Determine what kind of inductive argument it is argument


For each of the 2 following arguments:

(a) Determine what kind of inductive argument it is (argument from authority, argument from analogy, or inductive generalization);

(b) Identify the major components of the argument;

(c) Evaluate the relative strength of the argument. You must write your own argument here in support of your evaluation. That argument should make direct reference to the various rules that govern strength and weakness for each of the types of inductive arguments (you can find this in the power point presentation on 'Strength and Cogency').

(Note: Remember that when evaluating inductive arguments formally you are not concerned with validity; rather the issue is one of "strength/weakness". Specifically, the question to be asked is: given the evidence, how plausible is the conclusion? Of course, the whole idea behind the specific forms and rules governing the different types of inductive arguments is to specify how to make the conclusion most probable. Also, remember that when evaluating inductive arguments you are going to have to write your own argument to support your evaluation. So, you must marshal your evidence as clearly and cogently as possible. The easiest way to do this is to use the specific rules that govern "strength/weakness" as the markers to structure your evidence.

When evaluating specific inductive arguments there are certain steps that should be followed:

  1. First, of course, you have to know what the argument is about -hence, you must be able to identify the conclusion of the argument.
  2. Second, you should identify the type of inductive argument.
  3. Third, you then evaluate it in terms of strength/weakness.)

1. Imagine that you have been kidnapped by a strange cellist lover's cult. The world famous cellist Yo Yo Ma is suffering from a horrible kidney disease. You are the only person in the world with kidneys that are a match with Ma. So, the cultists snatch you up and basically plug Yo Yo Ma's circulatory system into your kidneys, Yo Yo Ma has no idea that his is happening, he remains in a coma throughout this process. When you wake up, the doctor says to you: "I am sorry that this has happened to you. If we had known that you were an involuntary donor in these circumstances, we would never have hooked you up to Mr. Ma's circulatory system. However, if you remain hooked up to Mr. Ma then in about nine months he will regain his health, and there is no appreciable threat to your health. If you disconnect yourself, then Mr. Ma will die." Now, are you morally obliged to remain in the hospital for nine months? No. Since your being there is involuntary, then it is morally permissible for you to disconnect yourself from Yo Yo Ma, even though this means that he will die. This is exactly like aborting a pregnancy that was the result of a rape. Neither Yo Yo Ma nor the fetus is responsible for the position you are in, but neither are you since in both instances your participation was coerced. Hence, since it is morally permissible to unplug from Yo Yo Ma, it is permissible to have an abortion in the case of rape. (Adapted from JJ Thompson, "A Defense of Abortion.")

2. Manny wanted to know how many Americans disliked apricots. So, she stood in front of her house each day for about three months asking people whether or not they liked apricots. Since her house was on the route to the Metra station, she polled about 450 people per month, for a grand total of 1350 people. Of these people she found that about 400 people weren't sure whether or not they liked apricots, 220 people did not like apricots, 230 people did like apricots, and 500 people didn't even know what an apricot was. She concluded that many Americans don't know what an apricot is, and that of those that did more disliked apricots than liked them.


For each of the following: (a) determine whether or not there is an informal fallacy; (b) what type of fallacy it is (use your list); and (c) describe in what the fallacy exists. (If there is more than one fallacy, indicate all that might apply -however, remember that some answers will be clearly better than others.)

3. People who have a heart always give to charity. People without hearts are usually dead. Clarice has never given to charity, so she is probably dead.

4. If I believe that by not believing in God I will go to hell, then I have a good reason to believe in God. If I have a good reason to believe in God, then I have evidence for God's existence. Hence, if I believe that not believing in God will cause me to go to hell, then I have evidence for God's existence.

5. Do you want to sound like a moron?

6. If you want a life full of sexual pleasure, don't graduate from college. A study to be published next month in the American Demographics magazine shows that people with the most education have the least amount of sex.

7. Harold claims that we should eat meat. But Harold is a mean disgusting slob, so we can safely conclude that he doesn't know what he is talking about.

8. My professor has said that we should never cheat. But, he cheated on his exams in college -he admitted as much! Thus, cheating isn't wrong, the professor just doesn't want us to cheat.

9. Manny wants us to believe that we should legalize drugs. What would this mean? It would mean that anyone any where and at any time could legally buy and use any drug they wanted. We would have police on PCP, little children smoking pot, and pregnant mothers snorting cocaine. Would you want your life or property dependent upon a firefighter who had just dropped acid? Of course not. Hence, we should not legalize drugs.

I understand that there are many people who are unhappy with our current health benefits. Well, really is quite simple. If you don't like it, you don't need to have any health insurance. But, remember, accidents do happen.

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