Arguments & Deep analysis

Report
Deep Analysis: The Basics
Kareem Khalifa
Philosophy Department
Middlebury College
I. The Goal of Deep Analysis
• To reconstruct a passage into a collection of
sound, noncircular arguments presented in
standard form.
Arguments in Standard Form
1. 1st Premise
2. 2nd Premise
…
n. nth Premise
 n+1. Conclusion (from 1, 2, … n)
• This is one of the clearest ways of presenting
an argument’s structure.
In arguments that have three premises or fewer,
I’ll allow you to drop this.
II. The Process of Deep Analysis
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Step 1: Identify the Conclusion
Step 2: Omit Irrelevant Information
Step 3: Clarify crucial terms
Step 4: Dissect remaining propositions
Step 5: Fit the remaining information into
common argument patterns
Example…
... We're also going to have to get serious about treating
Ahmadinejad [the President of Iran) like the rogue and
buffoon that he is. And it was outrageous for the United
Nations to invite him to come to this country. It was
outrageous for Columbia to invite him to speak at their
university. This is a person who denied the Holocaust, a
person who has spoken about genocide, is seeking the
means to carry it out. And it is unacceptable to this
country to allow that individual to have control of
launching a nuclear weapon. And so we will take the
action necessary to keep that from happening ...
--MITT ROMNEY, 2007 REPUBLICAN PRIMARY DEBATE
Step 1. Identify the Main Conclusion
What’s the
conclusion?
Example
Two candidates…
... We're also going to have to get serious about treating
Ahmadinejad [the President of Iran) like the rogue and
buffoon that he is. And it was outrageous for the United
Nations to invite him to come to this country. It was
outrageous for Columbia to invite him to speak at their
university. This is a person who denied the Holocaust, a
person who has spoken about genocide, is seeking the
means to carry it out. And it is unacceptable to this
country to allow that individual to have control of
launching a nuclear weapon. And so we will take the
action necessary to keep that from happening ...
--MITT ROMNEY, 2007 REPUBLICAN PRIMARY DEBATE
How Charitable Interpretation Helps to
Identify Conclusions…
• When it’s unclear which proposition is the
main conclusion, try treating one as the
premise and the conclusion and then
reversing their roles.
• Usually, only one of these yields a plausible
argument.
Example, continued
• Two possible conclusions:
– Ahmadinejad is a rogue and buffoon (i.e. bad)
– The U.S. must prevent Ahmedinejad from having the
capability to launch nuclear weapons.
• The ‘Argument Test’
– Because Ahmedinejad is bad, the U.S. must prevent
him from having the capability to launch nuclear
weapons.
– Because the U.S. must prevent Ahmedinejad from
having the capabilityWEIRD
to launch nuclear weapons, he is
bad.
Step 2. Omit irrelevant information
• Relevant = necessary for a sound, noncircular
argument
• Irrelevant = unnecessary for a sound,
noncircular argument
How do we detect red herrings?
1. Identify the conclusion.
2. Examine each sentence, and
determine if it contributes
to a sound argument for the
conclusion.
3. If so, use it in the standard
form.
4. If not, omit it from the
standard form.
Is there a sound argument with 4 as its conclusion and 2
or 3 as its premises?
Is ‘speaking about genocide’ relevant to 1 or 4?
... We're also going to have to get serious about treating
Ahmadinejad [the President of Iran) like the rogue and
buffoon that he is. [And it was outrageous for the United
Nations to invite him to come to this country.][ It was
outrageous for Columbia to invite him to speak at their
university.] This is a person who denied the Holocaust, a
person who has spoken about genocide, is seeking the
means to carry it out. And it is unacceptable to this
country to allow that individual to have control of
launching a nuclear weapon. And so we will take the
action necessary to keep that from happening ...
--MITT ROMNEY, 2007 REPUBLICAN PRIMARY DEBATE
1
2
3
4
Step 2
• In normal passages, statements (or
equivalent statements) are often stated
repeatedly, either for emphasis or because it
helps to guide the reader.
• In standard form, a proposition needs to be
stated only once.
What’s redundant
here?
Example
These are issues that should be left [to the states].
Massachusetts, for example, has just made a decision-the Supreme Court at least has made a decision--that
embraces the notion of gay marriage. I think these are
decisions the states should have the power to make. And
the Defense of Marriage Act, as I understand it--you're
right, I wasn't there when it was passed--but as I
understand it, would have taken away that power. And I
think that's wrong--that power should not be taken away
from the states ....
JOHN EDWARDS, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE 2004
Step 2 Again:
Drop guarding & assuring terms
• If dropping these terms
results in a sound, noncircular
argument, then do so.
• Otherwise, keep these terms.
What are guarding & assuring terms?
1. Assuring terms indicate that there are further reasons
for a claim, though the author isn’t providing them
right now.
– Ex. “Experts agree…, ““Recent studies have shown…,” “I’m
certain that…” “I can assure you that…”
2. Guarding terms make a claim more modest so that it’s
less susceptible to criticism.
– Ex. Using “most,” “a few,” “some,” instead of “all.”
– Ex. Using “it is likely that p” or “it is possible that p” instead
of “p”
– Using “I have reason to believe that p” to “I believe that p”
to “I suspect that p” instead of “p.”
Step 3. Clarify Crucial Terms
• At this point in your analysis, you can put your
argument in standard form.
• The more precise a proposition, the more
valid, noncircular inferences you can make
with it.
– Ex. “He is over there.” vs. “Khalifa is in Twilight
201.”
• So clarify terms in the propositions so as to
render your arguments sound and noncircular.
Step 4: Dissect the remaining
propositions
• Wherever you have a sentence with multiple
clauses, break it apart.
– Also a good writing tactic—several shorter
sentences are easier to follow than one longer
sentence.
• This helps in criticizing the argument. You can
identify distinct ways in which the argument
can fail.
The Socialism Example
• Socialism is doomed to failure because it does not provide the
incentives that are needed for a prosperous economy.
• I don’t share Fogelin & Sinnott-Armstrong’s thoughts on this.
Here’s how I’d paraphrase it:
– If socialism is successful, then it results in a prosperous
economy.
– If socialism results in a prosperous economy, then it
provides adequate incentives.
–  If socialism is successful, then it provides adequate
incentives.
– Socialism does not provide adequate incentives.
–  Socialism is not successful.
Exercise I.1
• Philadelphia is rich in history, but it is not now
the capital of the United States, so the United
States Congress must meet somewhere else.
1. If the Congress meets, then it meets at the
current capital of the USA.
2. Philadelphia is not the current capital of the
USA.
3.  The Congress does not meet at Philadelphia.
I.3
• I know that my wife is at home, since I just
called her there and spoke to her. We talked
about our dinner plans.
1. If I just called my wife at home and spoke
with her, then I know that she is at home.
2. I just called my wife at home and spoke with
her.
3.  I know that my wife is at home.
I.4
• I'm not sure, but Joseph is probably Jewish.
Hence, he is a rabbi if he is a member of the
clergy.
• Joseph is probably Jewish.
• If someone is probably Jewish and a member
of the clergy, then he is a rabbi.
•  If Joseph is a member of the clergy, then he
is a rabbi.
I.5
• Some students could not concentrate on the
lecture, because they did not eat lunch
before class, although I did.
1. Some students did not eat lunch before class.
2. If one does not eat lunch before class, then
one cannot concentrate on the lecture.
3.  Some students could not concentrate on
the lecture.
I.7
• The Democrat is likely to win, since experts
agree that more women support him.
1. More women support the Democrat.
2. If more women support the Democrat, then
he is likely to win.
3.  The Democrat is likely to win.
III
1.
If Conoco’s leases convey a valid right to drill, then the BLM performed a
full environmental analysis and solicited sufficient public input before
issuing leases to Conoco that give it a right to drill.
2. The BLM did not perform a full environmental analysis before issuing
leases to Conoco that give it a right to drill.
3. The BLM did not solicit sufficient public input before issuing leases to
Conoco that give it a right to drill.
4.  Conoco leases do not convey a valid right to drill.
Argument for Premise 2
5. If the BLM did an abbreviated review and did not look at drilling on the
other federal leases, then it did not perform a full environmental
analysis.
6. The BLM did an abbreviated review and did not look at drilling on the
other federal leases.
2. The BLM did not perform a full environmental analysis before issuing
Conoco leases that give it a right to drill.
Diagram for III
5
1
6
2
4
3

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