Reading Reflection #4: Ambiguity and Assumptions (due 2/27)

To complete this reading reflection assignment, (1) Go to your personal blog, (2) Click on New -> Post, (3) Title the post Reading Reflection #4: Ambiguity and Assumptions, (4) Select the Category box for Reading Reflection Assignments, and (5) Add a few descriptive tags. Remember to respond to all seven prompts below.

Based on your reading of the ARQ chapter 4, “What Words or Phrases are Ambiguous?,” respond to the following prompts:

  1. How does the book define “ambiguity” and why is it important to identify any ambiguous terms before evaluating an argument?
  2. Why are dictionary definitions of key terms and phrases used in an argument often not sufficiently helpful in determining their meaning?
  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?

Based on your reading of the ARQ chapter 5, “What Are the Value and Descriptive Assumptions?,” respond to the following prompts:

  1. How do value and descriptive assumptions differ?
  2. 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.
  3. 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?
  4. 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. Write it down here and be prepared to share it in class.

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