4. Argument Pattern Recognition Exercises (with answers)

Identify the following arguments as inductive or deductive, and identify the pattern each best fits. If it doesn’t seem to fit a pattern, maybe it isn’t actually an argument, maybe it’s something else!

If it’s an argument, see what you can say about how good it is, in either or both senses.

 

1. Eternity is simultaneously whole. But time has a before and an after. Therefore time and eternity are not the same thing. –Aquinas

 

 

2. When the Romans occupied England, coal was burned, Since coal produces quite a bit of soot and sulfur dioxide, there must have been days almost 2000 years ago when the air in the larger towns was badly polluted.

 

 

3. No e-mails are confidential, and all top-secret documents are confidential, so no e-mails are top secret.

 

 

4. The rainfall in Seattle has been over 15 inches per year for the last thirty years, so next year it will probably be over 15 inches too.

 

 

5. An animal forms things in accordance with the standard and need of the species to which it belongs, whilst man knows how to produce in accordance with the standard of every species, and knows how to apply everywhere the inherent standard to the object. Man therefore also forms things in accordance with the laws of beauty. (Marx, Estranged Labor)

 

6. Nietzsche discovered Schopenhauer by accident in October 1865, when he happened to pick up a copy of The World as Will and Representation in a bookstore in Leipzig. The work made an enormous impression on the 21-year-old Nietzsche. (Leiter, Nietzsche on Morality)

 

7. The human mind is not the same thing as the human brain. The human body, including the brain, is a material thing. The human mind is a spiritual thing. Nothing is both a material thing and a spiritual thing. (Campbell, Body and Mind)

 

8. President Nixon resigned because of the scandal associated with the Watergate break-in.

 

9. Although the bay upon whose shores Mexico now sits is a fairly choppy body of water, the archaeological discovery of certain plant and fish remains at the site indicates that, in the late Preclassic, Mexico lay on the shores of a calm lagoon. (Sabloff, The Cities of Ancient Mexico)

 

10. A camera operates alot like an eye. If you are to see anything in a darkened room, your pupils have to dilate first. So if you take a photo in a darkened room without a flash, the aperture opening of the lens has to be increased.

 

11. German philosophers whose names begin with “H” are impossible! Just try reading Hegel or Heidegger!

 

12. The Admissions Office must be in this building because of that sign.

 

13. There’s going to be a nuclear attack in the US this year because Pat Robertson says that God told him there would be.

 

14. The tip on this meal is $2.40 because the bill is $12, and a decent tip is 20%.

 

15. If Descartes’ use of the concept of “substance” is equivocal, then Spinoza’s right. But if Spinoza’s right, then the distinction between the mind and the body as separate substances is called into question. So if Descartes’ use of “substance” is equivocal, the mind-body distinction is open to doubt.

 

16. Either the thief came in with a key or there would be signs of forced entry. But there are no signs of forced entry, so he must have had a key.

 

17. Today we read Don Quixote with a bitter taste in our mouths, almost with a sense of torture, and so would seem very alien, very inscrutable to its author and his contemporaries–they read it with the best of all consciences as the most cheerful of books, they almost laughed themselves to death over it. (Nietzsche, Geneaology of Morality)

 

18. These men are far from free spirits, for they still believe in the truth! (ibid.)

 

19. The Dionysian is closely linked to carnival, in which the dominant order is mocked, with, for example, a beggar being crowned king for the day. Carnival is therefore both in one sense subversive of the established order, and a means of stabilizing it. (Bowie, Intro to German Philosophy)

 

20. At first glance, Meursault seems the opposite of the absurd hero. He does not appear to confront the absurd with lucidity. Rather, he appears indifferent to problems of importance, and contented with a banal daily routine.

 

Answers

 

1. Eternity is simultaneously whole. But time has a before and an after. Therefore time and eternity are not the same thing. –Aquinas

argument from definition

 

2. When the Romans occupied England, coal was burned, Since coal produces quite a bit of soot and sulfur dioxide, there must have been days almost 2000 years ago when the air in the larger towns was badly polluted.

Causal inference

 

3. No e-mails are confidential, and all top-secret documents are confidential, so no e-mails are top secret.

categorical syllogism

 

4. The rainfall in Seattle has been over 15 inches per year for the last thirty years, so next year it will probably be over 15 inches too.

 

prediction

 

5. An animal forms things in accordance with the standard and need of the species to which it belongs, whilst man knows how to produce in accordance with the standard of every species, and knows how to apply everywhere the inherent standard to the object. Man therefore also forms things in accordance with the laws of beauty. (Marx,Estranged Labor)

 This can become a categorical syllogism with a little massaging:

To apply the inherent standard to the production of an object is to produce in accordance with the laws of beauty.

Humans apply the inherent standard whenever and whatever they produce

therefore humans produce in accordance with the laws of beauty

 

6. Nietzsche discovered Schopenhauer by accident in October 1865, when he happened to pick up a copy of The World as Will and Representation in a bookstore in Leipzig. The work made an enormous impression on the 21-year-old Nietzsche. (Leiter, Nietzsche on Morality)

Report, not an argument

 

7. The human mind is not the same thing as the human brain. The human body, including the brain, is a material thing. The human mind is a spiritual thing. Nothing is both a material thing and a spiritual thing. (Campbell, Body and Mind)

categorical syllogism:

The brain is a material thing

The mind is a non-material thing

Therefore the mind is not the brain.

 

8. President Nixon resigned because of the scandal associated with the Watergate break-in.

explanation, not an argument. “explanation” is better than “report” for this.

 

 

9. Although the bay upon whose shores Mexico now sits is a fairly choppy body of water, the archaeological discovery of certain plant and fish remains at the site indicates that, in the late Preclassic, Mexico lay on the shores of a calm lagoon. (Sabloff, The Cities of Ancient Mexico)

Causal inference

 

 

10. A camera operates alot like an eye. If you are to see anything in a darkened room, your pupils have to dilate first. So if you take a photo in a darkened room without a flash, the aperture opening of the lens has to be increased.

 

Argument from Analogy

 

11. German philosophers whose names begin with “H” are impossible! Just try reading Hegel or Heidegger!

Generalization

 

12. The Admissions Office must be in this building because of that sign.

Argument from signs

 

 

13. There’s going to be a nuclear attack in the US this year because Pat Robertson says that God told him there would be.

Appeal to authority

 

 

14. The tip on this meal is $2.40 because the bill is $12, and a decent tip is 20%.

 

argument from mathematics

 

15. If Descartes’ use of the concept of “substance” is equivocal, then Spinoza’s right. But if Spinoza’s right, then the distinction between the mind and the body as separate substances is called into question. So if Descartes’ use of “substance” is equivocal, the mind-body distinction is open to doubt.

Hypothetical syllogism

 

 

16. Either the thief came in with a key or there would be signs of forced entry. But there are no signs of forced entry, so he must have had a key.

Disjunctive syllogism

 

 

17. Today we read Don Quixote with a bitter taste in our mouths, almost with a sense of torture, and so would seem very alien, very inscrutable to its author and his contemporaries–they read it with the best of all consciences as the most cheerful of books, they almost laughed themselves to death over it. (Nietzsche, Geneaology of Morality)

 

Cervantes & co would have thought it enormously funny

we find it disturbing

therefore they would find us very alien and difficult to understand

 

we could call it an argument from definition: by definition, they’d have found us weird.

 

 

18. These men are far from free spirits, for they still believe in the truth! (ibid.)

categorical syllogism with an unexpressed premise (and that’s called an “enthymeme”): unexpressed: “no one who believes in truth is a free spirit.”

 

 

19. The Dionysian is closely linked to carnival, in which the dominant order is mocked, with, for example, a beggar being crowned king for the day. Carnival is therefore both in one sense subversive of the established order, and a means of stabilizing it. (Bowie, Intro to German Philosophy)

 

Illustration –in the first sentence.

 

We can make it into a categorical syllogism. To connect that to the proposed conclusion , you need to supply a statement like:

Any established institution that mocks the dominant order is both stabilizing and subversive. Carnival is Dionysian. Therefore Carnival both stablizes and subverts.

 

 

20. At first glance, Meursault seems the opposite of the absurd hero. He does not appear to confront the absurd with lucidity. Rather, he appears indifferent to problems of importance, and contented with a banal daily routine.

We could make this into a categorical syllogism or a hypothetical one:

If you’re an absurd hero, you confront the absurd with lucidity. But Meursault does not, so he does not seem to be an absurd hero.

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