do so would be to make the all-too-common mistake of failing to recognize what we’ve got until it is gone.

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{5}\): Premise and Conclusion Indicators

    For each proposition you find, identify the premises and the conclusions based on the indicators. If there are no indicators for a proposition, try to figure out if it’s a conclusion or a premise.

    A. Since we can’t go out until the restaurant opens, and given that we were trying to save money, we should just hang out here until closer to dinner.

    B. Why should we save the wetlands, you ask? Simple: because wetlands protect us during storms as they slow water flows and surges.

    C. As there has never been a storm of such strength in the Florida Keys, one must conclude that there is not likely to be a storm of such strength in the Florida Keys in the years to come.

    D. Nearly every student in the class scored less than 70% on the exam. This entails that the exam was too difficult to accurately assess student learning and therefore, since exams are supposed to accurately assess student learning, the exam must be revised and readministered.

    E. Insofar as the losing candidate received a majority of the popular votes, and given that we live in a democracy, we may conclude that the election went against the basic principles of our country.

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{6}\): Factual Claims and Inferential Claims

    For each, determine which factual claims are being made and which inferential claims are being made. There will likely be a list of factual claims and then one (often implied) inferential claim.

    A. The Affordable Care Act is in a death spiral. Premiums are getting higher, and as premiums get higher, the people will stop purchasing policies, and if the people stop purchasing policies, then the insurance companies will pull out of the exchanges, and if that happens, then the whole system collapses.

    B. College isn't designed around the goal of producing good plumbers and electricians and welders. Furthermore, college is expensive and college is time-consuming. So, we shouldn't expect everyone to go to college.

    C. We should pass the Affordable Care Act. There is an epidemic of chronically-ill citizens without health insurance due to their pre-existing conditions and many citizens simply can’t afford health insurance.

    D. No one wants to be put in the position where they are faced with a deadly intruder without the proper means to protect theirself and their family. Gun laws make it probable that someone will end up in that situation. Therefore, we can’t enact gun control legislation.

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{7}\): Charitable Interpretations

    For each, supply a charitable interpretation of the argument or position. Give a sort of argument for why someone might believe this or accept this argument. Even if you don’t believe the conclusion, we still need to be able to give the strongest version of the argument or position we’re engaging with.

    A. I think the Earth is only about 5,600 years old. The fossil records are inconclusive because carbon dating makes a lot of questionable assumptions.

    B. We should keep spending more on the military every year. China is only becoming more of a threat.

    C. Borders are not necessary. The concept of a closed border came about fairly recently in human history and having hard borders only creates violence and a coercive market for human trafficking.

    D. Policing is inherently unjust. Communities in our society should be able to regulate themselves.

    E. We need to build a colony on the Moon!

    F. Aliens have certainly visited us in secret.

    G. Astrology is real, my personality matches my horoscope more often than not.


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