Arguments from Sign and Tests for Arguments from Sign By: Jenna Floyd
Reasoning from Sign Definition: “…involves drawing conclusions about a state of affairs because of the presence of a physical sign.”
You call your friend and they don’t answer their phone. What could three possible reasons be why they didn’t answer? Why won’t they pick up?
Three Reasons They Didn’t Answer • They had the hairdryer on and couldn’t hear the phone ring. • They aren’t home. • They decided not to be friends with you anymore.
Important Notes about "Sign" **More information is always needed.** -Sometimes when drawing conclusions from sign, you don’t get all of the important facts from what you immediately see. -You have to investigate further.
What do you think happened here? SUSIE!!
What really happened The parents just walked in and saw Susie on the floor with a spilled glass of milk in front of her. In their eyes, she is the one that spilled the milk, and the cat is helping clean up. In actuality, the cat was the one to spill the milk and Susie just sat down to help clean it up. Bad cat!
CLOSED Dairy Queen Dilemma Did they really close it because of her, or was that only in her mind?
“Effect to Cause” This can also lead to reasoning from sign. Ex. Doctor’s look at your symptoms (effect of the virus) to find the cause (virus itself.) http://oregonstate.edu/dept/speech/classes/COMM114/C114%20Week%205%20Reasoning%20F04.htm
Other Examples Jimmy ran well during his race; this is a sign that he prepared well. The cookies were burnt; this is a sign that they were left in the oven too long.
"Tests for Arguments from Sign" Notes *You have to be sure whether or not the sign applies in all instances -Ask yourself: Can I draw more than one conclusion from this sign, or is it a sign only in these circumstances?
The fact that person B has a gun in her hand makes you assume that she is the criminal. What really happened: Person A was shot and the culprit fled, and someone walked in just as person B picked up the gun. (Why they were pointing it at them, we may never know.) So really, person B is not the culprit. As you can see, the sign isn’t always effective on its own.
Several conclusions drawn… One can draw several conclusions about what caused this fire: • A careless camper left their campfire behind and it set dry brush ablaze • It was a natural fire, caused by lightning • It could be a controlled burn
Monk In an episode of Monk, he was accused of shooting a man but he pleaded his innocence. He said he had not shot the man, but his gun said otherwise. The lab technicians found it had been fired. What had really happened was that the sheriff who “discovered” the murder actually shot the man, but switched his gun with Monk’s gun, making Monk look guilty.
The ACT testing scene is a good example of testing for sign. It appeared to the teacher that Lindsay Lohan was cheating off of the other girl, but in reality, the other girl had written a note on her test to make Lindsay look at her test. It appeared, however, that she was in fact cheating.
In conclusion… To reason from sign, one must draw conclusions from the presence of that physical sign. Remember, more information is always needed! To test that sign, see if it applies in all instances, and ask yourself if you can draw more than one conclusion from it.
Quiz: • Explain how to reason from a sign. (definition of reasoning from sign) • If the center of the cake is not done, this is a ____ that it was undercooked. • An ____ to ____ relationship can also be dealt with in reasoning from sign.