discussion question/ response

Project Description:

this discussion helps you develop the skills to master the following course competency:
• apply frameworks and theoretical concepts to systematically analyze business issues.
activity instructions
this activity will help you learn to evaluate arguments, which, according to chaffee in thinking critically, is entirely necessary for constructing your own effective arguments.
• choose any one argument from "thinking activity 10.3" in thinking critically (page 459) and use chaffee's three-step approach to evaluate it.
response guidelines

choose one of the evaluating arguments:

analyze each of the following arguments by completing these steps:

1. summarize the reasons and conclusion given.

2. identify which, if any, of the following deductive argument forms is used:

• application of a general rule

• modus ponens (affirming the antecedent)

• modus tollens (denying the consequence)

• disjunctive syllogism

3. evaluate the truth of the reasons that support the conclusion.

for if the brain is a machine often billion nerve cells and the mind can somehow be explained as the summed activity of a finite number of chemical and electrical reactions, [then] boundaries limit the human prospect—we are biological and our souls cannot fly free.

—edward o. wilson, on human nature

the state is by nature clearly prior to the family and to the individual, since the whole is of necessity prior to the part.

—aristotle, politics

there now is sophisticated research that strongly suggests a deterrent effect [of capital punishment]. furthermore, the principal argument against the deterrent effect is weak. the argument is that in most jurisdictions where capital punishment has been abolished there has been no immediate, sharp increase in what had been capital crimes. but in those jurisdictions, the actual act of abolition was an insignificant event because for years the death penalty had been imposed rarely, if at all. common sense—which deserves deference until it is refuted—suggests that the fear of death can deter some premeditated crimes, including some murders.

—george f. will, cleveland plain-dealer, march 13, 1981

if the increased power which science has conferred upon human volitions is to be a boon and not a curse, the ends to which these volitions are directed must grow commensurately with the growth of power to carry them out. hitherto, although we have been told on sundays to love our neighbor, we have been told on weekdays to hate him, and there are six times as many weekdays as sundays. hitherto, the harm that we could do to our neighbor by hating him was limited by our incompetence, but in the new world upon which we are entering there will be no such limit, and the indulgence of hatred can lead only to ultimate and complete disaster.

—bertrand russell, “the expanding mental universe” (chaffee 459-460)

chaffee, john. thinking critically, 11e, 11th edition. cengage learning, 01/2014. vitalbook file.
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