Student Material

Chapter 5: The practice of argument-reconstructionspotify

Students’ material: solutions

Missing parts in red.

  1. Eating chocolate always makes me ill.
  2. No corrupt government should stay in office.
  3. US TV channels should broadcast more of the programmes that are the best in the world.
  4. Any team that is stronger than the Sharks and the Hurricanes will win the Super 14 Championsip.
  5. Almost all teachers are overworked.
  6. If you work hard, attend all the classes and brings gifts for the teacher you will probably pass the course.
  7. He isn’t working harder or attending all the classes.
  8. We should do anything we can to prevent unnecessary deaths.
  9. You should do almost anything you can to avoid putting your child’s and other children’s health at risk.
  10. You like Franz Ferdinand’s music.


1 No; 2 Yes; 3 Yes; 4 No; 5 No; 6 No; 7 No; 8 Yes; 9 Yes; 10 No; 11 No; 12 Yes; 13 No; 14 No 15 Yes; 16 Yes; 17 No; 18 No; 19 No; 20 No

a vii; b i c iv; d x; e ii; f iii; g v; h ix; i viii; j vi

1 a; 2 b; 3 b; 4 a; 5 b; 6 b; 7 b; 8 a; 9 b; 10 a



1. Extraneous material
I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this.

2. Extraneous material
To make matters worse, it was cold and windy.
I'm thinking of going the long way home more often now!

3. Irrelevant proposition
The name 'Abominable Snowman' was made up by a journalist in 1921, long after the first references to yetis reached the West.

4. Extraneous material
I can't believe I'm having to say this, but, for some reason, people just don't seem to get it.
It drives me nuts when people put forward that sort of argument!

5. Extraneous material
Why on Earth they want a pump handle I do not know.

6. Extraneous material
And what does that mean? Well it's clear, isn't it?

7. Irrelevant proposition
Furthermore, the Greens had little influence on government over the last decade.

8. Irrelevant proposition
Added to that, the garden will need doing next year.

9. Irrelevant proposition
It was lying on the grass near the tree.

10. Irrelevant proposition
It is available in white, purple, and stylish black.



(Propositions that have been made explicit are in italics.)

P1) Donkeys make awful noises
P2) Donkeys smell nasty.
P3) Donkeys don't do anything useful
P4) Looking after donkeys takes a lot of work.
P5) If an animal species makes awful noises, smells nasty, doesn't do anything useful, and takes a lot of work to look after, then the world would be a better place if it didn't have that species in it.
C) The world would be a better place if it didn't have donkeys in it.


P1) When I missed my bus stop I found £20.
P2) If missing your bus stop sometimes leads to your finding £20, missing your bus stop can sometimes be a good thing.
C) Missing your bus stop can sometimes be a good thing.


P1) People have offered skins, footprints, photographs, and so on as evidence that yetis exist.
P2) The purported evidence can be explained away as pieces of bear skin, melted human footprints, and so forth.
C1) There is no scientifically acceptable evidence available to prove the existence of yetis in the Himalayas.
P3) If there really were yeti living in the Himalayas, there would be scientifically acceptable evidence available to prove their existence.
C2) There are no yeti in the Himalayas.


P1) If I flip a coin then I don't know whether it's going to land heads or tails. But if I flip a million coins, I can be very confident that I'll get about the same number of heads as of tails.
P2) Meteorology is like coin-flipping in that, even though in each case immediate predictions can be mistaken, this does not mean that predictions of long term trends should be doubted.
C) Just because meteorologists sometimes forecast the wrong weather for tomorrow, the day after, or next week, that doesn't mean that we shouldn't listen to what they say about global warming in the long term.


P1) The water is turned on.
P2) The pipe isn't damaged.
P3) The pump doesn't work.
P4) If the water is turned on, and the pipe isn't damaged, then the cause of the pump's not working is likely to be that the vandals took the handle.
C) Probably, the cause of the pump's not working is that the vandals took the handle.


P1) If we don't stop people from swimming with sharks, then the sharks will become comfortable being around people.
P2) If sharks become comfortable being around people, the sharks will be more likely to attack people.
P3) If sharks are more likely to attack people, then there will be more people killed in shark attacks.
P4) We don't want more people to be killed in shark attacks.
C) We should stop people from swimming with sharks.


P1)  The Green Party's environmental policies will allow Britain to go green without sacrificing the economy.
P2) The British public should vote for any party at the next election whose environmental policies will will allow Britain to go green without sacrificing the economy.
C)  The British public should vote for the Green Party at the next election.


P1) If we paint the house ourselves, it will be time consuming and hard work.
P2) If we get someone else to do it, it will be expensive.
P3) The painting needs to be done.
C) We have to choose between the expensive option and the time consuming and hard work option.


P1) The animal I saw in the garden last night was too small to be a dog.
C1) Probably, the animal I saw wasn't a dog.
P2) The animal I saw didn't have a tail.
P3) Most cats have tails.
C2) Probably, the animal I saw wasn't a cat.
P4) We rarely get foxes around here.
C3) Probably, the animal I saw wasn't a fox.
C4) Probably, the animal I saw wasn't a cat, a dog, or a fox.


P1) The most important feature of air displacement pipettes is their accuracy.
P2) The 'MiniSquirt' air displacement pipette from Medtools is the most accurate micropipette on the market.
C) If you need an accurate air displacement pipette, you should get a 'MiniSquirt.'

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