reveal that it is a slippery slope argument and explain why it is a deceptive argument, Philosophy homework help

User Generated




Reply: Your goal is to identify and explain one weak argument to reduce the credibility of the witness. Your reply will be in the form of a dialogue between the opposing attorney, who will to do the cross-examination, and the witness. For example, suppose the witness for the State provides a slippery slope argument to support the State’s case. You will provide the dialogue for the Defense attorney. Cross-examination should (1) reveal that it is a slippery slope argument and (2) explain why it is a deceptive argument. Thus, you will have ruined the credibility of the witness!

For this weeks discussion you will use the case (State v. Ransom) on pp 411-425 as well as rely on your understanding of weak arguments from Chapter 12 and 13.

Unformatted Attachment Preview

CRITICAL THINKING This page intentionally left blank CRITICAL THINKING Consider the Verdict Sixth Edition Bruce N. Waller Youngstown State University Boston Columbus Indianapolis New York San Francisco Upper Saddle River Amsterdam Cape Town Dubai London Madrid Milan Munich Paris Montreal Toronto Delhi Mexico City Sao Paulo Sydney Hong Kong Seoul Singapore Taipei Tokyo Editorial Director: Craig Campanella Editor in Chief: Dickson Musslewhite Executive Editor: Ashley Dodge Editorial Project Manager: Kate Fernandes Director of Marketing: Brandy Dawson Senior Marketing Manager: Laura Lee Manley Production Liaison: Barbara Reilly Operations Specialist: Christina Amato Manager, Text Rights and Permissions: Charles Morris Cover Manager: Jayne Conte Cover Designer: Suzanne Behnke Cover Image: tlegend/Shutterstock Media Director: Brian Hyland Media Editor: Rachel Comerford Media Project Manager: Barbara Taylor-Laino Full-Service Project Management: Shiny Rajesh, Integra Software Services Pvt. Ltd. Printer/Binder: Edwards Brothers Cover Printer: Lehigh-Phoenix Color Corp. Text Font: 10/11 New Baskerville Copyright © 2012, 2005, 2001 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. This publication is protected by Copyright, and permission should be obtained from the publisher prior to any prohibited reproduction, storage in a retrieval system, or transmission in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or likewise. To obtain permission(s) to use material from this work, please submit a written request to Pearson Education, Inc., Permissions Department, One Lake Street, Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458, or fax your request to 201-236-3290. Many of the designations by manufacturers and seller to distinguish their products are claimed as trademarks. Where those designations appear in this book, and the publisher was aware of a trademark claim, the designations have been printed in initial caps or all caps. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Waller, Bruce N., Critical thinking : consider the verdict / Bruce N. Waller. — 6th ed. p. cm. ISBN-13: 978-0-205-15866-9 (alk. paper) ISBN-10: 0-205-15866-8 (alk. paper) 1. Critical thinking. 2. Verdicts. 3. Logic. I. Title. BC177.W3 2012 160.2'434—dc22 2011010803 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 Student Edition ISBN-10: 0-205-15866-8 ISBN-13: 978-0-205-15866-9 À la Carte Edition ISBN-10: 0-205-15881-1 ISBN-13: 978-0-205-15881-2 Contents Preface xiii Acknowledgments xvii 1 Introduction 1 Critical Thinking in Everyday Life Play Fair 1 2 Seating a Jury 2 Jury Research: Eliminating or Selecting Bias? Impartial Critical Thinking 4 Adversarial Critical Thinking Cooperative Critical Thinking 3 5 7 Internet Resources 12 Additional Reading 12 2 A Few Important Terms Arguments 14 Statements 14 Premises and Conclusions 14 16 Deductive and Inductive Arguments Deduction, Validity, and Soundness 19 21 Induction, Strong Arguments, and Cogent Arguments 23 v vi Contents Review Questions 27 Internet Resources 27 Additional Reading 27 3 Ad Hominem Arguments 28 The Ad Hominem Fallacy 28 Nonfallacious Ad Hominem Arguments Ad Hominem and Testimony Distinguishing Argument from Testimony Tricky Types of Ad Hominem Bias Ad Hominem 41 Inconsistency and Ad Hominem Psychological Ad Hominem 47 Inverse Ad Hominem 48 Attacking Arguments 29 31 33 41 44 49 Review Questions 54 Internet Resources 55 Additional Reading 54 4 The Second Deadly Fallacy: The Strawman Fallacy Straw Man 56 57 The Principle of Charity 58 The Strawman Fallacy 58 Special Strawman Varieties 63 Limits on Critical Thinking 63 Review Questions 65 Internet Resources 66 Additional Reading 65 5 What’s the Question? Determine the Conclusion What Is the Exact Conclusion? Review Question 6 67 67 68 74 Relevant and Irrelevant Reasons Premises Are Relevant or Irrelevant Relative to the Conclusion 77 76 vii Contents Irrelevant Reason Fallacy 81 The Red Herring Fallacy 81 Review Questions 7 90 Internet Resources 91 Additional Reading 91 Analyzing Arguments 92 Argument Structure 92 Convergent Arguments Linked Arguments 92 95 Subarguments 96 Assumptions: Their Use and Abuse Legitimate Assumptions Enthymemes 111 Illegitimate Assumptions 111 Review Questions 8 109 109 113 Internet Resources 114 Additional Reading 114 The Burden of Proof 115 Who Bears the Burden of Proof? Appeal to Ignorance 115 117 The Burden of Proof in the Courtroom 117 Presumption of Innocence 118 When the Defendant Does Not Testify 119 Juries and the Burden of Proof 120 Unappealing Ignorance Review Questions 9 123 127 Internet Resources 128 Additional Reading 128 Language and Its Pitfalls Definitions 129 Stipulative Definitions 130 Controversial Definitions Deceptive Language 129 131 131 viii Contents The Fallacy of Ambiguity Amphiboly 132 136 Review Questions 139 Internet Resources 139 Additional Reading 139 10 Appeal to Authority 140 Authorities as Testifiers 141 Conditions for Legitimate Appeal to Authority Popularity and Tradition Review Questions 141 148 154 Internet Resources 154 Additional Reading 154 Cumulative Exercises One 156 (Chapters 1 through 10) 11 Arguments by Analogy Figurative Analogy 164 164 Deductive Argument by Analogy 165 The Fallacy of Faulty Analogy 170 Analyzing a Deductive Argument by Analogy 175 Deductive Arguments by Analogy and Cooperative Critical Thinking 179 The Fallacy of Analogical Literalism 180 Caution! Watch for Analogies That Look Like Slippery Slopes! 182 Inductive Arguments by Analogy Review Questions 184 201 Internet Resources 202 Additional Reading 202 12 Some Distinctive Arguments and Potential Pitfalls: Slippery Slope, Dilemma, and Golden Mean Arguments Slippery Slope 204 Separating Slippery Slopes from Straw Men The Slippery Slope Fallacy 206 Genuine Slippery Slopes 206 205 204 ix Contents Dilemmas, False and True 211 Genuine Dilemmas 212 False Dilemmas 212 False Dilemma Combined with Straw Man Consider the Possibilities 216 Golden Mean 216 220 The Golden Mean Fallacy 220 Constructing Golden Mean Fallacies Review Questions 220 224 Internet Resources 225 Additional Reading 225 13 Begging the Question 226 The Problem with Question-Begging Arguments 226 A New and Confusing Use of “Begs the Question” Subtle Forms of Question Begging 227 227 Synonymous Begging the Question 227 Generalization Begging the Question 228 Circular Begging the Question 229 False Charges of Begging the Question Self-Sealing Arguments Complex Questions 231 231 233 Review Questions 238 Internet Resources 238 Additional Reading 238 Cumulative Exercises Two 239 (Chapters 1 through 13) 14 Necessary and Sufficient Conditions Necessary Conditions 253 Distinguishing Necessary from Sufficient Conditions Sufficient Conditions 253 255 256 Necessary and Sufficient Conditions in Ordinary Language Conditional Statements 258 Alternative Ways of Stating Necessary and Sufficient Conditions Both Necessary and Sufficient 256 261 259 x Contents Valid Inferences from Necessary and Sufficient Conditions Modus Ponens Modus Tollens 267 267 269 Fallacies Based on Confusion between Necessary and Sufficient Conditions 269 The Fallacy of Denying the Antecedent The Fallacy of Affirming the Consequent 269 270 Detecting Argument Forms Review Questions 271 277 Internet Resources 277 Additional Reading 277 15 Scientific and Causal Reasoning 278 Distinguishing Causation from Correlation The Questionable Cause Fallacy The Method of Science 279 283 286 Randomized Studies and Prospective Studies 287 Making Predictions 288 When Predictions Go Wrong 289 Faulty “Scientific” Claims 291 Confirmation Bias 293 Scientific Integrity, Scientific Cooperation, and Research Manipulation 294 Review Questions 297 Internet Resources 298 Additional Reading 298 16 The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth Eyewitness Testimony 300 Potential Sources of Eyewitness Error Judging the Honesty of a Witness The Whole Truth 309 Are the Premises True? Digging for Truth Consider the Source Review Questions 300 307 312 312 313 314 Internet Resources 315 Additional Reading 316 299 xi Contents Cumulative Exercises Three 318 (Chapters 1 through 16) 17 Thinking Critically about Statistics All Children Are Above Average Empty Statistics 343 345 Finding the Appropriate Context Caught Off Base 345 346 Statistical Apples and Oranges Statistical Half-Truths 346 348 Sample Size and “Statistical Significance” 348 How to Make Your Study Yield the Results You Want Surveys 343 349 352 Review Questions 356 Internet Resources 356 Additional Reading 357 18 Symbolic Sentential Logic Truth-Functional Definitions Negation 358 Disjunction 359 Conjunction 360 Conditional 360 Material Implication 358 361 Testing for Validity and Invalidity Punctuation 358 363 366 The Truth-Table Method of Testing for Validity 370 The Short-Cut Method for Determining Validity or Invalidity Review Questions 387 19 Arguments about Classes Types of Categorical Propositions 388 389 Relations among Categorical Propositions Venn Diagrams Diagramming Statements Diagramming Arguments 374 391 391 396 390 xii Contents Translating Ordinary-Language Statements into Standard-Form Categorical Propositions 407 Reducing the Number of Terms Review Questions 409 410 Additional Reading 410 Consider Your Verdict 411 Comprehensive Critical Thinking in the Jury Room State v. Ransom 411 Judge Schwebel’s Summation and Charge to the Jury Internet Resources 425 Additional Reading 425 Key Terms 427 Answers to Selected Exercises Index 445 433 424 Preface Critical thinking is a valuable skill: whether you are deciding which courses to take or career to pursue, what toothpaste to use or what stocks to buy, which candidate to vote for or which cause to support, which reports to believe or what claims to reject, critical thinking can be very useful. One of the most important places for careful critical thinking is the jury room. Serving on a jury is one of the most significant and basic ways that citizens actively participate in their government, and jury service makes strong demands on citizen-jurors. Jurors must set aside any biases and judge the issues fairly; they must reason carefully about what laws are involved and how those laws apply to the specific case at hand; they must evaluate testimony and weigh both its accuracy and its relevance; and they must give a fair hearing to both sides, distinguish sound from erroneous arguments, and ultimately reach a just and reasonable conclusion. The courts offer fascinating cases for examination and analysis, and the courts have long grappled with many of the key issues in critical thinking: questions about burden of proof, legitimate analogies, distinctions between relevant and irrelevant reasons, question-begging arguments and unfair questions, the weighing of testimony (including expert testimony and appeals to expert authority), the distinction between argument and testimony, the legitimate and illegitimate use of ad hominem arguments. The courtroom demands a high level of critical thinking skill, and it is also a fascinating place for studying and developing the key skills of critical thinking: determining exactly what the conclusion is, and who bears the burden of proving it; separating false claims from reliable information; setting aside irrelevant distractions and focusing on the question at issue; and distinguishing between erroneous and legitimate arguments. The skills that make you an effective juror will also make you an intelligent consumer, an effective planner, and a wise citizen. The sixth edition of Critical Thinking: Consider the Verdict uses the jury room as the focus for developing basic critical thinking skills, but it does not stop there. Those skills are also applied to the various arguments and issues that arise in our daily lives as consumers, students, planners, and citizens. While the courtroom and the jury room are valuable laboratories for learning and testing and applying critical thinking abilities, those abilities must also be exercised when reading editorial columns, debating social issues, making intelligent consumer choices, working effectively at a career, and fulfilling one’s responsibilities as a thoughtful critical citizen of a democracy. Thus, most xiii xiv Preface of the exercises and examples are drawn from advertisements, social debates, political campaigns, editorials, and letters to the editor. Critical thinking skills are valuable in the jury room, but they are also valuable in the classroom, the boardroom, the laboratory, and the grocery store. Critical thinking is often regarded as an adversarial process, where the stronger arguments triumph over the weaker. Adversarial critical thinking is common and is often valuable: Cases in court usually proceed through an adversarial process, and that can be a useful way of bringing out both strong and weak points in the arguments presented. But not all critical thinking follows the adversarial model, and the sixth edition of Critical Thinking: Consider the Verdict gives careful attention to the contexts when cooperative critical thinking may prove particularly useful. Several factors enhance effective cooperative critical thinking, and several argument fallacies are especially damaging to a cooperative critical thinking process. Both the promise and the pitfalls of cooperative critical thinking are examined in this new edition. The sixth edition of Critical Thinking: Consider the Verdict contains a number of important changes and additions. • Extensive new discussion of cooperative critical thinking (as distinguished from adversarial critical thinking), and examination of its special strengths and the contexts in which it is most effective. • New and updated exercises and examples in every chapter. • A new section on definitions, including examination of misleading definitions. • Extensive new material on statistical fallacies and deceptions. • A new section on the importance of scientific integrity and scientific cooperation. • Additional new exercises in the special-review sections (the sections of cumulative exercises). Critical Thinking: Consider the Verdict, sixth edition, provides a solid introduction to critical thinking; Chapters 18 and 19 offer introductory instruction in symbolic logic. Those two chapters are self-contained, and you may do either or both at any point in the course, or skip them altogether. The boxed exercises and examples throughout the text are not essential to understanding the chapters, but they do present interesting material and challenging questions. You can skip them, but you’ll miss a lot of the fun. Support for Instructors and Students The moment you know. Educators know it. Students know it. It’s that inspired moment when something that was difficult to understand suddenly makes perfect sense. Our MyLab products have been designed and refined with a single purpose in mind—to help educators create that moment of understanding with their students. The new MyThinkingLab delivers proven results in helping individual students succeed. It provides engaging experiences that personalize, stimulate, and measure learning for each student. And, it comes from a trusted partner with educational expertise and an eye on the future. MyThinkingLab can be used by itself or linked to any learning management system (LMS). MyThinkingLab—the moment you know. Instructor’s Manual with Tests (0-205-15875-7): For each chapter in the text, this valuable resource provides a detailed outline, list of objectives, and discussion questions. In addition, test questions in multiple-choice, true/false, fill-in-the-blank, and short answer formats are available for each chapter; the answers are page referenced to the text. For easy access, this manual is available at PowerPoint Presentation Slides for Critical Thinking: Consider the Verdict (0-205-15877-3): These PowerPoint Slides help instructors convey critical thinking principles in a clear and engaging way. For easy access, they are available at www.pearsonhighered. com/irc. MyTest Test Generator (0-205-15878-1): This computerized software allows instructors to create their own personalized exams, edit any or all of the existing test questions, and add new questions. Other special features of the program include random generation of test questions, creation of alternate versions of the same test, scrambling question sequence, and test preview before printing. For easy access, this software is available at xv This page intentionally left blank Acknowledgments I have received help and encouragement from many quarters. The first edition of the book was completed while I was teaching at Elon College, and my colleagues and students there were generous in their support and aid. John G. Sullivan read several drafts of the book, and provided insightful, challenging, and constructive criticism—while making my work environment congenial and refreshing, and vastly extending my intellectual horizons. Anne Ponder read early drafts of several chapters, and her comments and criticisms were invaluable. Barbara Plumblee was wonderfully patient in convincing my computer to cooperate with me. Tom Henricks offered much excellent advice and many words of encouragement, while regularly thrashing me at tennis. Teresa LePors, the omniscient reference librarian, found the answer to every question I posed. Gayle Fishel helped tremendously with design and structure of the book and suggested ingenious ways of organizing examples. Lillian Pollock was astoundingly efficient in the laborious task of securing permissions to reprint. George N. Schlesinger encouraged me to write the book, gave helpful guidance throughout, and contributed delightful examples. Allen Belsheim read the entire manuscript of the first edition, and made excellent suggestions for improvements. All the later editions have been completed while teaching at Youngstown State University, and my colleagues at YSU have built a wonderful collegial working environment. Tom Shipka’s enthusiasm for the project has been constant, and as a remarkably efficient department chair he smoothed my path in innumerable ways. Since my misfortune of becoming department chair (following Tom’s retirement), Tom has been a generous and wise source of counsel. Brendan Minogue, Charles Reid, Larry Udell, Stephanie DostBarnhizer, Jeff Limbian, Andrew Stypinski, and Martina Haines have used the book in their classes, and their suggestions for improvements have been particularly useful. The YSU reference librarians answer all my questions and make it look easy. Our student workers, Hannah Detec, James Hamilton, and Gina Ponzio, have provided cheerful help on many of the exhausting details. Our department secretary for several years, Joan Bevan, was remarkably efficient and unfailingly cheerful; I owe her a special debt for making my first years as department chair run so smoothly. Mary Dillingham, one of the few people in the world worthy of replacing Joan, has carried on a great tradition of efficiency and dedication; she is the essential element in the smooth functioning and congenial atmosphere of the department. Many other friends and colleagues at YSU have given aid and advice, and have been xvii xviii Acknowledgments generous in both intellectual stimulation and warm friendship; special thanks to Nawal Ammar, Chris Bache, Cynthia Brincat, Walter Carvin, Vince Lisi, Sarah Lown, Mustansir Mir, Deborah Mower, Bernie Oakes, Dan O’Neill, Gabriel Palmer-Fernandez, Mark Shutes, Charles Singler, Donna Sloan, Linda “Tess” Tessier, Alan Tomhave, Mark Vopat, Homer Warren, Victor Wan-Tatah, and Robert Weaver. My students at Youngstown State University have been of enormous help in the preparation of the later editions. They have been kind enough to point out—often with admirable candor—the flaws and difficulties of earlier versions; but of even greater benefit has been their enthusiasm for the book: the times they have told me of actually enjoying the reading of a textbook and sharing the book with their friends and families, their fascination with many of the exercises, and most of all their reports of successful analyses of deceptive advertisements, of political speeches, and of attorneys’ arguments during subsequent jury duty. A number of students brought me examples from their own reading and experience, and many of those examples are incorporated into the later editions. My friend Jack Raver has frequently been helpful as a computer consultant, and is one of the most enthusiastic, energetic, and joyful arguers I have ever encountered. Lia Ruttan has been a wonderful source of fascinating cases and examples, particularly from the Canadian courts. Richard White has given me many very helpful ideas, especially in the area of cooperative critical thinking in special courts. Lauren Schroeder and Fred Alexander have been particularly helpful on arguments and issues related to politics and the environment. Special thanks to all the wonderful people who helped in putting together the photographs for the cover and to accompany the exercises: Judge Lou D’Apolito who allowed us the use of his courtroom; two fabulous photographers, James Evans and Carl Leet; Gabriel Palmer-Fernandez and Deborah Mower, who played the roles of attorneys; Homer Warren, who looked wonderfully judicial; and all the jury members (many of whom are current YSU students, together with my long-suffering sons and lovely daughterin-law)—Russell Waller, Adam Waller, Robyn Repko Waller, Zach Robbins, Cary Dabney, Amanda Benchwick, Sarah Lowry, Rebecca Soldan, William Soldan, Gary Davenport, Heather Carbon, and Mary Dillingham. I also benefitted from thorough and insightful review of this edition by Victoria Rogers, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis; Eli Kanon, University of North Florida; Glenn Sanford, Sam Houston State University; Jean Miller, Virginia Tech; Chris Cayton, Portland Community College and from excellent suggestions made by reviewers of earlier editions: Richard McCarty, Michael A. Principe, and Joan Esposito. My editors at Pearson, Nancy Roberts and Kate Fernandes, have been everything any author could ask for in editorial guidance and cooperation: it has been a genuine pleasure to work with them. Shiny Rajesh, the project manager for this edition, is meticulous, professional, and unfailingly cheerful, and she smoothed the path of taking the book from rough draft to finished text. My wife, Mary, has advised on every aspect of the work, made many suggestions for exercises and improvements, and her constant affection and support have been invaluable. My sons, Russell and Adam, have read sections of the book, discussed many of the examples with me, offered valuable suggestions, and have been the great joys of my life. CRITICAL THINKING This page intentionally left blank 1 ❖❖❖ Introduction Listen to the Chapter Audio on You evaluate arguments and assertions every day: when choosing your breakfast cereal, evaluating reports on the effects of the caffeine in your coffee, reading your morning paper, deciding how to cast your vote. And occasionally you will consider arguments while serving on a jury. In the performance of your jury duty you will be expected to weigh evidence, consider competing arguments, reason carefully, and decide impartially. Some of your fellow jurors may disagree with your conclusion, so you must be able to evaluate their arguments and argue cogently for your own conclusions. So as we practice critical thinking, we’ll examine a wide variety of courtroom and jury arguments: arguments that are interesting, important, and instructive. But we’ll also study political arguments, advertisements, scientific claims, and a wide variety of other contexts where critical thinking skills are valuable. CRITICAL THINKING IN EVERYDAY LIFE This book pays close attention to jury deliberation, but it is not exclusively or even primarily concerned with courtroom reasoning. Jury deliberation is profoundly important, but it is only a tiny fraction of the critical reasoning you must do. Every day you are bombarded with advertisements, and to find any helpful substance in them you will have to critically winnow out masses of chaff. You are a citizen in a democratic society, and thus it is your responsibility to carefully and rationally evaluate the policies and programs of your local, state, and federal government and to vote intelligently (and perhaps campaign) for the candidates you consider most capable. You encounter advertisements, the evening news, news magazines, opinion journals, scientific reports, editorials, textbooks—all making claims that are sometimes contradictory and sometimes slanting the material presented. Sorting these out, distinguishing fact from speculation, and weighing competing theories and interpretations require the same reasoning skills that are required of an effective and responsible juror. 1 2 Chapter 1 Introduction The subject of this book is critical reasoning in all its applications. The only way to be effective at jury reasoning is to be good at reasoning, and good reasoning requires practice. It is not something that can be turned on and off like a politician’s charm. Critical thinking cannot be hoarded for use exclusively in the jury room. Use it or lose it. A Strong-Willed Jury In New South Wales, a defendant was charged with the theft of several cows. The jury finished their deliberations, and returned to the court with this verdict: “Not guilty, if he returns the cows.” The judge was outraged, and ordered the jury back for further deliberations. The jurors, deeply offended, soon returned with a new verdict: “Not guilty, and he doesn’t have to return the cows.”1 PLAY FAIR The first requirement for examining arguments intelligently—whether as a voter, a consumer, a reader, or a juror—is to be fair in your evaluations. Bias and prejudice close minds and stifle critical inquiry; the first task in good critical reasoning is to eliminate such bias. At some point you will be in the jury box, and before the jury is impaneled you will be asked a few questions: perhaps by the judge; by the district attorney, and by the defense counsel if it is a criminal case; by lawyers for the plaintiff (the person suing the defendant) and for the defendant in civil suits. The idea is to seat a fair and impartial jury. This process is called the voir dire. (Voir dire is French, meaning “to see, to speak.” However, voir is a corruption of the Latin verus, meaning “true”; thus the original meaning is “true talk.”2) The voir dire process is supposed to detect any bias or narrowmindedness among potential jurors. If the defendant is your lover, or if you will lose money if the plaintiff wins, or if the defendant recently ran off with your spouse, then it might be more difficult for you to remain completely impartial in considering the case. If from reading newspaper reports you have formed an unshakable conviction concerning the guilt or innocence of the accused, you will not be an open-minded juror. Smart Jurors Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney Jack McMahon advises rookie prosecutors on selecting a jury: My opinion is you don’t want smart people [on the jury]. Because smart people will analyze the hell out of your case. They have a higher standard. They hold you up to a higher standard because they’re intelligent people. They take those words “reasonable doubt” and they actually try to think about them. You don’t want those people. You don’t want people who are going to think it out.3 SEATING A JURY How far should the voir dire process go? That question is raised by the increased use of jury selection specialists, who use sophisticated techniques in an effort to discover which jurors are most likely to favor which side. A defendant being charged with drunken driving might wish not to seat a teetotaler or a juror whose child was recently killed by a drunk driver. But not all cases are so obvious. For example, in the famous trial of the “Harrisburg Seven” in 1971–1972 (in which Philip Berrigan and six other antiwar activists were charged by the federal government with conspiring to kidnap Henry Kissinger and blow up heating tunnels Chapter 1 3 Introduction in Washington, D.C.), a group of social scientists did extensive research on the attitudes of the population around Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, from which the jury pool would be drawn. They discovered important information for the defense. For example, while one might expect college-educated persons to be sympathetic to the antiwar defendants, that was not the case in Harrisburg. As Jay Schulman, who directed the research, states, “Contrary to what our lawyers expected, college-educated people were not likely to be liberal in Harrisburg. Liberal college graduates, it seems, leave Harrisburg for other places, and those who stay support conservative norms.”4 Thus the defense was alerted to be cautious of college graduates. (That does not mean that in 1972 all college graduates in Harrisburg were conservatives. It means only that Harrisburg college graduates were more likely to be conservative, and thus more likely to be unfavorably disposed toward the defendants.) Jury Research: Eliminating or Selecting Bias? Is the use of social scientists to investigate potential jurors a good thing? It is certainly legal, but that is not the question. Does it make a fair trial more likely, or does it subvert justice by unfairly “stacking” the jury? That is a hotly contested issue. Opponents of jury selection specialists claim that they rig juries to reach verdicts on the basis of the jurors’ biases rather than on the basis of the evidence and the arguments. Those who favor the use of social scientific research during voir dire claim that it is essential in order to avoid seating prejudiced jurors who cannot weigh the case fairly. After all, prejudiced jurors cannot always be exposed simply by asking a few questions during voir dire. (Suppose a potential jury member is asked by the lawyer for a black defendant: “Do you know of any reason why you cannot consider this case honestly and fairly?” The potential juror is not likely to respond: “Yes, I do; I have an irrational prejudice against blacks.” In fact, those who are prejudiced are often unwilling to admit their prejudice even to themselves: “No, I’m certainly not prejudiced against blacks; why, some of my best friends are black; I just don’t want them moving into my neighborhood.”) Detecting biased and unfair jurors is not an easy task. Not every prejudiced person has beady eyes and wears a hood. There are obviously some serious problems in current methods of jury selection. Procedures that exclude certain segments of the population—for example, systematically excluding blacks from criminal juries through use of peremptory challenges—are unfair. Such abuses are too frequent and are sometimes systematic. Baseball and Juries Bert Neuborne, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union, claims that in New York City during the 1950s (when New York had three major league baseball teams—the Yankees, the Dodgers, and the Giants), lawyers used a quick and easy method for selecting jury members: Yankee fans, the defense dismissed; Dodger fans, the prosecution dismissed. Giant fans were acceptable to both sides because, Neuborne says, they were “the only reasonable people in town.”5 As Neuborne tells it, attorneys needed only one question: “What baseball team do you root for?” A handbook used in 1973 in Dallas County, Texas, gives the following instructions for criminal prosecution attorneys: You are not looking for a fair juror, but rather a strong, biased, and sometimes hypocritical individual who believes the Defendants are different from them in kind, rather than degree; you are not looking for any member of a minority group which may subject him to oppression— they almost always empathize with the accused.6 4 Chapter 1 Introduction But it is essential in a fair trial that at least some members of the jury be able to empathize with the accused. Imagine how you would feel as a criminal defendant if all members of your race or ethnic group or political party or religion or socioeconomic group were systematically excluded from the jury that tried your case: It would hardly be a “jury of your peers.” Keeping Women in the Kitchen, on the Pedestal, and off the Jury them (in some areas, they are still upon a pedestal) from the filth, obscenity, and noxious atmosphere that so often pervades a courtroom during a jury trial. In 1966, the Mississippi Supreme Court (in State v. Hall, 187 So.2d 861) ruled that women could legally be excluded from Mississippi juries, for these reasons: The legislature has the right to exclude women so they may continue their service as mothers, wives, and homemakers, and also to protect In short: It’s for your own good, girls. IMPARTIAL CRITICAL THINKING The point of this chapter is that in your deliberations you must try to approach the case with an open mind, free of bias and favoritism. There will be those who wish to exploit your fears and prejudices and preconceptions: unscrupulous advertisers who play on our fears of social stigma to sell us overpriced and often unnecessary “remedies” for bad breath, body odor, and the terrors of “flaking and itching”; politicians who pander to our fears to sell us dubious foreign policies; and lawyers who hope that prejudices will substitute for arguments. It requires constant vigilance to avoid substituting our biases for rational reflection, but it is essential to do so if we are to reason well—in the jury room and the laboratory and the marketplace and the voting booth. It is natural to feel a special sympathy with those who have similar goals and interests. Thus if you are a feminist liberal arts major at the old home state university, you may feel predisposed toward a defendant who is a feminist liberal arts major at the same school. That may be a natural tendency, but it is not a fair one. There may be some rotten apples even among the feminist liberal arts majors at state university, and the defendant may be one of them. It may also be difficult to be fair and impartial toward a defendant who is your exact opposite: a hard-nosed businessman who thinks the arts are a waste of time and that a woman’s place is in the home. You may not feel sympathetic toward such an individual, and you wouldn’t want to be stuck with him at a small dinner party. But if you are to consider the issues clearly, you must try to set aside that distaste. The issue is the person’s guilt or innocence of some specific charge, and that has nothing to do with whether you like or dislike the defendant. The same objectivity is required as you listen to the lawyers in the case. The district attorney may be a pompous ass and the defense attorney a great human being. That is irrelevant to which side has the stronger case, and you must set aside such personal likes The Courtroom Is Not a Singles Bar Ideally, jurors should start from a presumption of innocence, but without any bias for or against the defendant; and try to remain neutral until all the evidence is heard. One Canadian juror, Gillian Guess, failed to maintain that neutrality. During the course of a murder trial in which she served as a juror, she began sleeping with the defendant. She was later sentenced to 18 months in prison for obstruction of justice. Chapter 1 Introduction 5 and dislikes in order to deliberate justly and accurately on the merits of the argument. Difficult as it may be, it is vitally important to separate argument sources and styles from argument content. ADVERSARIAL CRITICAL THINKING Critical thinking is a useful weapon. People sometimes speak of skill in critical thinking as “verbal self-defense,” or learning “how to win arguments.” And since you are daily bombarded with arguments from advertisers and politicians, and often by arguments designed to deceive rather than enlighten you, learning how to protect yourself against misleading claims and flawed arguments is a very valuable skill. Effective argument and the effective critical analysis of argument can also serve a more positive function. Under the adversarial system of justice—practiced in Great Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia—lawyers on either side present arguments, and from that tough argumentative contest the truth emerges: or at least, such a struggle, when it functions well and both sides are represented by honest and skillful advocates, is often our most effective means of seeking the truthful outcome. From the local courthouse to the Supreme Court, both sides present their strongest arguments and probe for weaknesses in their opponents’ arguments, and—if all goes well—from this contest the truth eventually emerges. In some ways science is also an adversarial system. Scientists present their theories and the evidence in their support; and other scientists challenge those theories and seek evidence to refute them. Karl Popper, one of the great twentieth-century philosophers of science, saw this as the basic method of science: present bold theories, expose those theories to scrutiny and criticism from scientific adversaries, and through this method we develop better theories. Indeed, Popper thought that often the best scientific work was done when strong theoretical conjectures were refuted by powerful opposing arguments. A similar process often occurs in philosophy: Philosophers present their theories and arguments, and those theories and arguments are subjected to examination and criticism—criticism that often finds flaws in the proposed theory and results in better theories and better arguments. The contest between adversaries—whether in the courtroom, the laboratory, or the philosophy seminar—is often a valuable method for seeking better theories and finding the truth. But the adversarial process is not a no-holds-barred, eye-gouging, ear-biting, anything goes brawl. Or at least, it should not be, and—when it works effectively—it is not. To the contrary, for the adversarial process to work well, it is essential that both sides play fair and behave respectfully. Sadly, the adversarial system does not always function well; and when it does not, that is usually because one or both sides have corrupted the process, and the contest is not fair. Suppose you have a small software development company, and you have developed a really innovative program that is a big improvement in some area of computer use, and that is likely to be very profitable for your company. A software giant comes in and steals your innovation, and sells it as their own. You hire a lawyer and sue the company that stole your product; and in a fair adversarial process, the evidence will come out, both sides will present their cases and their arguments, and you will win your case and recover damages. But the software giant has enormous funds at its disposal, while you have very little money. If their lawyers file motion after motion and cause one delay after another, then the legal costs for both sides will become enormous— costs the large corporation can easily afford, but costs that soon take all your money and force you to drop the suit. That sort of tactic destroys the effectiveness of the adversary system. Or suppose you are a poor person who is charged with a capital offense, such as murder. You cannot afford an attorney, so the state will appoint one for you. Unfortunately, in some cases, the state appoints a defense attorney for you who is grossly incompetent: in Texas, there have been several cases in which defendants were “represented” by attorneys who showed up drunk, or who actually slept through much of the trial. When 6 Chapter 1 Introduction one adversary is impaired or incompetent or asleep, it is hardly surprising that the “adversary system” fails to function properly (and it is hardly surprising that a number of criminal convictions in Texas have been overturned by later tests of DNA evidence). As Samuel R. Gross states, “The American system of adversarial justice is predicated on the assumption that both sides are competently represented and have adequate resources to present their cases. That assumption is often false.”7 And, of course, there are other ways the adversary system can go wrong: if the jury is racially prejudiced, or the judge is biased, or the evidence is falsified, or a juror is bribed, then the adversary system cannot work well. But that is not because the adversarial process is flawed, but because one or both of the adversaries break the rules. A baseball contest is a good way of determining which team is actually better—but not if one side bribes the umpire, and not if one side can afford top quality equipment while the other side uses equipment that is falling apart. The adversarial process can also work well in science, but that requires that the adversaries play by the rules. If someone falsifies research, or covers up adverse results, then the scientific adversarial process can break down: just as the adversarial process breaks down in criminal trials when there is perjured testimony or one side has an incompetent attorney, and just as civil adversarial processes break down when one side subverts the system by expensive delaying tactics. For the adversarial process to work well, both sides must play by the rules. That is hardly surprising: it is true of almost any contest. A football match is a good way of determining which team is superior— but not if the referee is bribed, or the star player on one team has been paid to throw the game. But for the adversarial process to work at its best, more is required than simply adhering to the rules; in addition, both sides must be respectful of their opponents and of the process itself. When civility breaks down, the adversarial process suffers. That doesn’t mean that the adversaries should be less energetic in their efforts to present the strongest case possible, and to find and exploit the weaknesses in the positions of their opponents. But such efforts should be consistent with being respectful toward one’s opponent. The importance of respect and civility in the adversarial process is perhaps best observed in the British courts. There is a long and glorious tradition of debate and adversarial contest in the British courts; and it is there that the importance of civility and personal respect is quite clear; indeed, sometimes the tradition of civility is so strong it seems almost quaint. As the judge enters the courtroom, all present rise to show respect: a tradition that is found in many courts, following the British model. But in the British courts, the judge then bows to the barristers, the barristers bow to the judge and to each other. Barristers address one another as “my learned friend,” and when one barrister rises to make an objection, the other immediately sits down; when the barrister has made his or her objection, the opposing barrister may then rise and offer arguments in response to the objection; but they would never stand and both talk at once. Remarks addressed to “the learned judge” are often preceded by “if your Lordship (or Ladyship) pleases.” The barristers and the judge all wear white wigs and gowns, and with all the bowing and the very formal address—“My learned friend appears to have forgotten the evidence given this morning; perhaps I might refresh his memory”—may appear quaint; and indeed, if you ever have a free day in London, a visit to the Central Criminal Courts is wonderfully entertaining, and a better show than the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. But quaint and a bit old-fashioned as this elaborate formal courtesy may appear, it serves a very important function in the British adversarial system. It is a powerful reminder that the advocates must present their best arguments, and be zealous in looking for flaws in the opposing arguments; but that such a process need not and should not involve attacks on the person giving the arguments. And if the process is to work well, both sides must be attentive to opposing views, and neither distort nor misrepresent them in attempting to refute them. The elaborate courtesy and deep tradition of civility is not merely a quaint British tradition; instead, it is a vital element of an adversarial process that functions well, and that is genuinely interested in seeking the truth. Anyone who remembers or has seen clips of the O.J. Simpson Chapter 1 7 Introduction criminal trial will recall the constant sniping and insulting and bickering between the prosecution and the defense; and it is clear that the atmosphere of incivility and hostility was a burden on the entire trial process. Whatever one thinks of the outcome, the nasty atmosphere and personal animosity in evidence at the trial—not to mention the media circus—made it difficult for anyone to feel confident that justice had been done. Sometimes civility is strained, but the forms are generally maintained in the U.S. Senate: “Will the gentleman yield for a question? Will the gentle lady allow a comment?” In an era of political grandstanding, it seems almost quaint, like the wigs and the robes worn by the barristers (lawyers) and judges. But this elaborate courtesy also serves an important function. Cooperative Critical Thinking Adversarial critical thinking —when both sides play fair and play nice—can be a very valuable way of finding the truth and testing theories and trying out ideas: valuable in determining guilt or innocence in the courtroom, valuable for testing theories in the sciences, valuable for trying out new ideas and examining old beliefs in dorm room debates. But valuable as adversarial critical thinking is, the adversarial approach is not always best. Cooperative critical thinking is also valuable, and in some contexts is much more useful. Consider some rather homely examples of effective cooperative critical thinking, offered by legal scholar and legal ethicist Carrie Menkel-Meadow: . . . consider two sisters, who both seem to be fighting about a single orange, when one really desires the fruit for eating and the other the rind for cooking. Or, from my own personal experience, when, with a single piece of chocolate cake left, I wanted the icing (frosting) and my brother desired the cake, demonstrating that a horizontal, rather than a vertical, cut of the cake would maximize both of our desires. . . . 8 Obviously not all problems yield such neat cooperative solutions; but by focusing on finding common grounds and shared interests, it is often possible to reach a conclusion in which no one loses, and everyone comes away satisfied. Notice that the solutions gained through cooperative critical thinking are not always compromises. In the example above, Carrie and her brother might have reached a compromise by splitting the piece of chocolate cake in half, leaving neither very satisfied; by considering carefully what each really desired, and how those desires could best be met, they found a solution that met the goals of both. Carrie wanted frosting, and her brother wanted cake. By considering the problem cooperatively, they found a solution that worked for both of them. That brings out the crucial first step in effective cooperative critical thinking: getting clear on exactly what goals are in play. Getting clear on the goals is vital, but it isn’t always easy. Carrie wants the piece of chocolate cake, and so does her brother. But in fact, that’s not quite accurate. Carrie wants the chocolate frosting, while her brother wants the chocolate cake. Only by examining more critically their actual goals can cooperative critical thinking be successful. Of course, sometimes the goals are basically incompatible: Her brother wants to eat the entire piece of chocolate cake, frosting and all; and Carrie wants to eat the entire piece of chocolate cake while her brother watches and suffers, because she is angry at him for reading her diary. But perhaps even then careful consideration of goals can result in a favorable outcome for everyone: what Carrie really wants is an apology from her brother, and for her brother to understand that such an invasion of personal privacy is wrong, and a commitment that he won’t do it again. In that case, it’s not impossible that both might have their real wishes fulfilled. But again, that requires looking very carefully at what their real goals are: in her justifiable anger at her brother, she desires to get even with him; getting beyond that anger, and thinking carefully, she may gain a clearer understanding of what her own desires really are. 8 Chapter 1 Introduction Adversarial critical thinking is often beneficial, but in the case of the chocolate cake cooperative critical thinking is likely to prove more helpful. In an adversarial contest, the arguments would probably turn on questions of fairness: who got the last piece of the last cake, who ate the most of this cake, who asked for the piece of cake first. Such arguments might eventually lead to a result, especially if mom is acting as judge and jury. But the loser is likely to feel resentful, and the winner may not get what he or she really wants: Carrie’s brother gets the cake, but he has to eat through all that frosting to get to the part he really likes. The cooperative solution would have been better for everyone, including the winner of the adversarial contest. The benefits of cooperative critical thinking are not limited to settling sibling disputes over a last piece of chocolate cake. The legal community has come to recognize that while the adversarial system is often a good way of resolving conflicts and finding truth and protecting individual rights, it works better in some settings than in others; and in those other settings, cooperative critical thinking has proved its worth. In the traditional adversarial divorce proceeding, lawyers for both sides battle to win everything they can for the party they represent: the house, the bank accounts, the retirement accounts, the dog, the kids. If I can get 100% of the bank accounts for my client, then I am a more successful and satisfactory adversarial advocate than if I only get 60%; and if I can get sole custody of the kids for my client, then that’s a better adversarial outcome than joint custody. But is that really the best outcome? Assuming that both parents love their children, and are reasonably good parents, that is very unlikely to be the best outcome for the children. In fact, it is unlikely to be the best outcome for my client, when my client steps back from the adversarial conflict and carefully considers what he or she really wants: because what my client is likely to want most of all is an outcome that is best for the children, the children who are loved by both my client and my client’s former spouse. Thus in many areas—particularly in domestic disputes involving children—courts have set up special alternative ways of handling conflicts and problems. Rather than adversarial procedures, these alternatives are likely to involve cooperative processes, often with the help of counselors. In adversarial critical thinking, my goal is to present my own position in its most favorable light, probe your argument for weaknesses, reveal the flaws in your views, and establish my position and my arguments as superior: and to the victor, the spoils. In cooperative critical thinking there is still serious sustained inquiry, but the goals are different. Rather than trying to find weaknesses in your position, I am trying to find ways in which our positions can be reconciled. And rather than trying to gain all the spoils for myself, I am seeking a way that everyone can benefit. Which form of critical thinking is better? That’s not a very helpful question: it’s like asking which game is better, chess or tennis. They are quite different, and both are very useful in different contexts and for different goals. Adversarial and cooperative critical thinking are quite different methods of thinking critically; but to practice either method effectively, two things are essential. First, whether the process is adversarial or cooperative, the most important step is being clear and precise on exactly what is at issue, what is the question. If you are evaluating an argument, you cannot begin to determine whether that argument is good or bad until you know what the argument is supposed to be proving. An argument that establishes that coal is a plentiful and cheap source of energy will be useless if the real issue is whether burning coal increases the danger of global warming. Consider an argument that Jane might have murdered Allen, that we cannot rule Jane out as a suspect in the murder: that argument will be useful if the question is being discussed by detectives investigating the murder; however, it will be useless if the district attorney presents the same argument to the jury in Jane’s murder, where the question at issue is whether there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Jane did the foul deed. And if we are thinking cooperatively about where we should go to dinner, it’s important that we each consider what our goal really is: is my main concern to save money, or eat healthy, or make my ex jealous by being seen Chapter 1 Introduction 9 with my new lover. So adversarial or cooperative, the vital first step in successful critical thinking is being clear on exactly what is at issue. There is a second important element to good critical thinking, useful whether the context is adversarial or cooperative: be respectful to others. Whether the process is adversarial or cooperative, good critical thinking is best accomplished in an atmosphere of respect and civility. That is obvious enough when we are dealing with cooperative critical thinking: after all, cooperative critical thinking can hardly flourish in an atmosphere of distrust and disrespect. But it also applies, and is just as important, when the critical thinking process is adversarial. An attack on your opponent’s character, or distortion and misrepresentation of your opponent’s arguments and position, is unlikely to succeed in convincing that person of the wisdom of your arguments. And if your goal is to uncover the truth through this adversarial contest, then defaming your opponent and misrepresenting your opponent’s arguments are not promising procedures. Of course if you are not in pursuit of truth, but instead want to bluster and swagger—the sort of thing you can hear any day on talk radio—then abuse and distortion are excellent for your purposes. But such slogan-shouting “argument” rarely qualifies as thinking, much less critical thinking. Both adversarial and critical thinking are useful in many contexts. If the family is deciding where to go on vacation, then—so long as the atmosphere remains cordial— adversarial critical thinking may be a useful way of carefully and critically examining each of the options under consideration. A cooperative approach could also work, of course, with careful consideration of all the interests and desires that are in play, and a cooperative effort to find a destination that satisfies everyone’s real preferences. In criminal court proceedings, the style of argument is generally adversarial; in domestic court, cooperative procedures may be in place. What about in the jury room? Suppose we are members of the jury in a criminal case: the defendant has been charged with burglary, we have heard the evidence and the arguments and the judge’s instructions to the jury, and now we have arrived in the jury room to consider our verdict. Will our deliberative process be adversarial or cooperative? In most movies and dramas about juries, the style of argument is clearly adversarial. Perhaps the most famous dramatic re-creation of jury argument was the film Twelve Angry Men, starring Henry Fonda. The film is a bit dated— thankfully, few juries are now made up exclusively of men—but it clearly shows an adversarial argument within the jury room: some jurors argue the case for conviction, while others argue for acquittal; they present their best arguments, and attempt to refute the arguments of the other side. But while real juries often use adversarial critical thinking to reach their verdict, others adopt a more cooperative approach. Two leading researchers on juries, Neil Vidmar and Valerie P. Hans, contrast the “verdict-driven” approach (which is more adversarial) to the “evidence-driven” style of deliberation (which is more in line with the cooperative): Once the leader is chosen, the jury embarks on deliberating about the case. They begin in different ways; their choice of how to begin can relate to the jury’s ability to reach a verdict. Some juries start by taking a formal vote, either through a show of hands or a secret ballot. In one approach, labeled the “verdict-driven” deliberation, jurors then align themselves with those who are on the same side and talk about the evidence that supports the verdict favored by their faction. In verdict-driven deliberations, polling tends to be frequent. In contrast, in an “evidence-driven” deliberation, jurors tend to embark on a general discussion of the testimony, the facts, and their meaning. Rather than offer only the facts supportive of their preferred verdict, jurors tend to talk about all of the evidence as they collectively aim to develop a common story of the events. . . . The verdict-driven style tends to be faster but also is more likely to lead to a situation in which the jurors cannot agree on a final decision.9 Which approach is better for jury deliberation? I don’t know. The fact that one approach is more likely to lead to a hung jury does not necessarily count against it: after all, a hung jury is certainly better than a mistaken verdict. Which approach is actually better is a difficult question to test, and at this point there is no convincing research on 10 Chapter 1 Introduction that issue. Both approaches can work effectively. My guess is that which approach works better may depend on who happens to be on the jury. But whichever approach a jury adopts, they will certainly perform better if they look closely at the conclusion at issue: for example, the question at issue in a criminal trial is not whether the defendant has been proved innocent, but whether the prosecution has offered conclusive proof that the defendant is guilty as charged. And whichever approach the jury adopts, adversarial or cooperative, they will deliberate more effectively if they remain civil and respectful. The cooperative approach is usually confined to civil and domestic issues, but some Aboriginal peoples in Canada have attempted to apply their community-based nonadversarial approach to the resolution of criminal cases. Starting from a common commitment to healing the community after a crime has been committed, these groups see the adversarial system as an impediment to that healing. Rather than focusing on who is guilty and which side wins, the emphasis is on what went wrong in the community and how it can be fixed, on reintegrating the offender into the community, and on healing the victims, the offender, and the community.10 It is a very different process from the adversarial contest of most Western criminal proceedings, but it has some distinct virtues. The Canadian Aboriginal approach to justice focuses on the deeper source of the problem, and seeks a problem resolution that repairs the damage to the community and prevents further difficulties. In contrast, most Western court systems impose penalties but do nothing to solve the root of the problem. Trying to reduce crime by imposing stiff criminal penalties has been an obvious failure: Among Western industrialized countries, the United States has by far the highest prison population and is the only country imposing the death penalty, and it also has a huge lead in the amount of violent crime. Critical thinking is important in adversarial settings, but it is more than just a sword for subduing your opponent and winning your argument. Critical thinking is also valuable in determining exactly what the problems are, exploring the various possibilities for resolving them, examining the effects of the alternatives, and arriving at the best solution for all concerned. Whether truth is sought by combat or cooperation, critical thinking plays a vital role. Exercise 1-1 1. Suppose that you are the attorney for the defense, and your client is a 30-year-old black man who works as a tax accountant for Dow Chemical. He has been accused of assaulting a man in a tavern; he claims that he was defending himself from attack by a drunken and aggressive patron of the bar (a 60-year-old white bricklayer). What questions would you ask potential jurors during voir dire? (Be sure that you phrase the questions in such a way as to get genuine answers.) 2. You are the district attorney, and you are prosecuting a case in which a man—the president of a small business—is accused of assault and attempted rape. His secretary made the charges, claiming that the man assaulted her and attempted to rape her one evening when they were working late in the office. What questions would you ask potential jurors during voir dire? What questions would you ask if you were attorney for the defense? 3. In the two cases above, do you think you would be a fair and open-minded juror? If you were those defendants, would you be satisfied to have someone like yourself seated on the jury? Exercise 1-2 Two women are charged with murder. Sarah is college-educated and works for an accounting firm. She is 26 years old, of mixed race, and recently divorced. Allison is an old college friend. She is 27, Irish-Italian, single; she completed 3 years of college, and now works as a sales representative for a publishing firm. Sarah and Allison had gone to a local tavern for drinks, and were there from 10:00 to 11:00 P.M. While standing at the bar, they began talking with Robert and Jay. Robert is African American, 25 years old, and recently separated; he drives a truck for a package-delivery company. Jay, Robert’s friend and coworker, is Polish American: At the time of his death, he was 26, married, and Chapter 1 Introduction 11 had a 2-year-old daughter. When Sarah and Allison left the tavern, Robert and Jay followed. The defendants claim that Jay asked them for a ride, and when Sarah and Allison refused, he became verbally abusive. Sarah became frightened, and took a pistol from her purse, which she handed to Allison. When Jay advanced toward Allison, she shot him twice. The first bullet grazed his arm, and the second entered his heart, causing his death. Robert agrees that Jay was angry, but claims that his friend did not threaten the women, and that the shooting was unjustified. The defense claims that this was a justified homicide, with the women acting in self-defense. The prosecution is charging both women with first-degree murder (though the jury may consider lesser charges). Don’t consider whether Sarah and Allison should be acquitted or found guilty: For that, you would have to listen carefully to the whole trial. Rather, imagine that you are seating a jury. You are not an advocate for either the prosecution or the defense; instead, your goal is to seat the best possible jury you can assemble—the fairest and most reasonable and just jury you can get. Describe your ideally just jury for this case. Exercise 1-3 There are two major views of the ideal jury (i.e., an ideally fair and just jury). The contemporary view is that we should strive to seat jurors who are intelligent but who know nothing whatsoever about the case that they will be hearing (thus ensuring that everything they know about the case will come from evidence presented at the trial). The earlier view was that jurors should be intelligent, well-informed members of the community in which the alleged crime occurred. A juror should not be the brother of the accused nor the sister of the victim; but if the juror knew the setting in which the crime occurred and perhaps knew some of the witnesses (and also knew how reliable—or unreliable—those witnesses might be), then that would make them better jurors (rather than automatically disqualifying them, as would almost certainly happen today). At the very least, good jurors were expected to know about community events, and be well informed about current happenings in the community (which of course would likely include knowing of crimes that had been committed and people who were suspected). 1. Some people claim that the traditional model worked well in earlier times, in settings of small towns and shared community knowledge, but that this model does not work well in our contemporary society. Are there any factors in contemporary society (e.g., societal diversity, or the ways people gain information, or the anonymity of urban life, or whatever) that make the older model less attractive for contemporary justice? 2. If your goal is to seat the ideal fair jury for a trial today, which model of the ideal jury would you follow? Or would you favor a different model altogether? 3. Imagine you were trying to seat the ideally fair jury for a highly publicized case: the O. J. Simpson murder trial. Who would you select as the members of your ideal jury? Is your answer closer to the contemporary model (jurors with no prior knowledge of the case) or the traditional model (jurors who are well informed about community events, who have received considerable information about the case, and have discussed it with their friends and colleagues)? Exercise 1-4 1. Lawrence Kohlberg was a twentieth-century psychologist who conducted research on moral development, tracking the developmental stages of moral development in a large group of children in the Boston area, following them from their early years (some as young as 7) well into adulthood. In his studies Kohlberg often posed moral dilemmas to his subjects, and asked what they would do and why. One such dilemma was the story of Heinz: A man named Heinz has a wife who needs a drug to save her life, but Heinz cannot afford to buy the drug from the druggist, and the druggist will not give Heinz the drug. Should Heinz steal the drug for his wife? When confronted with this dilemma, some of the subjects thought about it, then gave an answer: Heinz should steal the drug, or he should not. But others wanted more information before deliberating about the case: Had Heinz attempted to negotiate with the druggist? What sort of person was the druggist? Wasn’t the druggist concerned about saving the life of Heinz’s wife? What was the relationship between Heinz and his wife? Does the demand for more detail correspond to an inclination 12 Chapter 1 Introduction toward one or the other style of critical thinking? That is, would those taking a cooperative approach to this dilemma be more likely to ask for more details than would adversarial critical thinkers? Or vice versa? Or would the style of critical thinking make no difference to the amount of detail desired? NOTES 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 This example is taken from Barbara Holland’s very entertaining brief history of trial by jury: “Do You Swear that You Will Well and Truly Try?” Smithsonian, March 1995, pp. 108–117. This information is from Seymour Wishman, Anatomy of a Jury (New York: Times Books, 1986), p. 65. McMahon’s remarks were taken from a 1987 videotape for training prosecutors; as quoted in a story from the Philadelphia Inquirer, April 1, 1997. Morton Hunt, New York Times Magazine, November 28, 1982, p. 82. Paula DiPerna, Juries on Trial (New York: Dembner Books, 1984), p. 151. Quoted in Paula DiPerna, Juries on Trial (New York: Dembner Books, 1984), p. 154. Samuel R. Gross, “The Death Penalty in the United States,” in Adversarial versus Inquisitorial Justice, edited by Peter J. van Koppen and Steven D. Penrod (New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, 2003). “Is the Adversary System Really Dead? Dilemmas of Legal Ethics as Legal Institutions and Roles Evolve,” p. 103. Neil Vidmar and Valerie P. Hans, American Juries (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2007), p. 14. Brian Donohue describes this approach to justice in “The Third Solitude: Making a Place for Aboriginal Justice,” Canadian Journal of Native Studies, Vol. 17, no. 2 (1997), pp. 315–328. INTERNET RESOURCES The website for the National Center for State Courts is Click on Information and Resources, then Topic Categories, then Jury to find an abundance of interesting research reports on juries. The Justice Information Center is at The site is operated by the National Criminal Justice Reference Service. In addition to a vast number of good files, it has an extensive and wellorganized directory of links to other relevant sites. The website is maintained by the Bastion Law Corporation of British Columbia. It is a user-friendly site for information concerning Canadian legal issues. Go to index.asp and click on Criminal Law and Procedure to find informative and readable material on criminal trials and the role of juries in Canada. The Virginia Judicial System includes on its website an “Answer Book for Jury Service.” While aimed at Virginia jurors, it provides good general information concerning jury service. It is clearly written, well organized, and quite thorough, and it includes a brief but clear glossary of legal terms. The Answer Book for Jury Service is at Click on jury service. The Jury Rights Project contains a number of files on the history and importance of juries; you can find it at Douglas O. Linder, of the University of Missouri–Kansas City Law School maintains a fascinating site on famous trials in history; you can spend hours there. Go to ftrials/ftrials.htm. is a wonderful website on the U.S. Supreme Court, including both oral arguments and written verdicts, along with photos of the justices and the courtroom, and even some photos of the private chambers of some of the justices. The Innocence Project—at—has a treasure trove of information on trials, especially on ways that trials can go wrong and lead to the conviction of innocent persons. ADDITIONAL READING A superb book on juries and the jury system is Valerie P. Hans and Neil Vidmar, Judging the Jury (New York: Plenum Press, 1986). It provides an excellent history of the jury system as well as a careful yet readable examination of many important issues related to the jury system (including jury selection techniques, jury competence, and jury nullification of the law). The book is particularly well documented, and the notes provide a useful guide to further Chapter 1 13 Introduction material. A more recent book by the same authors, American Juries (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2007), discusses more recent questions concerning the jury system, as well as giving additional history of the jury system and its development. Paula DiPerna’s Juries on Trial (New York: Dembner Books, 1984) contains interesting information on jury selection as well as other related topics. For a well-written and fascinating study of the jury system that covers both its history and present circumstances, see William L. Dwyer, In the Hands of the People: The Trial Jury’s Origins, Triumphs, Troubles, and Future in American Democracy (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2002). An excellent psychological study of the jury that gives empirical answers to a number of questions about the jury that were previously only the subject of speculation is a book by Saul M. Kassin and Lawrence S. Wrightsman, The American Jury on Trial: Psychological Perspectives (New York: Hemisphere Publishing, 1988). A detailed study of the techniques of jury selection— which ranges from voir dire techniques to body language to interaction among potential jurors—is Jury Selection, by V. Hale Starr and Mark McCormick (New York: Little, Brown, 1985). Stephen J. Adler’s The Jury: Disorder in the Court (New York: Doubleday, 1994) gives good illustrations of some of the difficulties facing juries, and includes interesting comments on the use of social science techniques for selecting jury members. A profound yet very readable examination of the jury is We, the Jury: The Jury System and the Ideal of Democracy, by Jeffrey Abramson (New York: Basic Books, 1994). If you wish to take a serious look at some of the basic issues con- cerning the jury system—including jury nullification, the requirement of jury unanimity, scientific jury selection, and the basic question of whether the jury system should be preserved or abandoned—this is the best contemporary book on the subject, and the many fascinating cases and lively style make the book fun to read. For those who would like to study some important instances of critical thinking in famous cases, Peter Irons has written a wonderful and very readable book that explores 16 twentieth-century cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. The book not only examines the reasoning behind the decisions, but also presents the stories of the people whose court challenges led to the Supreme Court cases: courageous but little-known people like Lloyd Barenblatt, who was imprisoned for challenging the frightening power of the House Un-American Activities Committee during the height of the McCarthy era; and Daisy Bates, who braved mob violence, death threats, drive-by shootings, and bomb attacks in her struggle for civil rights in Arkansas. See The Courage of Their Convictions: Sixteen Americans Who Fought Their Way to the Supreme Court (New York: Penguin Books, 1988). There are many good books on critical thinking (often called “informal logic”). DouglasN. Walton has written extensively on the subject; see his Informal Logic: A Handbook for Argumentation (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989); and the second edition of Informal Logic: A Pragmatic Approach (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008). For some interesting articles on the adversarial system (with comparisons primarily to the inquisitorial system, rather than the cooperative system), see Adversarial Versus Inquisitorial Justice: Psychological Perspectives on Criminal Justice Systems, edited by Peter J. van Koppen and Steven D. Penrod (New York: Kluwer, 2003). Read the Document on Deborah Tannen, The Argument Culture. Deborah Tannen is a professor of linguistics at Georgetown University. Much of her work (including her book, The Argument Culture, from which this passage is drawn) focuses on how language can be used to increase hostility, as well as to promote cooperation and understanding. In this passage, she notes the strong tendency to frame our social issues in warlike or competitive language. If instead of framing the severe drug problem as a “war on drugs” we conceptualized it as a “search for workable solutions,” would we be likely to approach the problem differently? Deborah Tannen, The Argument Culture, p. 26. When we are in an adversarial framework, we tend to assume that there are two opposing sides to an argument; Deborah Tannen counsels that sometimes it is useful to challenge that assumption. Deborah Tannen, The Argument Culture, p. 354. Deborah Tannen notes that when we are engaged in an adversarial argument, and eager to win an argument, it is very difficult to listen carefully to the views and arguments and concerns of our opponent. “Changing a Man’s Mind.” This is a reminder of the importance of genuinely appreciating and understanding the views of those who oppose our arguments and beliefs. Gerry Spence, “The Lock.” Attorney Gerry Spence demonstrates the value of seeking common ground as a starting point for discussion and argument. 2 ❖❖❖ A Few Important Terms Listen to the Chapter Audio on ARGUMENTS Before we plunge into examining arguments, evaluating commercials, debating social issues, and reaching verdicts, it will be helpful if we are all using the same terms, and we all agree on what those terms mean. We’ll be concerned with arguments. An argument offers a conclusion and supports that conclusion with reasons (premises). Not every set of sentences is an argument. In fact, arguments constitute a comparatively small—but very important—part of our daily discourse. So the first task is distinguishing arguments from explanations, reports, contracts, ceremonies, questions, instructions, promises, pleas, curses, prayers, poems, exhortations, songs, and sweet talk. (Those are not always mutually exclusive categories. A prayer might contain an argument—to God—in the hope of convincing God to water the drought-stricken crops. A poem might be an argument in verse: Bob Dylan’s song “Hurricane” argues that the boxer Reuben “Hurricane” Carter was unjustly convicted of murder. But usually prayers and poems and songs—and pleas and contracts and instructions—are not arguments.) An argument involves giving reasons that are supposed to support a certain conclusion. In an argument a set of statements is arranged in such a way that one is supposed to follow from the others. STATEMENTS So what is a statement? The term is used in many different ways: “His statement was false.” “Senator, could we have a statement?” “Those orange shoes really make a statement.” We will be using it in a more specific manner: A statement—sometimes called a proposition—is a claim that is true or false; that is, a statement has a truth value. A statement is expressed in a sentence, but not all sentences are statements. (“Please close the door” and “Did you enjoy the play?” are both perfectly decent and honorable sentences, but they are not statements, since they make no claims and are neither true nor false.) While a statement is 14 Chapter 2 A Few Important Terms 15 expressed in a sentence, it should not be regarded as equivalent to a particular sentence. For example, this sentence—“The defendant struck Ralph”—expresses a statement, but the same statement could be expressed with many different sentences: “Ralph was struck by the defendant,” “The defendant hit Ralph,” “The man seated at the table struck the man in the witness box,” and so forth. In addition, the same statement might be made in sentences in many different languages. Furthermore, while the same statement can be expressed with many different sentences, a single sentence can—in different contexts— express different statements: “I saw her” expresses an enormous variety of different statements, including Wendell saw Rachel, Wendy saw Vanessa, and Arthur saw the Titanic. We shall be concerned primarily with statements: claims that are true or false. Premises and conclusions—the basic elements of arguments—are statements. Exercise 2-1 For the following, tell which are statements and which are not statements. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. Please close the door. If you don’t close the door, the dog will get out. Read Chapter 3 before the next class. Why is the sky blue? Mushrooms are the summer homes of elves. Go to hell! I did see an extraterrestrial. Don’t rush! Think through each question before answering. Let’s go Mets! Let’s go Mets! The Mets will definitely win the World Series next year. Who was the Republican vice presidential candidate in 1964? Eat your vegetables. The 2010 Winter Olympics were held in Vancouver. The 2010 Winter Olympics were held in Miami. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Earth is the only place in the entire universe where life exists. Why are there no penguins in Lake Erie? There was a conspiracy to kill President Kennedy. Joe believes there was a conspiracy to kill President Kennedy. I believe there was a conspiracy to kill President Kennedy. Sal loves Sharon. I love you. Either there will be a reduction in air pollution or we will suffer severe global warming. I hope we can reduce air pollution significantly during the next decade. Add more chocolate chips to the cookie dough. The cookies will taste better if you add more chocolate chips. These cookies taste awful. Did you make these cookies? Our Sun is one of the smallest stars in this galaxy. Drive carefully, and watch out for ice patches and potholes. The Loch Ness Monster really exists, and is a descendant of the brachiosaurus. Are there any clear photographs of the Loch Ness Monster? Bill Clinton is the only U.S. president who has played the saxophone while in office. Don’t play poker with penguins. 16 Chapter 2 A Few Important Terms 35. All penguins cheat at poker. 36. Every human being has lived many past lives, though very few human beings are consciously aware of their past lives. 37. Jupiter has the most moons of any planet in our solar system. 38. What is the tallest building in Pennsylvania? 39. This is a very tough exercise. 40. Do not look at anyone else’s paper. 41. How many stars are in our galaxy? 42. Critical thinking students study an average of 6 hours each day. 43. The Steelers will win the Super Bowl in 2025. 44. Global warming will cause catastrophic problems in the United States, and especially along the East Coast. 45. Jupiter is not the largest planet in our solar system. 46. There is a damaged alien spacecraft in a top secret military aircraft storage building near Las Cruces, New Mexico. PREMISES AND CONCLUSIONS Arguments are made up of premises and conclusions. The conclusion is what the argument is trying to prove. Premises are the reasons given for the conclusion, the statements made in support of the conclusion. (The American spelling is “premise”; the British spelling is “premiss.”) It is not always easy to distinguish premises from conclusion. Sometimes the conclusion is at the beginning of the argument, sometimes at the end, and occasionally it is stuck in the middle. There are a few words or phrases that usually indicate premises and others that usually signal conclusions. Premises are often preceded by words such as since, due to the fact that, because. And conclusions are frequently signaled by such words as therefore, hence, it follows that, so, consequently. Attention to such words and phrases may be helpful, but they are not always used and are certainly not a perfect guide to premises and conclusions. The following arguments all have the same conclusion. Notice that the conclusion occurs at different points in the various arguments and that sometimes there are words to indicate the premises and conclusion and sometimes there are not. There were three eyewitnesses, and they all were certain that the woman they saw running from the bank was the defendant. So the defendant must be guilty. Of course the defendant is guilty. You could tell by her weak chin and beady eyes. No other woman was near the bank at the time, thus the defendant must be guilty of the crime. Besides, her alibi was very weak. Since her fingerprints were found in the bank and the money was found near her car, the defendant must be guilty. The arguments above are relatively simple: a premise or two, and a conclusion. Arguments are often much more complex. A newspaper editorialist may offer several different arguments for the same conclusion, or an essay may contain several arguments for several distinct conclusions. Or you may be presented with a lengthy argument that contains several subarguments; that is, in some cases there may be an argument within an argument: “We should bet on (the racehorse) General Assembly. After all, General Assembly runs very well on muddy tracks. And since it rained all morning, the track must be muddy.” The overall conclusion is that we should bet on General Assembly. The premises that support that conclusion are: The track is muddy and General Assembly runs very well on muddy tracks. But there is also a subargument to support the premise that the track is muddy. That subargument has as its premise: It rained all morning. The conclusion of the subargument is: The track is muddy. Thus the conclusion of the subargument is a premise of the larger argument. “The track must be muddy” is prefaced by “so,” which indicates it is a conclusion; only by thinking carefully about the overall argument can you tell that it is also a premise. Chapter 2 A Few Important Terms 17 Exercise 2-2 Determine which of the following are arguments and which are not. (Don’t worry about whether the arguments are good or bad; just distinguish the arguments from the nonarguments.) Then for each of the arguments, state the conclusion. 1. If the moon is made of green cheese, then there are mice on the moon. The moon is made of green cheese. Therefore, there are mice on the moon. 2. I solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. 3. Raspberry Surprise ice cream has big chunks of real fruit! What a combination! Rich ice cream with delicious fruit; it’s my all-time favorite ice cream. 4. Wheaties®1 is a nutritious cereal. After all, Mary Lou Retton appeared in Wheaties advertisements, and Mary Lou Retton is certainly healthy; so Wheaties must be nutritious. 5. Requirements for this course include three exams and two papers. You must pass at least two of the three exams in order to pass the course, and you must make a B or better on both papers in order to make a B or better in the course. 6. Last summer Joe promised Sarah he would be faithful to her, and he cheated on her. Last spring he made the same promise to Veronica, and he cheated. This past winter he promised to be faithful to Joan, but he ran around on her. And last fall he pledged to be faithful and true to Ann, and he broke that pledge. So now Joe is telling you that he’s going to be faithful to you; but listen, that man’s going to cheat on you. 7. The team with the best pitching always wins the World Series. So the New York Mets will win the World Series, since the Mets have the best pitching. 8. The Yankees won the World Series when they had the best pitching staff in baseball; the Dodgers won the World Series when they had superior pitching; and when the Cardinals won the World Series they had the best pitching. So the team with the best pitching staff wins the World Series. 9. When you are cooking fettucine alfredo, be careful not to overcook the pasta. If the pasta is overcooked, it will stick together, and the sauce will not spread evenly over the pasta. Also, I recommend that you serve a green salad with the fettucine, and be sure to have plenty of red wine. 10. All professors own private jets. My critical thinking teacher is a professor; therefore, she must own a private jet. 11. Three reliable witnesses saw the defendant in New York just one hour before the murder took place in Los Angeles. There’s no way the defendant could be guilty of the murder. Besides, the defendant had no reason to kill the guy—they were good friends. 12. You guys charged too much for fixing my car. It only needed new spark plugs, which are fairly inexpensive and are easy to install. So I don’t think I should have to pay this outrageous repair bill. 13. I am not paying that repair bill! I may have to hire a lawyer, I may have to call the state attorney general’s office, maybe my credit rating will be ruined, perhaps they’ll sue me. I don’t care what happens; I’m still not paying. 14. I like the way the Modern Jazz Quartet plays. They have a cool, tight, almost dispassionate style. It projects a sense of tremendous energy being held tautly in check. And the drums, bass, vibes, and piano work together so perfectly that sometimes it is impossible to tell where one stops and the other starts. 15. To be successful in your critical thinking course, it is important to do as many exercises as possible. It would also help a lot to read the chapters in the text, perhaps even a couple of times. And attending class regularly wouldn’t hurt. 16. Last year there was an increase in gasoline prices in July, and there was also an increase in July the year before that, and the year before that: in fact, every year of the last decade there has been a significant jump in gasoline prices during the month of July. So you can expect to pay more for gasoline this year in July. 17. When hitting a baseball, you should start with your back elbow up; then swing down. Keep your back foot stationary, and don’t lunge at the ball, and be sure to follow through with your swing. And above all: Keep your eye on the ball. 18. If the recession continues, then there will be fewer jobs next year. And the recession is continuing, so clearly next year there will be fewer jobs. 19. All Cleveland Browns fans hate the Steelers. So Brenda must hate the Steelers, because Brenda is certainly a Cleveland Browns fan. 18 Chapter 2 A Few Important Terms 20. This year North State University had a tuition increase, and there was also a tuition increase last year, and the year before that, and the year before that. So very likely North State University students will be hit with another increase in tuition next year. 21. Look, this is really simple. Either we are sure beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty, or we have to vote not guilty. Now obviously we can’t be sure beyond a reasonable doubt that he is guilty, since the only witness admitted that he was drunk and isn’t sure what he saw. So we have to vote not guilty. 22. If federal disaster relief had been well organized, then effective aid would have reached New Orleans immediately after Katrina passed. But in fact effective aid did not reach New Orleans until long after Katrina passed. So obviously federal disaster relief was not well organized. 23. I love Cajun music. It has a simple beat, but it’s always great for dancing—especially at a Cajun street dance, when you mix plenty of wine with the music. If you have a great Cajun fiddler, who keeps a steady rhythm with the fiddle, and you throw in a good accordion player and maybe a guitar, you can dance till dawn. You haven’t partied until you’ve danced all night to a Cajun band down deep in the Louisiana swamps. 24. Sharon must be tall. After all, Sharon is a basketball player, and all basketball players are tall. 25. If you believe in democracy, then you should vote. And of course you do believe in democracy, so therefore you should vote. 26. Please don’t miss class on Friday. We’ll be studying ad hominem arguments, and that’s one of my favorite topics, and I would be really disappointed if no one was here to discuss ad hominem arguments with me. 27. If a wealthy country like the United States does not provide decent health care for all its citizens, then there should be major reform in its health-care system. So clearly there should be major reforms of our health-care system, because the United States does not provide decent health care for all its citizens. Premises and conclusions are statements. They make claims, and they are either true or false. But while the premises and conclusions of arguments are true or false, arguments are not true or false. Instead, arguments are valid or invalid, sound or unsound, strong or weak, cogent or uncogent. Evaluation of an argument comprises two distinct and essential considerations. First, do the premises support the conclusion? Second, are the premises true? Start with the second consideration: Are the premises true? The most obvious way that an argument can go wrong is by having false premises. “You should immediately send $10 to Reverend Megabucks, because God commands it, and if you break God’s commandment God will cause blight on your crops, flat tires on your cars, fumbles by your running backs, and holes in your socks.” Well, if true, that might provide some reason for coughing up a sawbuck to the Rev; but before we wonder about whether the conclusion really follows from the premises, we should first question whether the premises are actually true. Since they are not, the argument is no good—it is unsound—whether the premises adequately support the conclusion or not. Now we come to the trickier part of evaluating arguments: Even if the premises are true, do they provide the right sort of support for the conclusion? Does the conclusion really “follow from” the premises? That is a separate and distinct question from the question of whether the premises are true. After all, an argument with all true premises may fail to support its conclusion; for example: The defendant is named George; George starts with g, and guilty starts with g; therefore, the defendant is guilty. And an argument with false premises may strongly support its conclusion: If there are dinosaurs on the moon, then Earth is the largest planet; there are dinosaurs on the moon; therefore, Earth is the largest planet. Chapter 2 A Few Important Terms 19 So in addition to asking whether the premises are actually true, we must also ask, Do the premises provide the right sort of support for the conclusion? We’ll look further into the questions of how premises support conclusions, and whether in a particular argument the premises provide the right sort of support for the conclusion. But first it is important to note that there are two different ways that premises can support conclusions, and those two ways mark out two different types of arguments. The two different types of arguments are deductive and inductive. DEDUCTIVE AND INDUCTIVE ARGUMENTS What are the differences between a deductive and an inductive argument? There are several, but they all stem from this key difference: Inductive arguments go beyond the information contained in the premises; inductive arguments make a projection based on given information. Deductive arguments draw out the implications of the premises; they draw conclusions that are already contained in the premises. So what you must look for in deciding whether an argument is deductive or inductive is the relation of the premises to the conclusion. If the premises are used as a base from which the conclusion makes a projection, then the argument is inductive; if the conclusion is purportedly drawing out implications contained in the premises (rather than going beyond the premises), then the argument is deductive. (Obviously, a deductive argument may contain a premise or premises that were established inductively. In determining whether an argument is deductive or inductive, the question is not how the premises are supported; rather, the question is how the premises are related to the conclusion.) Suppose that the conclusion of an argument is, The Giants will win their next home game. Would the argument for that conclusion be inductive or deductive? You can’t tell. It might be either. For example, you might argue like this: The Giants have won all their home games for the last 2 years; so they will win their next home game. That would be an inductive argument, which projects the result of the next game on the basis of information about preceding games. But suppose that instead the argument goes this way: If the quarterback for the Giants is healthy and able to play, then the Giants will win their next home game. The Giants quarterback is healthy and ready to play. Therefore, the Giants will win their next home game. That is a deductive argument for the same conclusion. Consider another example. All college students like indie music. The students at the University of Texas are college students. Therefore, all students at the University of Texas like indie music. That is a deductive argument. The conclusion simply draws out the implications of the premises. It is in fact a deductively valid argument, and if the premises are true, then the conclusion must be true. (How do we know that the first premise—“All college students like indie music”—is true? Perhaps it was established inductively; perhaps we determined that through asking absolutely every college student; perhaps it was given in a special revelation from God. Certainly when we are evaluating the soundness of the argument, it will be important to know what the grounds are for believing the premises and whether the premises are in fact true. But when we are trying to determine whether an argument is inductive or deductive, we are not concerned with how the premises are known or whether they are actually true; rather, we are concerned only with the relation between 20 Chapter 2 A Few Important Terms the premises and the conclusion.) Contrast that deductive argument with this inductive argument: We have interviewed thousands of students at the University of Michigan, Yale University, the University of Arizona, Florida State, and Bates College. All the students we interviewed like indie music. Therefore, all the students at the University of Texas like indie music. That has the same conclusion as the deductive argument in the above example, but it is an inductive argument that projects a conclusion about students who were not interviewed (students at the University of Texas) on the basis of people who are somewhat similar to the students at the University of Texas (other U.S. college students). The moral of the story is this: In determining whether an argument is deductive or inductive, you must first determine what the conclusion is, but don’t stop there. Examine the relation between premises and conclusion; only then can you decide whether the argument is inductive or deductive. Exercise 2-3 For each of the following cases, first tell whether it is or is not an argument; second, for each argument determine whether it is deductive or inductive; third, for each of the arguments state the conclusion. In at least one case it may be possible to interpret an argument as either deductive or inductive. 1. All licensed physicians in the United States are medical school graduates. Ralph is not a medical school graduate, so Ralph is not a licensed physician in the United States. 2. If you want to live a long and healthy life, then you should eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and stay away from junk food and fast food. Also, be sure to get some exercise, and try to get a decent amount of sleep. And, of course, don’t smoke. 3. Susan is a licensed physician, and she is a medical school graduate. Sarah is a licensed physician, and she is a medical school graduate. Sam is a licensed physician, and he is a medical school graduate. Bradley is a licensed physician, and he is a medical school graduate. And Teresa is a licensed physician, and she is a medical school graduate. R...
Purchase answer to see full attachment
User generated content is uploaded by users for the purposes of learning and should be used following Studypool's honor code & terms of service.

Explanation & Answer


Student one response
There seems to be some weaknesses in the arguments which were presented by the prosecution
witnesses. We will therefore identify one weak argument of the witness who is Blake and show
how it is a slippery slope hence questioning the credibility of the information provided by Blake.
Blake: I was in the Sideways Lounge having a drink when I went in the washroom and met
Robert, loading a gun with bullets?
Opposing attorney: Mr. Blake, you are saying you met a man by the name Robert in the
washrooms loading a gun? The man was in a private place where he was loading his gun which
means that he did not want people to spot him loading his gun. The man was also not a security
officer and therefore, by loading his gun in the washrooms, a person should be suspicions that
the individual may have some ill motives. You did not however, notify any security officer
around the lounge of some suspicious activity you had known as an indication of a res...

I was having a hard time with this subject, and this was a great help.


Similar Content

Related Tags