Section 1 - The Language of Reasoning Flashcards Preview

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What is the problem with inconsistent reasoning?

You can’t accept the all the reasons, so you can’t accept the conclusion - it is weak.


Assess how strongly these reasons support the conclusion:

“Some people argue that it’s natural for children to play aggressively, and if you take away violent video games they’ll just pick up sticks and pretend to be shooting guns. But just because aggression is natural doesn’t mean it’s a good thing. Video games are also showing signs of being addictive. There have been reports of children spending over 12 hours a day in a darkened room, talking to no one, just staring at a flickering screen. That is not natural.”

• First, the argument claims that you cannot assume something is good just because it is natural. Then, it assumes that something is bad because it is not natural.
• This is inconsistent reasoning.
• It is weak.


What is the term for using two different words as if they mean the same thing?



Assess how strongly the reasons support the conclusion:

“Exposure to violent video causes an increase in feelings of aggression in stressful situations. Aggressive behaviour in stressful situations often leads to incidents of fights and physical abuse, so a ban on violent video games would help decrease rates of violent crime.”

• The argument conflates “feelings of aggression” and “aggressive behaviour”.
• This means that the reasoning does not logically follow.
• This is weak.


Do assumptions weaken an argument?

No, not unless the assumption is questionable.


What is a questionable assumption?

An assumption that most people wouldn’t necessarily agree with.


Name and evaluate the assumption:

“Banning video games would increase the spread of computer viruses, because more people would download games illegally. Therefore the government shouldn’t ban them.”

• Assumption: Computer viruses are bad
• This is an acceptable assumption.


Name and evaluate the assumption:

“Violent video games provide an outlet for aggression. It’s natural for youths to be aggressive, so the government should encourage the use of violent video games.”

• Assumption: Something should be encouraged just because it’s natural
• This is a questionable assumption


When asked to assess how strongly reasons support a conclusion, what must you remember to do?

• Include quotes to back up your ideas.
• Explain each point with relevance to the text.
• It’s good to consider both strengths and weaknesses

(See example pg 19 of revision guide)