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For this journal assignment,




of the following prompts:


The differing meanings of “valid inference” and “warranted inference” are closely related to the differing purposes of deductive and inductive arguments – the purpose of deductive being to prove; the purpose of inductive to make the conclusion most probable.

Look up the words “valid” and “warranted.” Each of these words, you will find, has what is known as a lexical definition – that is just the dictionary definition of the word. Words also have a certain connotations – meanings that go beyond their lexical definitions; associated ideas and concepts – think of terms such a “fur baby” as the name for a pet.

Briefly discuss how the lexical definitions and connotations of “valid” and “warranted” can help us understand the differing purposes of deductive and inductive arguments.


In Section 8.2, the text states that there are “fallacious argument templates” (Facione & Gittens, p. 167) and then gives a number of examples. The authors further state: “Analysis of the meanings of the terms used and the grammatical rules of the language reveal the source of error” (p.167).

Choose one of the fallacies in this section, such as Denying the Antecedent or False Classification and pair it with the valid argument template. For example, if you choose Denying the Antecedent, the valid argument template will be Denying the Consequent. False Classification would pair with one of the fallacies in Reasoning About Classes of Objects.

Explain, in your own words, how the fallacy is revealed through analysis of the valid argument template. Think of it this way – if you know how the heart works, you will know that certain malfunctions will prevent it from working.  For example, if you know that the coronary arteries supply the heart with blood, then you can reason that a blockage will stop that vital flow. So this journal prompt asks you to explain, in your own words, how one of the valid argument templates work – and how that exposes the fallacy connected with that type of argument.

Civic Responsibility:

At the end of Chapter 9 there is a Bonus Exercise that asks you to research and analyze the 2009 debate over the healthcare public option. If you were actually to complete that exercise, it would take quite a bit of time and effort.

Do you think that completing such an exercise would be time well spent or time wasted? If well-spent, why? If time wasted, why?

Is there any issue on which you think a comparable amount of time and effort would be worthwhile?

As a critical thinker, do you believe that citizens have an obligation to be informed on topics of current interest? If yes, why, if no, why not?

Fallacies Needed From Text

8.2 Fallacies Masquerading as Valid Arguments:

Just as there are valid argument templates, there are fallacious argument templates. Analysis of the meanings of the terms used and the grammatical rules of the language reveal the source of the error. Precision of thought and expression is the key to avoiding these mistakes when making or evaluating arguments offered as valid inferences. Often, a counter-example that mirrors the fallacious argument template will have the power to reveal the illogical structure, expose the fallacy, and squelch the argument’s apparent persuasiveness. As before, in this section please assume that the premises of the example arguments are all true, so that we can focus on their logical flaws rather than their factual inaccuracies

Denying the Antecedent :

Suppose the same hypothetical as before: “If the river continues to rise, then the carpet will get wet.” And suppose that we receive the good news that the river has crested and is now receding. It does not follow that the carpet will not get wet. We still must contend with the leaky dishwasher, the open window, and dear old Uncle Joe, the sofa watering man. The fallacy of Denying the Antecedent follows this invalid pattern: Premise #1: If A, then B. Premise #2: Not  A. Conclusion: Therefore not B. As before, A may not be the only condition that brings about B. So, it does not make logical sense to think that just because A does not happen, B cannot happen. Here are two more examples of the fallacy of Denying the Antecedent. • If everyone who lived in Mississippi drank red wine daily, then the wine industry would be booming. But some Mississippians never drink red wine. So, the wine industry is not booming. • If we see a light in the window, we know that there is someone at home. But we do not see a light in the window. So, no one is home.

False Classification

Suppose “Criminals enjoy mafia movies” and “Cassandra enjoys mafia movies” are both true. It does not follow that Cassandra is a criminal. The same feature or attribute can be true of two groups or two individuals without requiring that one group must be classified as part of the other group or that the two individuals must be grouped together in all ways. The facts that Emile attended the campus concert and so did 50 students from the local high school does not make Emile a high school student. Here are three more examples of the False Classification fallacy. • A good number of residents of Iowa enjoy reading popular fiction. Some who enjoy popular fiction also enjoy windsurfing on their local beaches. So, a good number of residents of Iowa enjoy windsurfing on their local beaches. • The police profiler said that the rapist was a white male, age 25–35, and aggressive. The suspect is a white male, 28 years old, and aggressive. This establishes that the suspect must be the rapist. • There are ways of telling whether or not she is a witch. Wood burns and so do witches burn. So how do we tell if she is made of wood? Well, wood floats. And ducks float. So, if she floats, then she weighs the same as a duck and therefore she is made of wood. And there-fore . . . , she is a witch! (Condensed from Monty Python and the Holy Grail Scene 5: “She’s a Witch,” 1975.) Millions have enjoyed the humor that Monty Python created out of this fallacy in the famous “She’s a Witch” scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. If you Google “Witch Monty Python” chances are you will find the scene. The Monty Python knight’s reasoning implies certain death for the poor woman accused of witchcraft, but only if all three premises are true. Premise #1: If she floats, then she is a witch and we shall burn her. Premise #2: If she does not float, she’ll drown. Premise #3: Either she will float or she will not float. [Unspoken.] Conclusion: Ergo, she dies.

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