argument critiquee

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Write an argument critique on the below argument following the instructions listed below the argument to be critiqued.


My Position Paper on Why George W. Bush Is NOT a Terrorist


The Reverend Pat Billy Falwell (an imaginary tele-evangelist)

(1) There is only one true word of God, namely, the Holy Bible.(2) And the Bible says God sent His only son, Jesus, to set all human beings free from their sins through forgiveness.(3) Moreover, Jesus taught us to do the same, namely, to forgive rather than judge each other.(4) This is the meaning of the teaching, “He who is without sin should cast the first stone.

”(5) Terrorists, on the other hand, are the opposite.(6) They advocate revenge and persecution of their enemies.(7) This is why there can be no justifiable terrorism. In other words, terrorism is, by definition, morally wrong according to the Bible.(8) Muhammad claimed to convey the word of God through the sacred scriptures of Islam called the Qur’an.(9) In the Qur’an, Muhammad says that God (or Allah) commands Muslims to take revenge against (or persecute) what are called “Infidels.”

(10) Therefore, Muhammad and the Qur’an advocate terrorism in the name of religion (or God).(11) Since God would never advocate anything that is morally wrong, (12) it follows that Islam is a false religion, and (12) the Qur’an cannot be the Word of God.

(13) If George W. Bush believes the Bible is the Holy Word of God and accepts Jesus as his savior, then George Bush cannot be a terrorist.(14) George W. Bush does believe in the Bible and accepts Jesus as his savior.

(15) Therefore, George Bush cannot be a terrorist.

Key language to evaluate in this argument:

a. One true Word of God

b. Holy Bible

c. The Bible says…

d. Terrorists

e. Morally wrong

f. God would never advocate anything that is…

g. False religion

h. Believe in the Bible

Instructions for Argument Critique:

Introduction:An argument critique is an attempt to critically evaluate the pros and cons (strengths and weaknesses, positives and negatives) of an argument (or position paper).The purpose of an argument critique is not to take your own position on an issue.Rather, it is to assess whether someone else’s argument is sound or unsound. This should not be a merely negative or destructive exercise.Rather, it should be an exercise in good judgment.In other words, don’t just list everything wrong you can think of.Rather, include, so-to-speak, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Of course, many arguments have more negatives than positives, and are hardly worth our consideration.However, the most interesting arguments are usually more complex, multi-layered, and interesting.They challenge our ability to achieve good judgments about their soundness.

You should use what you have learned about informal and formal logic to critically evaluate whether the argument you choose is sound or unsound.This will involve critically evaluating the language used, whether any informal fallacies have been committed, and whether the logical structure of the argument is deductively valid or inductively strong.

Recommended Outline:Here is a recommended outline for composing an argument critique:

  • Argument Reconstruction:Compose an abbreviated synopsis of the argument.A synopsis is an abbreviated summary or abstract of the essential or core argument.This will include, first, identifying the final conclusion, and, second, the primary or key premises (reasons) used to establish this conclusion.Leave out all the secondary arguments, or anything you judge to be irrelevant or extraneous.Just state the core or primary argument of the whole essay.Label this “Synopsis” or “Abstract of the Argument.”
  • Argument Form:Evaluate the logic (or structure) of the argument.This will include an assessment of whether the premises (or reasons) are sufficient to render the conclusion
  • Argument Content:Evaluate the language of the argument with a view toward assessing whether the primary or key premises are reasonably true.If any key premise is unreasonably vague, ambiguous, loaded, deceptive, or otherwise unclear, then you should explain why this gets in the way of determining whether this premise is reasonably true.If any key premise is demonstrably or provably false, then you should show or explain why.If so, then the argument is unsound.
  • Overall Evaluation:Pull together you findings, both good and bad, into a concluding summation that presents to the reader your critical assessment of the overall strength or soundness of this argument.Do not just indicate whether you like it or not.Indicate your considered judgment based on the plusses and minuses you found in Steps 3 and 4.Put this summation into the form of a self-contained essay.Imagine that you are writing an editorial for a newspaper on the soundness of this argument.Or, if you prefer, assume you are a trial judge offering a summary of the prosecution and defense of this argument.Your audience is your readers or the jurors whom you are trying to convince that this argument is sound or unsound.

probably true (inductively strong) or necessarily true (deductively valid).If you judge that the argument can be improved, then be charitable by recommending revisions or additions of premises.However, if there are irrelevant, insufficient, or contradictory premises, then you must conclude that the logical structure is flawed, and that the premises fail to establish the conclusion.If so, then the argument is unsound.When you get around to reading Chapters 10 and 11 on reasoning diagrams, you should include a reasoning diagram of the argument that shows the pros and cons of the argument form.

On the other hand, if the overall language is clear and distinct, and the claims made reasonably true, show or explain why.Remember, don’t just judge.Support your judgments.Do this by using the critical thinking terms and concepts discussed in your readings.The more you use what you’ve learned, the stronger your critique will be. Note that there is summary of these terms and concepts in the file labeled “Checklist for Critical Thinkers” located in the folder labeled “Writing Argument Critiques.”There are many other critical thinking terms and concepts which you can find online or in other books on critical thinking.Feel free to use these as well if it helps flesh out or clarify your critique.

How Will My Critique Be Graded:I will use the following 20-point scale to evaluate your critiques; however, final grades will only be assigned to final drafts that you put in your Portfolio at the end of the semester.

Quality of argument synopsis (or summary)…………………………………0-5 points

Quality of logical evaluation…………………………………………………0-5 points

Quality of content evaluation…………………………………………………0-5 points

Quality of overall evaluation…………………………………………………0-5 points

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