Reading Reflection #6: Logical Fallacies

  1. Which of the fallacies described in this chapter have you heard/seen used the most often? In what kind of situations have you heard the fallacy used?
    • I have heard / seen he Ad Hominem and Red Herring fallacy the most. Often when in arguments, people will target the individual instead of the actual information that is at hand. When talking about politics or right and wrong situations I tend to see people use Ad Hominem. As for Red Herring, I often see this in suspense novels to make the reader think one thing and mislead them to the conclusion.
  1. Describe a time when you may have used one of these fallacies (either consciously or subconsciously) to argue your point of view. How did the person you were talking with respond?
    • When arguing my point to family members, I often use Red Herring to try to change the subject when I either find myself wrong or not wanting to try to argue my point anymore. Depending on who I am with, some people will catch me trying to change the subject through Red Herrings, but others won’t notice and they will drift to the other subject without noticing. 
  1. Identify the fallacies in the following passage: Slippery Slope & Appeal to Questioning Authority 

There has been a dangerous trend of states’ legalizing gay marriage as of late. It’s apparent that the gay agenda has infiltrated the legislative bodies of these states and has influenced the legislatures into passing laws that allow gay marriage. The liberal media and its glorification of gay marriage have certainly played a part as well. These laws destroy the traditional morals of this great nation.

Despite the trend, several politicians still agree that gay marriage is an affront to America’s traditions and values. If America allows gay marriage, it’s only a matter of time before this nation allows other nontraditional relationships, such as polygamy or incest. Marriage has always been a sacred institution between a man and a woman and should remain that way. Otherwise, it’s inevitable that the morals of the American people will fall by the wayside.

  1. Identify the fallacies in the following passage: Appealing to Emotions & Slippery Slope & Red Herring

Fraternity members who hold college parties are unfairly depicted in the media because of overreactions to a few cases where fights or sexual assaults have occurred at a fraternity party. Only an idiot would ban fraternity parties on campus. Most of the complaints about fraternity parties come from antisocial loners, people who hate parties in the first place. I’ve held several fraternity parties with alcohol available and nothing has ever gone wrong. Clearly placing some kind of ban or regulation on fraternity parties on campus would be a pointless action. I have seen other parties off campus that were not held by fraternities where assaults happened. Once administrators ban fraternity parties, their next step will be to ban any sort of social event on campus where alcohol is permitted.

  1. Choose one of the passages above and make three suggestions for how the argument could be stronger.
    • For both passages above, I suggest that people don’t jump to conclusions as fast, backing up your evidence adds strength to your arguments and use statements that are direct and honest.

Reading Reflection #5: Census 2020

  1. Why is it important to be counted in the census?
    • It is important to be counted in the census because the census helps the government understand who is in each area and how they can help the people in each area more specifically. It also helps businesses and city planners decided what is needed in specific areas of each state. 
  2. Who are often uncounted in the census? Why might some people wish not to be counted? What are some personal and societal impacts of not being counted?
    • Many younger people under the age of 5, immigrants or undocumented citizens, and homeless people are often uncounted. One reason people wish not to be counted is the concern for data privacy and confidentiality. Societal and personal impacts of not filling out the census include funding cuts, state and localities assistance decrease, and the possibility of legislation districts reformation for the worst. 
  3. What is one new thing you learned during the session?
    • I learned that the information gathered from the census can not be released for 72 years and the information collected can not be given to FBI or ICE. 
  4. Describe one of your passions (i.e. something important to you) and how it connects with federal or state funding.
    • I am passionate of school for younger kids. I believe that all young children should have access to free public education and if young kids are not counted on the census then funding for the free education for younger kids may be cut.

Reading Reflection #4: Ambiguity and Assumption

  1. How does the book define “ambiguity” and why is it important to identify any ambiguous terms before evaluating an argument?
    • The book defines ambiguity when the meaning is so uncertain in the context being examined that further clarification must take place before judging the adequacy of the reasoning. It is important to identify ambiguous terms so that the readers fully understand what the writer is intending in their work. Without knowing the full meaning, you may miss the point and create opinions that may not be correct. 
  2. Why are dictionary definitions of key terms and phrases used in an argument often not sufficiently helpful in determining their meaning?
    • Dictionary definitions fail to tell you specific properties that are crucial for the understanding of them. Dictionary definitions consist of synonyms, examples, and incomplete specifications of criteria for particular essays. At times, you must read in-between the lines and take what you know about the topic to help define ambiguous words.
  3. ARQ stresses that not all ambiguous terms or phrases are equally important. How do you determine which ones are the most important to identify?
    • To identify the most important ambiguous terms, determine if the term may have two or more alternative meanings that both make sense in the context of the argument. You can substitute the alternative meaning into the reasoning structure and see if it changes the meaning in how the reason supports the conclusion.
  4. How do value and descriptive assumptions differ?
    • Value assumptions are taken-for-granted beliefs about desirability of certain competing values, how the world should be, while descriptive assumptions are defined as beliefs about the way the world was, is, or will be.
  5. Why is it important for people to be aware of what values they and others are assuming (a.k.a. of their value assumptions) when they argue about a social issue? Provide an example.
    • It is important to understand your own values along with others to ensure you are not jumping to conclusions or misunderstanding the context of the reasons. With social issues, people become very passionate about these specific issues and when you don’t understand one another values the issue at hand can become bigger and possible incorrect conclusions can arise. An example may include drug abuse. You must state your reasons logically and clearly to help the readers understand the reason and conclusion rather than misunderstand and cause conflict.
  6. Why do so few experts (such as politicians, scientists, professors, and television pundits) make value priorities explicit? Should individuals expressing their opinions on a social controversy make their value priorities explicit? Why should or shouldn’t they?
    • I believe that experts choose not to make their value priorities explicit because they are often judged by others and when they state something and a large group of people disagree, then their expertise and credibility are questioned. I believe that each situation is different. I think the more power and influence an individual has then the more people should and will know about them, with that I think they should be more open and honest about their value priorities.
  7. Look at the table of “Typical Value Conflict and Sample Controversies” on page 57 of ARQ. Try to think of one more to add to this list, and an example of when the two values conflict.
    • One example to workplace harassment / bullying is speaking up or staying quiet.

Reading Reflection Post #3: Issues, Conclusions, and Reasons

Reading Reflection 3

  1. The first issue is descriptive issues. These issues reflect individuals curiosity about patterns or order in the world. The other issue mentioned is prescriptive issues and these questions touch on ethics and morals. Prescriptive issues touch on right and wrong, good or bad, and answer how things ought to be. You can tell the difference between the two issues by inferring from cues, researching the writer, and understanding which issue is which and how each of them are asked. 
  2. To determine the authors conclusion, ask “What is the writer or speaker trying to prove?” Or “what is the communicator’s main point?” To locate the conclusion, find the statement that the writer wants you to believe or the this, because of that statement. With that, anything that you infer is also a conclusion based on the understanding and reading you have read. The following clues may also help when finding the conclusion. 1. Ask what the issue is: know the issue and find the response. 2. Look for indicator words: listen for indicator words to prepare for a conclusion or summed up thesis. 3. Look in likely locations: beginning and end often mention the conclusion. 4. Remember what a conclusion is not: not examples, stats, definitions, or evidence. 5. Check the context of the communication and the authors background: know the author because they often write in similar positions of issues. 
  3. An argument is the combination of the reasons and final conclusion. There can be very few reasons or many reasons that are related to the conclusion. The characteristics of an argument are intent or hope to convince the reader, quality variance, and they have both a reason(s) and conclusion. 
  4. Why? Why does the writer or author believe this? (Or a similar form to the question.) Indicator words for reasons include: because, as a result of, is supported by, studies show that, for the reason that, and because….
  5. Identify (a) the overall issue discussed, (b) the author’s conclusion, and (c) the author’s reasons that explain why we should believe the conclusion. (A) The issue of the article is how can intellectual humility make you a better person. (b) The conclusion is that intellectual humility involves more than what we know. It involves listening to others while applying some empathy and talking time to expand our knowledge and accept, at times, what we think may be wrong. (c) One reason for this conclusion are the studies done and the research found by the University of California. They have proven that listening to others helps to increase our long-term intellectual process. Another reason is people strive for wisdom and they want to know more. Reason three includes the more intellectually flexible people are, the more people have to gain.