Cite Sources

1. The following passage presents a deductively valid argument. What is the conclusion of the argument? Some of the sentences state premises, propositions that, taken together, strictly imply the conclusion. Some sentences are neither premises nor conclusions, but instead provide illustrations, explanations, clarifications, or serve some rhetorical purpose. Which sentences state the premises that strictly imply the conclusion? Which premise would someone who does not accept the conclusion of the argument most likely challenge? “Is it worse to kill someone than to let someone die? It seems obvious to common sense that it is worse. We allow people to die, for example, when we fail to contribute money to famine-relief efforts; but even if we feel somewhat guilty, we do not consider ourselves murderers. Nor do we feel like accessories to murder when we fail to give blood, sign an organ-donor card, or do any of the other things that could save lives. Common sense tells us that, while we may not kill people, our duty to give them aid is much more limited. Some philosophers, however, have argued that common sense is wrong about this.They have defended the Equivalence Thesis, which says that killing and letting die are equally bad. This is a more specific version of the idea that there is no moral difference between making something happen and allowing it to happen. […] [One argument for the Equivalency Thesis] appeals to the parity of reasons. Whether something is good or bad depends entirely on the reasons that can be given for or against it; therefore, if we have identical reasons for or against two things, they are equally good or bad. With this in mind, suppose we ask why it is bad to kill someone. The basic reason is that the victim loses his or her life: he will not be able to do the things he wanted to do or experience the things he wanted to experience. Secondary reasons may have to do with the effects of his death on others. But it is also bad to let someone die, and if we ask why, we find the very same reasons: the person ends up dead, with the same effects for both him and his survivors. Thus it appears that killing and letting die are equally bad.” – James Rachels, “Killing vs Letting Die” 2. Explain the difference between deductive and inductive arguments. A strong inductive argument can become weak by adding premises, but a valid deductive argument cannot become invalid by adding premises. Why? 3. Give one example of a fallacious argument in popular discourse: eg, on a blog, newspaper editorial, radio program, facebook post, etc. (If you’er stuck, try reading some Letters to the Editor at The Tennessean). Be sure to to anonymize references to or quotes from social media. Write a summary of the argument and explanation of why it commits the fallacy.

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