Watson Glaser 2: Analysing Arguments

Watson Glaser 2: Analysing Arguments

You will be presented with a shorter statement or a question and an argument about the statement. You must indicate whether the argument is strong or weak. You must assess whether the argument directly addresses all (important) elements of the proposition

Would it be good for public health if additional taxes were imposed on sugar?

No, sugar is an important ingredient in many recipes. Without sugar it is practically impossible to bake cakes and pies.

This is a weak argument. The argument may be true, but it does not address the statement properly. The argument does not address public health and this is the core of the proposition.

You can pay attention to the following points for arguments when evaluating arguments:

  • Does the argument directly address the statement? See the example above.
  • Are all important elements of the statement covered? A theorem is about A and B and the argument only addresses A.
  • Is there a direct logical connection between the argument and the proposition? Consider, for example, a statement about the usefulness of higher salary for teachers and an argument that this is good because teachers can now buy faster cars and thus get to work earlier and have more time to teach. This may be technically true, but there is no realistic direct logical connection.

We work out three examples and then you can do three practice exercises that deal with the component recognizing assumptions.