Your objective in this assignment is to compose a critical argument critique for the five arguments presented. Remember from your reading that a SOUND argument must pass two tests:
(1) THE VALIDITY TEST: It must be valid, and
(2) THE TRUE PREMISES TEST: All the premises must be true.
Determine for each of the five arguments whether the writers argument is sound and valid, and briefly discuss why or why not.
The 5 Arguments to be critiqued are listed below.
Five Arguments for Critical Review
Argument 1:An Argument Against Capital Punishment
Introduction:Below are several arguments that would rank at different grades across the entire Argument Evaluation Scale.Some are weak; some are strong, and some are in between.Your job is to apply your critical thinking skills and determine how strong or sound the arguments are.Note that each proposition in some of the arguments has been numbered in order to make diagramming their logical relationships easier.
1 [ Capital punishment should be abolished.] This is because 2 [it is just another way our country oppresses non-European, non-white males.]Another reasons is that 3 [ capital punishment is essentially unjust.
4 [If over 80% of death-row inmates are African-American males, then capital punishment is just another way of oppressing non-European, non-white males.]Since5[over 80% of death-row inmates are African-American males], it must be the case that6[ capital punishment is just another way this country oppresses non-European, non-white males.]
There is other evidence for our systematic oppression of non-European, non-white males as well:Since7[a disproportionate number of African-American males are below the poverty line,] and since8[ one out of every two African- American males will be victims of a violent crime before they are 21 years old.] and since 9[ it is more likely that an African-American male in a big city will be shot than graduate from college,] then it is very likely the case that10 [ capital punishment is just another way we have of oppressing non-European, non-white males.]
Besides11[there are many instances where the state has mistakenly executed otherwise innocent persons.]In addition,12[once capital punishment has been administered, it cannot be taken back.]Moreover,13[the state is no better than a murderer itself it if operates on the principle of an â€œeye for an eye.â€]For all these reasons it follows that14[capital punishment is essentially unjust.]
15[If capital punishment should be abolished, then Congress should pass a Constitutional amendment banning it.]16 [Capital punishment should be abolished.]Therefore,17 [ Congress should pass a Constitutional amendment banning capital punishment.]
Argument 2:An Argument for Free Speech on Talk Radio
Since1[no speech which causes violence is constitutionally guaranteed free speech,] and since2[ all public speech on talk shows should remain constitutionally guaranteed free speech,]it follows that3[no public speech on talk shows is speech which causes violence.]
The reason the first premises is true is that4[ our founding fathers knew that it is the government which causes violence when it denies citizensâ€ basic freedoms.]Also,5[the only speech which might cause violence the founding fathers ruled out as violating the Constitution.]
[Donâ€t the liberals get it?]7[Itâ€s the government which caused the
[Everyone has the right to choose their own morality.]8[Those who try to impose their morality on someone else, no matter how reasonable their morality may seem, are wrong.]9[Every adult must make his own choice.]10[I do not believe that society has been duped by rock music,] and that 11 [all of youthâ€s problems (e.g., drugs, pregnancy, suicide) can be pinned on rock lyrics.]12 [It is ludicrous to believe that people simply sit and listen to rock music and follow everything they hear to the letter.]13[For example, I do not think that someone listening to Princeâ€s â€œSisterâ€ (a song about incest) will commit incest because of the song.]14[Well-adjusted individuals will not suddenly adopt deviant behavior upon hearing a song.]
, not talk shows?]8[If the government were not so totally controlled by left-wing elitists and secular humanists, then there would not be so much hat expressed on talk shows.]But, of course,9[ the government is totally controlled by left-wing elitists and secular humanists.]This is why10[ there is so much hate expressed on talk shows.
Argument 3:Donâ€t Censor Rock Music!
Develop your own alternative critique.
Defend this argument against the critique.
Finally,11[ if the femi-nazis succeed in legislating against politically incorrect speech, then much of public speech on radio talk shows would cease to be constitutionally guaranteed speech.]Since.12[thank God this is still a Christian nation, ] it follows that13[ the femi-nazis wonâ€t succeed. ]This is why14[all public speech on radio talk shows should remain constitutional.]15[Who the hell is that draft-dodging President of ours?]16[Of all peopleâ€”to tell us how to be moral.]
1 [Rock music is a form of expression,] and2 [the expression of oneâ€s self is a right which everyone holds.]3 [Musicians, like everyone else, have the right to say what they want. ]4[Those who wish to stop musicians from saying whatever they want (e.g., placing labels on a musicianâ€s work such as â€œviolent,â€ â€œsexually explicitâ€) are wrong.]5[No one has a right to judge what is â€œmoralâ€ and â€œimmoral.â€]
6[Morality is a personal, subjective thing.]
[Granted, some musicians do go beyond the realm of good taste; but they have that right.]16 [No one is required to buy or listen to anything that any musician puts out.]17[If you do not like what your listening to, TURN IT OFF.]18[ If you do not like what your radio station is playing, either tell them that you are offended or find another station.]19[DO NOT CENSOR OR LABEL ANYTHING!]
Note:You might want to do the next two arguments together.Your CRITICAL REVIEW of each argument could be focused on determining whether the defendant is guilty or innocent of the charge, based solely on the evidence provided in the arguments.
Members of the jury, the prosecution has presented you a case which rests on two shaky stilts:(a)it misinterprets Arleneâ€s actions, and (b) it rests on circumstantial evidence.Let me summarize why:
1[It is true that Arlene admitted on the witness stand that she stabbed Al Hamilton in the chest. ]2However, [her intention was to defend herselfâ€”not to kill Al.]3 [The Prosecution omits to remind you that we demonstrated that Arlene was being assaulted by Al at the time.]4[She said that he had kicked her, punched her, and dragged her by the hair.]5 [Both her father and the ambulance driver testified that Arlene had blood on her lip and seemed upset.]Clearly, therefore,6[Arleneâ€s striking back was intended to defend herself from Alâ€s abuse.]
7[The Prosecution produced a pathologist, Dr. Harrison, who testified that
the knife stroke Arlene inflicted on Al caused Alâ€s death.]However, 8 [we proved to you that this pathologist once lost his license to practice in this state because of overcharging the state for his services. ]9[ Even though his license was reinstated, we cast doubt on the competence of his authority by producing our own world-renowned pathologist, Dr. James, who concluded that the prosecutionâ€s pathologist did not do a thorough examination of Al.]10[Who should you believeâ€”Dr. Harrison, who never practiced outside of this town and once had his license to practice suspended, or Dr. James, who has written five books on the subject and has practiced all over the world.]
11 [Under cross-examination, Dr. Harrison could not pinpoint or verify
exactly how this injury could have brought about Alâ€s death.]12[A two-and-a-half inch entry wound would probably be insufficient to cause any mortal injury to any vital organ.]13[How do I know?]14[Dr. James said so.]
15[No one in this courtroom today saw what happened that day except
Arlene.]16[She says she stabbed Al in self-defense.]17[Her father testified that shke and Al had been in physical fights before] and that 18 [Arlene had frequent injuries to her arms, ribs, and head.]19So, [even if Arlene had accidently killed Al, it was hardly an act of murder.]
20[Dr. Harrison said that, even though the knife did nick part of the
heart muscle, there was evidence of a different sort of damage to the heart tissueâ€”the sort which could only be associated with a heart attack.]In addition, 21[Al had had two heart attacks before in the past two years.]Since22 [Arlene was not strong enough to cause more than a small wound,]23[Al must have suffered a heart attack.]
Argument 5:Closing Arguments for the Prosecution in a Murder Trial
Sure, she probably did love him.]25[But even love can be so frightened as to strike back in self-defense.]26[Ladies and gentlemen, you must conclude that, even though Arlene struck back at Al Hamilton, she is not guilty of causing, or intending to cause, his death.]
1 [Members of the jury, it is clear that Arlene performed the act which caused Al Hamiltonâ€s death.]Let me remind you of some of the important facts that establish this conclusion:
2 [ The most important fact is that on the witness stand she admitted stabbing him.]3[she said that she picked up the knife,] and 4 [stabbed him in the chest with it.]5[Obviously, she would not have admitted it, if she had not done it.]Hence,6 [she did stab him.]
7[The pathologist who examined the body said that there was only one
knife wound,] and 8[that was the one in Alâ€s chest.]9[The pathologist also said that this one knife wound was the cause of death.]10[Arleneâ€s knife stroke must have caused his death.]
11[You might that Arlene is not strong enough to stab someone that
seriously, but remember that, even though the knife stroke was not a powerful one, it went in about two-and-a-half inches,] and 12[did not touch any bones.]
12[The pathologist testified to this.]
13[There was no one else in the dining room at the time of the stabbing.]
[It is clear that Arlene did not mention anyone else.]Obviously, 15[there was no one else.]
[The first person to touch the body after the stabbing was the ambulance driver]17[who reported that he had arrived to find Al dead five minutes after Arleneâ€s father had called in.]18[Her father said that he called as soon as Arlene came into her parentâ€s bedroom with a bloody knife in her hand.]19[Her father also said that he had prevented anyone from entering the dining room until the ambulance drive did so.]We must therefore conclude that20[even though she may have loved him, Arlene did perform the act which caused Al Hamiltonâ€s death.]
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