Critical reasoning/Course guide/Assignment 2

From WikiEducator
Jump to: navigation, search

Icon assess.gif


This assignment consists of two sections: section A and section B. Section A deals with the analysis of arguments and section B deals with the evaluation of arguments.
There are eight (8) questions. The value of each question is 2%, therefore the total mark of assignment 2 is 16%. Answer all questions.


SECTION A: The analysis of arguments

Analyse the following arguments to determine the conclusion(s) and premises:

  1. Euthanasia cannot be justified. The judgement that a patient is terminally ill isn't always the last word, you know. The diagnosis may be mistaken, a new cure may come along, and cancer patients have been known to go into spontaneous remission. But death is the last word. Once you have killed a patient, he or she is beyond all hope. How would you feel if a wonder drug turned up the next day, or if the doctors discovered their diagnosis was wrong? (Adapted from J. Olen & V. Barry, Applying ethics, 7th edition, Wadsworth, New York, 1999, p. 235)
  2. “Most parents want their children to have successful careers. Since education is essential to success, it is the duty of parents to give children the best possible education. Because it is also in the country’s economic interest to have a highly educated population, the Government should help parents to provide for their children’s education. Therefore all parents should receive financial help towards the cost of their children’s education, so the low paid should receive tax credits and those who are better off should receive tax relief.”
    (A. Fisher, Critical thinking: an introduction, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2001, p. 24)
  3. The view in favour of the law allowing people to adopt a specific sexual lifestyle has led to a number of serious consequences. I’m not just talking about such tragedies as teen mothers, but things like the gay rights movement. First we have homosexuals demanding the right to teach in elementary schools, then we have homosexual couples demanding the right to adopt children, then we have them demanding that homosexual ‘spouses’ be included in family medical plans and the like. I have no idea where all this is ultimately heading, but it’s certainly not in the right direction. We can’t let children grow up believing that homosexuality is just another life-style, and we can’t have society treating homosexual relationships like real marriages. No society can survive treating homosexual relationships as a form of sexual libertarianism.
    (Adapted from J. Olen & V. Barry, Applying ethics, 7th edition, Wadsworth, New York, 1999, p. 85)
  4. Ecology teaches us that human life is crucially intertwined with the ecosystem as a whole, yet ecologists frequently emphasise how little we actually know about the complicated multileveled interaction of life forms. If we destroy one part of the ecosystem, we may unwittingly trigger a chain of events that ultimately culminates in substantial detriment to human well-being. Hence, a serious regard for human welfare seems to necessitate our making every effort to preserve our natural environment.


SECTION B: The evaluation of arguments

Evaluate the arguments in section A above to determine the following aspects:

  1. What kind of argument are we dealing with?
  2. What is the arguer claiming?
  3. What reasons does the arguer offer to support his claim?
  4. Are the reasons in support of the conclusion acceptable?
  5. Is it a good argument? Give reasons for your answer.