Creating a Sound Argument Workshop [WLOs: 1, 2, 3, 4] [CLOs: 1, 2, 3, 5] Prior to completing this assignment, read the Week 2 Instructor Guidance and watch the videos, What Is a Valid Argument? (Links to an external site.) and How to Make a Sound Deductive Argument (Links to an external site.). In the Week 1 Standard Form Arguments discussion forum you selected a topic related to your field of study or future career. That topic should be both controversial and have sufficient scholarly sources that answer the question on both sides. You will use this topic here as well as for the Week 3 Scholarly Arguments on Both Sides assignment and the Week 5 Fair-Minded Reasoning final paper. This workshop gives you a chance to practice deductive reasoning by creating a sound argument on your topic. This is not a research paper (you will do that next week). It is a workshop on how to create sound arguments generally. This workshop teaches you to fill in premises needed to make an argument valid, while also striving to keep the premises true. While you will be addressing your specific topic, the lessons in this exercise can help you to learn to construct and evaluate deductive reasoning in general. Follow the steps below and take a look at the Week Two Example Paper downloadfor an example of how to complete this paper. Step 1: State a thesis statement on your topic. This thesis statement does not have to end up being your final position on the subject, but for this workshop, it will serve as the position you will be defending. Your thesis statement is the conclusion of your argument. Example: If my topic is the moral acceptability of capital punishment, my thesis could be that capital punishment is not morally acceptable. Step 2: Present your main reason or reasons in favor of your thesis. These reasons are the premises of your argument. State your argument in standard form. Example: If my thesis is that capital punishment is not morally acceptable, and my reason is that it sometimes kills innocent human beings, then my argument would be the following: Premise 1: Capital punishment sometimes kills innocent human beings. Conclusion: Capital punishment is not morally acceptable. Step 3: State the new premise (or premises) that would be needed in order to make this argument valid. This new premise provides what is needed to link (in a valid way) the first premise(s) to the stated conclusion. For more guidance on how to do this, review the assigned sections of Chapter 3 in your textbook, and watch the videos What Is a Valid Argument? (Links to an external site.) and How to Make a Sound Deductive Argument (Links to an external site.). In the above example, the new premise needed to make the argument valid would be the following: Premise 2: It is not morally acceptable to do anything that sometimes kills innocent human beings. The new premise connects the first premise to the conclusion in a way that makes the argument logically valid. Step 4: Discuss whether the new premise is true (in your view) and why. Does it have any counter examples? If it is not true (in your view), then how could you modify it so that it is true but still supports the conclusion? If it is true (in your view), how might you respond to a likely objection to it? In the example above, the new premise may not be true. A counterexample could be war. Wars typically kill at least some innocent human beings, but that does not make all of them morally unacceptable. To figure out how to modify the premise, one can ask the following: What is the difference between good wars and capital punishment? Perhaps it is that good wars are necessary to prevent greater overall harm. So, one might change the premise to, “It is not morally acceptable to do anything that sometimes kills innocent human beings, unless it is necessary to prevent greater overall harm.” This new version of the premise shows what is wrong with capital punishment without also entailing that war is always wrong. Step 5: State the new version of the argument in standard form, adding any other premises needed to complete the reasoning (meaning to make it valid). The new argument becomes the following: Premise 1: Capital punishment sometimes kills innocent human beings. Premise 2: It is not morally acceptable to do anything that sometimes kills innocent human beings unless it is necessary to prevent greater overall harm. Premise 3: Capital punishment is not necessary to prevent greater overall harm. Conclusion: Capital punishment is not morally acceptable. Step 6: Discuss whether the new argument is deductively valid and whether all of its premises are true. If your argument meets both of these requirements (namely that it is valid and all premises are true), then you have an apparently sound argument; great job! If not, then go back to the steps above and repeat until you have a sound argument and revise Step 5 until it meets both requirements. (so that what you post under Step 5 above is your final, sound version). Step 7: Once you have an (apparently) sound argument, present an objection to it. Imagine for a moment that you are a smart person with the opposite perspective on this issue. What would be your best objection to the argument that you just gave? It can be an objection to the truth of one of the premises or to the validity of the reasoning, or it can be a counter argument intended to override your argument. In any case, express here what you take that best objection to be. The Creating a Sound Argument Workshop paper, Should be 1 to 2 pages in length. Must include a separate title page with the following: Title of workshop in bold font Space should appear between the title and the rest of the information on the title page. Student’s name Name of institution (University of Arizona Global Campus) Course name and number Instructor’s name Due date Refer to the Writing a Thesis Statement (Links to an external site.) Writing Center resource to support writing a thesis statement for Step 1.
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