Assignment Two: Article Analysis
Due: By 11:59 p.m., Monday 02/28/2022
For this assignment, you will need to pick TWO opposing essays from the Articles in this module (all articles/essays were derived from the Gale Opposing Viewpoints Database), read them, and analyze them using the tools you are developing in this class ▬ in particular, reconstructing arguments into standard form, and to then test the arguments for either soundness or cogency. When you utilize any outside sources (web sites, books, journal articles, etc.), you must cite them on a Works Cited page. If you quote directly or paraphrase from the textbook, you must cite the page numbers from which you derived the information. Use M.L.A. style, parenthetical citation, NO footnotes or endnotes.
Both essays must be for the same topic/controversy. You simply choose two essays from the articles provided from the Opposing Viewpoints database. After reading the essays, follow the instructions below.
Don’t forget to include a heading, parenthetical citation, a Works Cited page, and to double-space your submission ▬ submit everything as a single document file, not piecemeal.
Identify each essay and their stated positions (which one is FOR and which is AGAINST).
Secondly, provide a synopsis/summary of each essay (about five to eight sentences for each summary).
Select a major argument from each essay (cite the arguments) and then separately reconstruct each argument into standard form. Identify each argument as either deductive or inductive. Note: ideally, each argument would support the stated position of the essay from which it was derived. Then either determine its validity and soundness (if deductive) or apply the cogency criteria (ARG conditions ▬ if it’s inductive).
Lastly, explain which essay you think had the better argument? Explain whether you think that essay has a defensible position and could persuade someone to change their opinion on said controversial issue (about five to eight sentences).
Here is an example of an argument and its reconstruction into standard form.
It was derived from <http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/philosophy/>
A passage by 18th-century British philosopher David Hume:
Take any action allowed to be vicious: Willful murder, for instance. Examine it in all lights, and see if you can find that matter of fact, or real existence, which you call vice. In whichever way you take it, you find only certain passions, motives, volitions and thoughts. There is no other matter of fact in the case. The vice entirely escapes you, as long as you consider the object. You never can find it, till you turn your reflection into your own breast, and find a sentiment of disapprobation, which arises in you, towards this action. Here is a matter of fact, but it is the object of feeling, not of reason. It lies in yourself, not in the object. So that when you pronounce any action or character to be vicious, you mean nothing, but that from the constitution of your nature you have a feeling or sentiment of blame from the contemplation of it. (David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature).
One might utilize the following steps below in reconstructing it into standard form.
Step 1: Reread the passage a few times, stopping to look up any unfamiliar words – “disapprobation,” maybe. Be sure you understand the important terms, like “vicious.” (By “vicious,” Hume seems to mean “wicked, depraved, or immoral,” which probably is not the way you use the word in everyday speech.)
Step 2: Identify the conclusion (Caution: It won’t always be the first or the last sentence in the passage; it may not even be explicitly stated). In this case, Hume’s conclusion is something like this: The viciousness of an action is a feeling of disapprobation in the person who considers it, not a property of the action itself.
Step 3: Identify the premises. Consider the conclusion and ask yourself what the author needs to do to prove it. Hume’s conclusion here seems to have two parts:
When we call an action vicious, we mean that our “nature” causes us to feel blame when we contemplate that action.
There is nothing else that we could mean when we call an action “vicious.”
Step 4: Identify the evidence. Hume considers an example, murder, and points out that when we consider why we say that murder is vicious, two things happen:
We realize that when we contemplate murder, we feel “a sentiment of disapprobation” in ourselves.
No matter how hard we look, we don’t see any other “matter of fact” that could be called “vice”—all we see “in the object” (the murder) are “certain passions, motives, volitions, and thoughts.”
Step 5: Identify unspoken assumptions. Hume assumes that murder is a representative case of “viciousness.” He also assumes that if there were “viciousness” in the “object” (the murder), we would be able to “see” it – it isn’t somehow hidden from us. Depending on how important you think these assumptions are, you may want to make them explicit in your reconstruction.
Step 6: Sketch out a formal reconstruction of the argument as a series of steps.
1. If we examine a vicious action like murder, we see passions, motives, volitions, and thoughts.
2. We don’t see anything else.
3. So we don’t see any property or “matter of fact” called “viciousness.”
4. Assumption: What we don’t see is not there.
5. When we examine our feelings about murder, we see a “sentiment of disapprobation.”
6. This feeling of disapprobation is the only thing all the acts we think are vicious have in common, and we feel it whenever we confront a vicious act — that is, all and only vicious acts produce the feeling of disapprobation [unstated premise].
7. [Conclusion] So the viciousness of a bad action is a feeling of disapprobation in the person who considers it, not a factual property of the action itself.
Is this a deductive argument? If so, is it valid? If it’s valid, is it sound?
Is this an inductive argument? If so, is it strong? If it’s strong, is it cogent (it satisfies the ARG conditions.
In either case, you need to EXPLAIN your analysis.
(Attached are the 2 opposing essays.)
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