Thursday, September 08, 2005

First Assignment Sample/Template

Here is a sample/template of the sort of thing I'm looking for on the first assignment.

Section 1: Present the Argument:

Premise 1: Blah blah.
Premise 2: If blah blah then blee blee.
Conclusion: Therefore, blee blee.

Section 2: Explain the Argument:

Premise 1 is true because . . .
Premise 2 is true because . . .

That is all you really need. Now I will write some comments on the above template.

Comment 1: Your conclusion should be a declarative sentence instead of 'blee blee'.

Example: 'Therefore, time travel is not possible.'

Comment 2: You should try to make your presented argument deductively valid. 'Deductive validity' is defined on the handout and in the Argument Handbook. Any argument that has the form of the argument above is valid by Modus Ponens. You do not need to state that in your assignment. Just try to present a valid argument.

Comment 3: The premises of your argument should be reasons for thinking the conclusion is true, along with premises that logically connect your reasons with your conclusion.

Example: If your conclusion is 'Therefore, time travel is impossible', one reason to think that is true is that, as far as we know, people from the future have not travelled back to our time to tell us about it. You can replace 'blah blah' in the above argument with this reason. Note that the second premise just says that if [reason], then [conclusion]. So the resulting argument would look like this in English:

Premise 1: People from the future have not travelled back to our time.
Premise 2: If people from the future have not travelled back to our time, then time travel is impossible.
Conclusion: Therefore, time travel is impossible.

Comment 4: Your explanations should be a brief sentence or three about why we should think the premise is true.


Premise 1 is true because time travel would be awesome so if someone did it, it would be reasonable to expect them to tell everybody about what they did. But that has not happened. So premise 1 is true.

This procedure is outlined in detail in the Argument Handbook. I hope that it is a bit clearer now. Please respond to this post if you have further questions or concerns.


Blogger dmbpampa said...

Do you want this assignment in paragraph/essay form or in bullet format as you have above?

4:36 PM  
Blogger Chris Tillman said...

I would prefer the bullet format, as above.

6:09 PM  

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