Chapter 5

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PHIL 148
Chapter 5
Stuff to include in and leave out of the
standard form argument
Tangents
• Not all statements a person makes in the course of an
argument are necessary for stating their argument.
• Many claims are related but are tangential.
• It is not necessary to put these claims in the standard
form argument
Repetition
• Whether from awkwardness or rhetorical purpose,
repeating the same idea several times in the course of an
argument does not add anything to the standard form
argument.
Make terms consistent
• Say someone discusses “economic troubles”, “financial
hardships”, a “credit crisis”, “poor stock market
performance”, etc. all in the same article but at different
points.
• People often use synonymous words or phrases just for
variety. When they do this, it is okay to condense them to
make the standard form argument look neater
• Sometimes, however, authors use similar but distinct
language to be precise.
Condensing:
Main argument:
Cleaned up:
P1. Spendthrift government
policy has led to a credit
crisis.
P2. Bad economic
performance always
generates more
government spending.
C. If the cycle isn’t broken,
then financial hardship will
continue.
P1. Deficit spending has
caused bad economic
performance
P2. Bad economic
performance will cause
additional deficit spending
C. If deficit spending
continues, then bad
economic performance will
result.
Example (claims that work together):
• (1) Bill is a student at Yale. (2) No student at Yale has won
the Nobel Prize. (3) Therefore, Bill has not won the Nobel
Prize.
1 + 2
3
Example (independent claims):
• (1) The president is soft on the environment. (2) He has
weakened clean-air regulations (3) and lifted restrictions
on logging in the West.
2
3
1
Example: (complex arguments)
• Conclusion: (3) The idea that God is required to be the enforcer of the moral law is not
plausible. Premises: (4) In the first place, as an empirical hypothesis about the
psychology of human beings, it is questionable. (5) There is no unambiguous evidence
that theists are more moral than nontheists. (6) Not only have psychological studies
failed to find a significant correlation between frequency of religious worship and moral
conduct, but convicted criminals are much more likely to be theists than atheists. (7)
Second, the threat of divine punishment cannot impose a moral obligation. (8) Might
does not make right.
Chapter 5 Exercise 2 #4
Mercury is known to be the only metal that is liquid at room
temperature, so a pound of mercury would be liquid in this
room, which is at room temperature, and it would also
conduct electricity, since all metals do. Therefore, some
liquids do conduct electricity.
Chapter 5 Exercise 2 #4
Mercury is known to be the only metal that is liquid at room
temperature, so a pound of mercury would be liquid in this
room, which is at room temperature, and it would also
conduct electricity, since all metals do. Therefore, some
liquids do conduct electricity.
-Argument markers
Chapter 5 Exercise 2 #4
Mercury is known to be the only metal that is liquid at room
temperature, so a pound of mercury would be liquid in this
room, which is at room temperature, and it would also
conduct electricity, since all metals do.
C: Some liquids do conduct electricity.
-Main conclusion
Chapter 5 Exercise 2 #4
P1: Mercury is known to be the only metal that is
liquid at room temperature.
P2: This room is at room temperature
C1: A pound of mercury would be liquid in this
room,
and it would also conduct electricity, since all
metals do.
C: Some liquids do conduct electricity.
-first subargument
Chapter 5 Exercise 2 #4
P1: Mercury is known to be the only metal that is
liquid at room temperature.
P2: This room is at room temperature
C1: A pound of mercury would be liquid in this
room,
P3: All metals conduct electricity.
P4: A pound of mercury would conduct electricity.
C: Some liquids do conduct electricity.
-second subargument
Chapter 5 Exercise 2 #4
P1: Mercury is known to be the only metal that is
liquid at room temperature.
P2: This room is at room temperature
C1: A pound of mercury would be liquid in this
room,
P3: All metals conduct electricity.
P4: A pound of mercury would conduct electricity.
C: Some liquids do conduct electricity.
-we’ll now number the statements for diagramming
Chapter 5 Exercise 2 #4
1: Mercury is known to be the only metal that is
liquid at room temperature.
2: This room is at room temperature
3: A pound of mercury would be liquid in this room,
4: All metals conduct electricity.
5: A pound of mercury would conduct electricity.
6: Some liquids do conduct electricity.
-we’ll now number the statements for diagramming
1: Mercury is known to be the
only metal that is liquid at
room temperature.
2: This room is at room
temperature
3: A pound of mercury would
be liquid in this room,
4: All metals conduct
electricity.
5: A pound of mercury would
conduct electricity.
6: Some liquids do conduct
electricity.
Main conclusion: (at
bottom)
6
1: Mercury is known to be the
only metal that is liquid at
room temperature.
2: This room is at room
temperature
3: A pound of mercury would
be liquid in this room,
4: All metals conduct
electricity.
5: A pound of mercury would
conduct electricity.
6: Some liquids do conduct
electricity.
Since 3, 4 and 5 are all
required to work
together to support 6,
these look like:
3 +
4
+
5
6
1: Mercury is known to be the
only metal that is liquid at
room temperature.
2: This room is at room
temperature
3: A pound of mercury would
be liquid in this room,
4: All metals conduct
electricity.
5: A pound of mercury would
conduct electricity.
6: Some liquids do conduct
electricity.
Since 1 and 2 work together
to support 3, these look like:
+
2
3 +
4
1
+
5
6
PHIL 148
CHAPTER 5
STUFF TO INCLUDE IN AND LEAVE OUT OF
THE STANDARD FORM ARGUMENT
UNSTATED PREMISES:
Sometimes an argument can appear to have only one
premise. This is what happens when the person supplying
the argument assumes some fact that is (usually) too
obvious to be stated directly.
There is usually nothing wrong with this, but in this course
we will make a habit of filling in unstated premises.
KINDS OF SUPPRESSED
PREMISES:
•Factual: facts that are left unstated because they are
assumed to be common knowledge.
•Linguistic: these are facts about how certain words and
concepts relate to one another that are left unstated because
it is assumed that any competent user of the language is
aware of them.
•Evaluative: these are phrases that imply a value judgment
without directly stating that value judgment.
EXAMPLE
1.
The news media are not in the business of endorsing or
validating lifestyles.
C. The media should not endorse lifestyles.
This argument is missing the claim that people should not do
what they are not in the business of doing. [unstated
evaluative premise]
EXAMPLE
(CONTINUED)
1.
News media abandons its objectivity when it endorses
lifestyles.
C. News media should not endorse lifestyles.
This argument is missing the claim that the news media
should not abandon its objectivity.
EXAMPLE
(CONTINUED)
1.
Endorsing lifestyles means the news media destroys
what respect people have for it.
C. The news media should not endorse lifestyles.
Can you spot the unstated premise?
A COMMON ARGUMENT
STRUCTURE:
1.
2.
Statement of a particular state of affairs
Normative principle (contains the word ‘should’, ‘ought’,
‘must’, etc.)
C. Connects the two statements in a logical way
Example:
1. The new construction proposal would break the state
budget
2. The state should not break its budget
C. The state should reject the new construction proposal.
CH. 5, EX. 6
1. Britney Spears is under age thirty-five. Therefore, she
cannot run for president of the United States.
P1 Britney Spears is under age thirty-five.
P2
C She cannot run for president of the United States.
CH. 5, EX. 6
1. Britney Spears is under age thirty-five. Therefore, she
cannot run for president of the United States.
P1 Britney Spears is under age thirty-five.
P2 Nobody under age thirty-five can run for president of the
united states. [contingent fact]
C She cannot run for president of the United States.
CH. 5, EX. 6
3. 81 is not a prime number because 81 is divisible by 3
P1 81 is divisible by 3
P2
C 81 is not a prime number
CH. 5, EX. 6
3. 81 is not a prime number because 81 is divisible by 3
P1 81 is divisible by 3
P2 Prime numbers are divisible only by 1 and themselves.
[Linguistic: The thing doing the work here is the meaning of
the term ‘prime number’]
C 81 is not a prime number
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