Routledge

Student Material

Chapter 1: Introducing arguments

Students’ material

A

Pick the argument from each of the following sets

  1. a) Help me, I’m drowning!
    b) You should always help a drowning man; it’s a moral obligation.
    c) I plunged into the river to save the drowning man because it was the right thing to do.
  2. a) Barack Obama will be one of the greatest US Presidents of all time. He understands Main Street and Wall Street. That’s what it takes to be a great President.
    b) If Obama is successful, he will not only be remembered as the first African-American US President, but also as a great President.
    c) I voted for Obama because I was impressed by the way he approached the economic crisis.
  3. a) If you spend all day on Facebook, you’ll never finish your assignment on time.
    b) Many people are critical of social-networking websites like Facebook because they threaten to replace face-to-face contact with real people with virtual friendships.
    c) Facebook is a means of widening global communications and anyone with an internet connection can use it, so it’s a very democratic means of communication and that has to be a good thing.
  4. a) Tennis is a more entertaining spectator sport than squash.
    b) If tennis is a more entertaining spectator sport than squash, then tennis players should earn more than squash players.
    c) Audiences for tennis are hugely bigger than those for squash, so of course tennis players should be paid more than squash players.
  5. a) If we have not found cheap alternatives to oil before supplies run out, civilisation as we know it is doomed.
    b) We must find cheap alternatives to oil before supplies run out. Failure to do so could mean the end of our way of life and that’s something we cannot risk.
    c) We must reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and find cheap alternatives.
  6. a) Britney is prettier than Paris and Paris is prettier than Nicole.
    b) If Britney is prettier than Paris and Paris is prettier than Nicole, then Britney is the prettiest of the three. The Prettiest should get paid the most, so Britney should get paid the most.
    c) If Britney is prettier than Paris and Paris is prettier than Nicole, then Britney is the prettiest of the three.
  7. a) CEOs of major banks bear the bulk of responsibility for the causes of the current economic situation. If you’re part of the cause, you should be part of the solution. Those CEOs should either resign or be sacked.
    b) The current economic situation was caused by recklessness and greed on the part of bankers. Sack them all, I say!
    c) The current recession has happened because too much money has been lent to people who turned out to be unable to pay it back.
  8. a) Reality TV is the scourge of our times. It’s cheap, nasty, lowest common denominator stuff the attraction of which seems to lie in its ability to make D-list celebrities out of anyone stupid enough to take part.
    b) So you want to be famous? Audition for I Want to be a Celebrity... Get Me out of Here! and you’ll soon be appearing in Hello! magazine.
    c) Have you heard that song by the Famous Five? It’s had millions of downloads, but it can’t be any good, can it? They won Pop Idol.
  9. a) Why are you so late? Because the train was late. Why was the train late? Because the line was flooded.
    b) If the train is likely to be late again, take the bus instead.
    c) Whenever I’m late for work my boss interrogates me in front of my colleagues and makes me look bad. I don’t want to lose my job. I’m going to have to start driving to work.
  10. a) Don’t drink and drive!
    b) Drinking and driving is poses an extreme risk to drivers themselves as well as to other road users. That kind of risky behaviour is simply immoral and it should be heavily penalised.
    c) She was sent to prison because she was convicted of driving when her blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit.

B

Indicate the conclusion in each of these examples. NB not all the arguments are complete, but they do all have explicit conclusions. If we were writing them in standard form, we would probably reword some of the premises and conclusions to make them clearer. There is no need to do that here.

  1. Manhattan is west of London and London is west of Berlin, so Manhattan is west of Berlin.
  2. On the basis of the fact that it includes scenes depicting extreme violence, the film should not be shown on prime-time television.
  3. Everyone in the audience is bored. No one who is bored is listening. There can’t be anyone in the audience who is listening.
  4. Something must be done to cut knife crime. If we don’t act now to stop the senseless violence of knife crime, our streets will become a no-go zone.
  5. Christians take care of the needy. This prime minister’s social and economic policies discriminate against the needy. She cannot be a Christian.
  6. A country in which kids go to school hungry has an underclass. Some British kids go to school without breakfast. So Great Britain has an underclass.
  7. If it’s Wednesday, there must be buttered scones for tea. It is Wednesday. There are buttered scones for tea.
  8. Daisy is a cow. All cows are mammals, so Daisy is a mammal.
  9. There’s so much pornography readily available on the net these days and young people are so easily influenced, it’s bound to result in an imminent collapse into an orgy of rape, abuse and indecency.
  10. If you’re going to Alison’s party tonight, you shouldn’t drink too much. Whenever you drink too much you embarrass yourself.

C

For each of the following indicate whether it is an explanation or an argument.

  1. I didn’t go to the party last night because I had to finish my assignment.
  2. You shouldn’t go out tonight because you have to finish your assignment.
  3. The flight can’t leave because there is a technical problem.
  4. There is a problem with the plane’s radar system and it would be dangerous for it to fly so the flight will be delayed.
  5. I know it is raining because I can hear the rain on the roof.
  6. The floor is wet because it is raining and the roof leaks.
  7. Roger Federer is one of the greatest tennis players of all time because he has won 13 Grand Slam titles.
  8. Roger Federer has won 13 Grand Slam titles because his game adapts so well to all surfaces.
  9. The tyre is flat because it has a puncture.
  10. You should inflate the tyres before we leave, because if you don’t, we’ll probably get a puncture and then we’ll be late, and if we’re late, we’ll be in trouble.

D

Each of the following is an extended argument. For each one indicate the intermediate conclusions and the conclusion.

  1. Geoff is a goldfish and no goldfish are mammals, hence Geoff is not a mammal. All mammals are warm-blooded so Geoff is not warm-blooded.
  2. If we take my car to class we’ll be on time, but if we take the bus we’ll be late for class. If we’re late for class, we’ll miss the test, so we should take my car to class. But my car is very low on gas, so  if we take my car we will probably run out of gas. If we run out of gas, we will be late for class. If we take your car, we will get to class on time. If we get to class on time, we won’t miss the test. We should take your car.
  3. Lady Scarlet killed Professor Peacock in the library with the rope. I say this because on the night of Professor Peacock’s death Mrs White observed Lady Scarlet in the library pulling a rope tight around Professor Peacock’s neck. The rope and Professor Peacock’s jacket were later found to bear traces of DNA that are a 99.9 per cent match with Lady Scarlet’s DNA. Furthermore, if Lady Scarlet is the killer, then Colonel Mustard is innocent of Professor Peacock’s murder. If he is innocent, he should be released immediately. Colonel Mustard must be released without delay.
  4. All those who caused the latest financial crash should bear responsibility. Bankers who made bad loans caused the crash so they should be held responsible. But bankers were able to make those loans because governments failed to regulate banking systems properly, so governments must take responsibility as well. And, ultimately, we elected those governments and so we should accept some responsibility for the mess we are in.
  5. Consumer confidence is declining and whenever consumer confidence declines the dollar loses value, so we can expect the dollar to become weaker against international currencies. And, of course, when the dollar is weaker, inflation rises, it’s reasonable to expect that prices will rise. When inflation increases, central banks increase interest rates. We can conclude, then, that interest rates will go up.

E

Decide whether each of the following passages contains an argument. If it does not, write N/A. If it does, identify its premises and conclusion by underlining the appropriate propositions and writing ‘C’ under the conclusion and ‘P’ and the appropriate number under the premises. Remember that premise and conclusion indicators are not part of those propositions:

  1. There are two tests in our elementary Norwegian grammar course. They take place in the fourth and eighth weeks. The first and second tests are worth 30% each and there is a final assignment worth 40%.
  2. Mutants aren't all that common, so there's no point looking round town for people with extra arms and legs.
  3. You will find fire exits designated with appropriate signs. In case of an emergency you are expected to use these in preference to the lifts.
  4. The face on the Sphinx at the Giza Plateau does not resemble any portraits of the Egyptian Pharaohs. Because of this and the lack of any true inscriptions in the Great Pyramid we can safely say that, in fact, aliens built the pyramids.
  5. Semi-detached male chocolate-maker seeks divorced air hostess over fifty to share his Franz Ferdinand video collection.
  6. If you haven't entered the competition and you want to see four people making fools of themselves, come to the checkout and have a good laugh.
  7. Rainbows occur because God promised Noah that he would never again destroy the Earth by flood. The rainbow is a reminder of this promise.
  8. The only reason you shouldn't ask me is because I'm busy. Later today, I will have time to talk to you about this matter.
  9. Television certainly is not harmful to children, for television occupies the attention of children for hours at a time and gives their parents an opportunity to cook meals and do some work or take a break. Without the convenience of television as a "babysitter" for children, it is hard to imagine how parents would cope.
  10. If there's a very rowdy bunch of people in the lecture room next door to our sociology class, they will be a chemistry class.
  11. Don't come inside here, if you value your life.
  12. People should live longer because then they could have more cheesecake!
  13. If we're going to work together on this, there's no room for egos, because there's no i in team!
  14. New Zealand should adopt Aotearoa as its official name. After all, New England and New York and New Hampshire aren't countries and New Zealanders don't want to be mistaken for Australians.
  15. I was looking for a mechanic to fix my car but I met someone who has a Ph.D. in Business Communications. She's more qualified and I'm going to take the car to her instead.
  16. Maori is one of the official languages of this country. Under the Treaty of Waitangi, signed between the Maori and the British Crown, we have a responsibility not only to protect the indigenous culture of this country but also to promote it. Thus, Maori should be compulsory for all school students.
  17. Most people hate reading user guides. They would much rather just have a go, on the presumption that if the product is any good, it should be obvious how it works.
  18. If we miss the bus, then we'll miss the plane. And if we miss the plane, no holiday. So, better not miss the bus.
  19. When you decide to believe that there is a God or that the bus system is inefficient or that it's Tuesday and when you decide to open up the fridge for a reason (to get the beer), you are appealing to premises which contain reasons or evidence. You weigh up the reasons or evidence in the premises to see if they supply adequate reasons or evidence for a certain conclusion (that there is a God, that the bus system is inefficient, that it is Tuesday, that it would be a good scheme to open the fridge).
  20. Aness and Myles are leaving for America and they've got a lot of stuff to get rid of. That's why they are having a garage sale.
  21. The reason that nobody eats ferret soup in the Tongan highlands is because Tonga has no highlands.
  22. Knives do not kill people; people kill people. A knife is just a humble tool with a thousand household uses.
  23. The government has got carried away with social engineering and that's a reason to think that they shouldn't have been elected in the first place.
  24. The government got re-elected because people like social engineering. They think it is like civil engineering.
  25. Some people who work in the philosophy of science think that every explanation is an argument. Those people are wrong.
  26. Who borrowed my Persian umbrella stand? If it's back here in five minutes, we'll say nothing more about it.

 

F

Write out the following arguments in standard form. You need not supply missing premises or change the words used unless it is absolutely necessary to retain the sense of a sentence, but you should omit indicator words:

  1. She was travelling faster than the speed of light and there is no law that allows her to do that, so she was breaking the law.
  2. I should answer the phone, since it is usually for me and I should take responsibility for my own phone-mail.
  3. It's not fair! I was here long before everybody else and I paid good money for my ticket.
  4. Aness and Myles are leaving for America and they need to get rid of stuff. So they should have a garage sale.
  5. I am having a bad day today and I only have bad days on Mondays. I guess that means today must be Tuesday.
  6. Some of the glass cases in the museum contain chocolate cake. Anything contained in the glass cases in the museum is on display. This means that some chocolate cake is on display in the museum.
  7. No pain remedy works better for toothache and lets you 'party-hearty' all night long than Nakamura's Cocaine Tooth Powder. Now available as a nasal spray. You should buy it and try it!
  8. It's time to get out of bed. We need your sheets for tablecloths.
  9. Setting examinations is sometimes more work than sitting them. You shouldn't feel like you've had a rotten time just because you've had to sit lots of exams.
  10. We're all friends here, so say whatever you have to say and don't worry about upsetting any of us.
  11. Parents are not always the best judges of what's best for their kids, so you shouldn't assume that it's ok for parents to determine which school their kids will go to. Another consideration relevant to this is that some parents don't put a lot of effort into looking at the advantages and disadvantages of different schools.
  12. It's going to be a nice day. There was a frost this morning and it's always a nice day after there's been a frost.
  13. Every single entry is a winner, so you should hurry along to the ticket office because you've gotta be in to win.
  14. The salaries of non-executive directors of the company should be raised from $28,000 to $45,000 per year. They have had no salary increase since 1995, and anyway, higher salaries are needed to attract people of the right calibre.
  15. You shouldn't keep staring into the teapot. If you do, you might find out something about your future that will upset you.
  16. Make sure that you purchase lots of alcohol while I'm singing, because the more you drink, the better I sound.
  17. Everybody dies eventually. So if you annoy my brother-in-law, you will end up dead.
  18. In this time of deep economic hardship, you should keep chickens at home, because if you lose your job, at least you'll still have the chickens.
  19. Stop being so prissy about your food and sink your teeth into a nice juicy steak. After all you have nothing to lose but your hang-ups.
  20. I can't find how to scroll down to the next page. I shouldn't bother trying to use Macintosh computers.
  21. Sort your rubbish. Recycling is very important.
  22. From the information the board has given me, I conclude that this is not the right time for a share float. The matters brought to my attention were: We are in the middle of a recession; we have not managed to demonstrate reliable growth in the past; and we don't seem to have a bank account.
  23. The Americans call the shots. So the prisoner is not likely to be released in the near future. After all, the Americans insist that the prisoner will not be released until he has been tried.
  24. The Americans insist that the prisoner will not be released until he has been tried. The Americans call the shots. So the prisoner is not likely to be released in the near future.
  25. The bell has sounded. School is out.
  26. There's a sign that says: "Welcome to the city of pain. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here." We must have reached our final destination.

 

G

Carefully explain the relationship between arguments and propositions. Use at least one example of each to illustrate your answer.

 

H

Complete the following sentences using the correct option from the list given.

1. Oxygen is ___________________________ for human life

Options:   necessary, but not sufficient;  sufficient, but not necessary;  both necessary and sufficient;  neither necessary nor sufficient

 

2. eating is___________________________for making me less hungry.

Options:   necessary, but not sufficient;  sufficient, but not necessary;  both necessary and sufficient;  neither necessary nor sufficient

 

3. Eating my favorite kind of meal is___________________________for making me less hungry.

Options:   necessary, but not sufficient; sufficient, but not necessary;  both necessary and sufficient;  neither necessary nor sufficient

 

4. being one of the letters a, e, i, o and u is___________________________for being an English letter that is always a vowel.

Options:   necessary, but not sufficient; sufficient, but not necessary;  both necessary and sufficient;  neither necessary nor sufficient

 

5. Having music in it is___________________________if an event is to be the performance of an opera.

Options:   necessary, but not sufficient; sufficient, but not necessary;  both necessary and sufficient;  neither necessary nor sufficient

 

6. being married is___________________________for having children.

Options:   necessary, but not sufficient; sufficient, but not necessary;  both necessary and sufficient;  neither necessary nor sufficient

 

7. If you believe something, this is ___________________________ for it being true.
Options:   necessary, but not sufficient; sufficient, but not necessary;  both necessary and sufficient;  neither necessary nor sufficient

 

8. being made from tin is___________________________for being made of metal.

Options:   necessary, but not sufficient; sufficient, but not necessary;  both necessary and sufficient;  neither necessary nor sufficient

 

9. Being a triangle is___________________________ for being a 3-sided plane figure.

Options:   necessary, but not sufficient; sufficient, but not necessary;  both necessary and sufficient;  neither necessary nor sufficient

 

10. Being in a room with four walls, a roof and a floor is___________________________for being inside.

Options:   necessary, but not sufficient; sufficient, but not necessary;  both necessary and sufficient;  neither necessary nor sufficient

 

11. having a job is___________________________ for being on a high salary.

Options:   necessary, but not sufficient; sufficient, but not necessary;  both necessary and sufficient;  neither necessary nor sufficient

 

12. Being on a high salary is___________________________ for having a job.

Options:   necessary, but not sufficient; sufficient, but not necessary;  both necessary and sufficient;  neither necessary nor sufficient

 

13. Being 3 years old is___________________________ for being a child.

Options:   necessary, but not sufficient; sufficient, but not necessary;  both necessary and sufficient;  neither necessary nor sufficient

 

14. Being a child is___________________________ for being 3 years old

Options:   necessary, but not sufficient; sufficient, but not necessary;  both necessary and sufficient;  neither necessary nor sufficient

 

I

What are the necessary and sufficient conditions for each of the following?

  1. Being a (biological) father
  2. Being an aunt
  3. Being a (first) cousin
  4. Being in check in a game of chess
  5. Being in checkmate in a game of chess
  6. Being a spouse
  7. Being a prime number
  8. Being a mammal
  9. Being a rooster
  10. Telling a lie
  11. Being a steer

 

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