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Evaluating Truth and Validity Exercise (Essay Sample)


Select three of the scenarios in the Applications list 12.2 (a.-y.) at the end of Ch. 12 in The Art of Thinking. Apply the following in 350 to 500 words for each scenario: •Evaluate each argument, using the 4-step process described •Explain your assessment and add alternative argumentation where necessary. Format your paper consistent with APA guidelines. a. Having great wealth is a worthy goal because it is difficult to attain and many famous people have pursued it. b. Low grades on a college transcript are a handicap in the job market, so teachers who grade harshly are doing students a disservice. c. The Bible can’t be relevant to today’s problems; it was written many centuries ago and is filled with archaic phrasing. 1. State your argument fully, as clearly as you can. Be sure to identify any hidden premises and, if the argument is complex, to express all parts of it. 2. Examine each part of your argument for errors affecting truth. (To be sure your examination is not perfunctory, play devil’s advocate and challenge the argument, asking pointed questions about it, taking nothing for granted.) Note any instances of either/or thinking, avoiding the issue, overgeneralizing, oversimplifying, double standard, shifting the burden of proof, or irrational appeal. In addition, check to be sure that the argument reflects the evidence found in your investigation (see Chapter 8) and is relevant to the pro and con arguments and scenarios you produced earlier (see Chapter 9). 3. Examine your argument for validity errors; that is, consider the reasoning that links conclusions to premises. Determine whether your conclusion is legitimate or illegitimate. 4. If you find one or more errors, revise your argument to eliminate them. The changes you will have to make in your argument will depend on the kinds of errors you find. Sometimes, only minor revision is called for—the adding of a simple qualification, for example, or the substitution of a rational appeal for an irrational one. Occasionally, however, the change required is more dramatic. You may, for example, find your argument so flawed that the only appropriate action is to abandon it altogether and embrace a different argument. On those occasions, you may be tempted to pretend your argument is sound and hope no one will notice the errors. Resist that hope. It is foolish as well as dishonest to invest time in refining a view that you know is unsound.


Evaluating Truth and Validity
Critical thinking is a concept that deals with the ability of one to think clearly and rationally. A person with critical thinking is able to understand logical relations in ideas and solve problems in a rationally. Critical thinking therefore follows a strict method that involves rationalism and reasoning to deem an idea valid or invalid. Most critical thinking involves itself with deductive argument where the truth of the conclusion of an argument is measured against the premises stated. Often, many arguments state one premise and the other is hidden as it may be considered obvious. For instance, three arguments below will be evaluated in order to determine the validity and truth of their conclusion (Vocabulary Describing Arguments. par 3).
Having great wealth is a worthy goal because it is difficult to attain and many famous people have pursued it.
In this statement, there is hidden premise which is rather assumed obvious from the argument. The full description of the argument would be: having great wealth is worthy goal because it is difficult to attain and many famous people have pursue great wealth. Therefore is right to say that anything that is difficult to attain and is pursued by famous people is a worthy goal.
The first premise of the argument states that wealth is a worthy goal that one should pursue in. To strengthen the premise, it is followed by the second premise that states that it is difficult for one to attain wealth. Lastly, the argument states that famous people have pursued wealth. Therefore according to the argument, difficult things pursued by famous people are worth goals. This is especially true in that a big number of famous people are relatively wealthy. Only a small number of people who are not wealthy are not famous. According to this premise, the status of fame is fundamentally based on wealth and thus many famous people become so as they are in search of wealth. Conceptually, famous people such as Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa are famous for not being wealthy but because they defied the conventional pursuit of accumulating wealth. From this argument it is possible to argue that wealth is a worthy goal for one to pursue as it satisfies ones wants. People who defied wealth have had to deny themselves a lot of things that they would otherwise need and have (Ruggiero, Ch. 8, 2012).
The second part argues that it is difficult for one to attain wealth. Looking at the previous example of Gandhi and Teresa, it is enough t...
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