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Lesson 12 : 

Lesson 12 What Reasonable Conclusions are Possible?

Same Reasons, Different Conclusions: Why? : 

Same Reasons, Different Conclusions: Why? Assumptions An assumption is an unstated belief that supports the explicit (clearly stated) reasoning. Dichotomous Thinking Occurs when we assume that there are only two possible answers to a question that has multiple possible answers. Also known as the “either-or” (or false dilemma) fallacy (pg. 78).

Same Reasons, Different Conclusions: Why? : 

Same Reasons, Different Conclusions: Why? Dichotomous thinking: Can have a negative impact on our thinking and choices. Sharply reduces the possibilities that careful reasoning could produce. We restrict our ability to be good critical thinkers. Overly simplifies complex situations. This type of thinking needs to be avoided.

Same Reasons, Different Conclusions: Why? : 

Same Reasons, Different Conclusions: Why? “Please help us resist the proposed noise ordinance. Those of us who are concerned about the number of jobs in our community want to attract as much industry as possible to our town. The proposed ordinance would prevent some industries from operating within our city limits. A little noise may be necessary for social progress.” What is the conclusion? The reasons? What are some alternative conclusions?

Same Reasons, Different Conclusions: Why? : 

Same Reasons, Different Conclusions: Why? To help avoid dichotomous thinking and discover alternative conclusions ask and answer three questions: When is the conclusion accurate? Where is the conclusion accurate? Why or for what purpose is the conclusion accurate?

Searching For Multiple Conclusions : 

Searching For Multiple Conclusions Conclusion: Congress should not decriminalize marijuana. Reasons: A group of British scientists has shown that smoking marijuana may causes serious brain damage. Marijuana smokers risk decreasing their fertility. Marijuana smokers often become heroin users. What alternative reasonable conclusions are possible?

Searching For Multiple Conclusions : 

Searching For Multiple Conclusions Possible alternative reasonable conclusions: Legalize marijuana in one area and observe the impact before making a national rule. Congress could sponsor research designed to develop a substance that would produce effects similar to those produced by marijuana without the possible side-effects. Congress could permit pot to be sold in stores along with other possibly hazardous materials.

Productivity of “If-Clauses” : 

Productivity of “If-Clauses” “If-clause” States a condition that we are assuming to be true in order to enable us to reach a particular conclusion. Ex: If you eat Cheerios on a daily basis, you are less likely to suffer from high cholesterol. Condition, “If you eat Cheerios on a daily basis” Conclusion, “Eating Cheerios daily helps lower cholesterol.” Assumption, “Cheerios helps lower cholesterol.” We are assuming the condition is true in order to reach our conclusion.

Productivity of “If-Clauses” : 

Productivity of “If-Clauses” Further Examples “If freedom of religion is meant when the writer speaks of the loss of our basic freedom, then…” “If the birthrate continues to rise over the next five years, then…” “If it can be proven that most of those using the insanity defense today are truly mentally ill, then…” If-Clauses point out that our conclusion is based on particular claims or assumptions.

Productivity of “If-Clauses” : 

Productivity of “If-Clauses” Summary of If-Clauses: Present us with multiple conclusions that we may wish to consider before making up our minds about an issue. Broaden the list of possible conclusions from which we can choose our opinion.

Alternative Solutions as Conclusions : 

Alternative Solutions as Conclusions Many times we are presented with issues that are put in the following form: Should we do X? Is X desirable? Such questions are trying to get us to answer in a yes/no way (dichotomous). The real issue is what should be done about the problem that X proposed as a solution for? By going directly to the problem we are able to generate multiple conclusions which increases the flexibility of our thinking.

Alternative Solutions as Conclusions : 

Alternative Solutions as Conclusions When reasons in a prescriptive argument are statements of practical problems… Look for different solutions to the problems as possible conclusions. Example (Next Slide)

Slide 13: 

“Should we outlaw those nudist beaches on the edge of our community? We certainly should. Look at the traffic problems they are causing and the hundreds of cars that have been parking illegally since the beach opened.” What is the real problem here?

Example, cont… : 

Example, cont… If we change the question to, “What should we do about the traffic and parking problems?” Several possible solutions come to mind. For example, “No, we should not outlaw the nudist beaches; we should have police vigorously enforce the no-parking rules and have the park service restrict the number of people allowed on the beach.”

Conclusion : 

Conclusion Three ways of identifying alternative conclusions: Try to identify as many conclusions as possible that would follow from the reasons. Use “if-clauses” to qualify alternative conclusions. Reword the issue to “What should we do about Y?” Some conclusions can be better justified than others, and the most believable ones should be the ones that most affect your reaction to the reasoning. As critical thinkers we should have standards of careful reasoning that we can apply to identify the strongest reasoning.

In Class Practice : 

In Class Practice Identify the issue, conclusion, and reasons. Identify other possible reasonable conclusions in the following paragraph. Are Jessica and Bill still seeing each other? I guess so. I saw them last week, and they were holding hands and smiling at one another. And just three days ago some friends of mine and I went to a party, and those two were there together. I haven't heard anything about them breaking up from any of the usual gossips. It looks to me like they're doing just fine.


THE END Make sure your presentations are ready. Read chapter 14 for next meeting.

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