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Raising and Responding to Objections. A Question. Why, you might ask, should you raise objections to your thesis? Shouldn’t you be in the business of defending your thesis, not criticizing it?. A Rhetorical Answer. The purpose of an argument is to persuade the reader

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a question
A Question
  • Why, you might ask, should you raise objections to your thesis?
  • Shouldn’t you be in the business of defending your thesis, not criticizing it?
a rhetorical answer
A Rhetorical Answer
  • The purpose of an argument is to persuade the reader
  • The reader knows there are objections to your position
  • It is up to you to respond to those objections
  • Hence you need to come up with the strongest objections and respond to them
a warning
A warning
  • Responding to a weak objection is known as a “straw man.”
  • A man made of straw is easy to push down, so is a weak argument.
raise a criticism
Raise a criticism

Argument

Criticism

P1 is false. Not all forms of speech deserve protection. Words that are likely to provoke violence should not protected, and lighting a flag is likely to provoke violence

A criticism must respond to a particular premise of an argument

  • P1: All political speech should be constitutionally protected
  • P2: Flag burning is a form of political speech
  • C: Flag burning should be constitutionally protected
respond to criticism
Respond to criticism
  • P1: If A then B
  • P2: Not B
  • C: Not A

P1: If you outlawed flag burning, you would have to outlaw a numerous of political activities

P2: But you don’t want to outlaw a variety of political activities

C: You should not outlaw flag burning

example flag burning
Example: Flag burning

THESIS

It should be illegal to burn the American flag

FORMAL ARGUMENT FOR OBJECTION TO THESIS

  • P1: All forms of speech are constitutionally protected
  • P2: Flag burning is a form of speech
  • C: Flag burning is constitutionally protected
example invading libya
Example: Invading Libya

THESIS: It was wrong to invade Libya

FORMAL ARGUMENT FOR OBJECTION TO THESIS:

P1: All times when a leader is killing his own people, the international community has a right to intervene with force

P2: Qaddafi was killing his own people

C: The international community had a right to intervene with force

response
RESPONSE

P1: All times a leader is killing his own people, the international community has a right to intervene with force

P2: Qaddafi was killing his own people

C: The international community had a right to intervene with force

  • CRITICISM

Premise 1 is not a reasonable premise to have as a foundation for international law. If it is followed, there are countless countries that could be invaded by countless other countries. Following this rule would lead to international chaos

response1
Response

Criticism

Response

P1: If we never respond to instances of a leader killing his own citizens, we would tolerate Hitler killing Jews

P2: We should not tolerate Hitler killing Jews

C: We need to respond to instances of a leader killing his own citizens

Premise 1 is not a reasonable premise to have as a foundation for international law. If it is followed, there are countless countries that could be invaded by countless other countries. Following this rule would lead to international chaos

three strategies for objection
THREE STRATEGIES FOR OBJECTION
  • If you have a factual statement (as in Real Life example 1) try cast doubt upon the truth of that statement.
  • If you have an “ALL A are B” statement (as in the Libya example) try to show there is at least one A that is not a B
  • If you have an “If…then” statement (as in Real Life example 2) try to show that the antecedent does not imply the consequent, that is that the “if” will not lead to the “then”
real life example 1
REAL LIFE EXAMPLE 1
  • THESIS: WE SHOULD PASS THE PROPOSED ASSAULT RIFLE BAN rifles
  • “Predictably, the National Rifle Association and other gun groups object furiously to the proposed ban on assault weapons. It’s impossible, they insist, to define semiautomatic military weapons in a way that does not jeopardize access to hunting rifles in common use. The argument strains credulity, as a new Federal study confirms. Semiautomatic assault rifles, the agency found, are easily distinguished from hunting rifles by their military configuration—pistol grips or folding stocks; design for use as automatics, ability to accept large magazines, bayonets and flash suppressors. Technical evaluations of such rifles, the federal researchers found, overwhelmingly recommend them for law enforcement or military combat.” (NEW YORK TIMES)
argument and response
Argument and Response
  • ARGUMENT AGAINST PASSING THE BAN ON ASSAULT RIFLES
  • P1: If It’s impossible to define semiautomatic military weapons in a way that does not jeopardize access to hunting rifles in common use, the proposed ban on assault rifles should be rejected
  • P2: It’s impossible, they insist, to define semiautomatic military weapons in a way that does not jeopardize access to hunting rifles in common use.
  • C: the proposed ban on assault rifles should be rejected
  • RESPONSE TO ARGUMENT
  • P2 is false.. Semiautomatic assault rifles, the agency found, are easily distinguished from hunting rifles by their military configuration—pistol grips or folding stocks; design for use as automatics’ ability to accept large magazines, bayonets and flash suppressors. Technical evaluations of such rifles, the federal researchers found, overwhelmingly recommend them for law enforcement or military combat
  • ANAYLSIS: The factual claim involved in P2 is false
real life example 2
REAL LIFE EXAMPLE 2
  • THESIS: WE SHOULD DELAY PROMPT MIILARY ACTION AND ALLOW TIME FOR SANCTIONS TO WORK
  • “Supporters of prompt military action argue that our offensive military capability will degrade if our huge force sits for months in the Saudi desert. This is why for several months I have suggested that we should institute a policy of unit rotation commencing with a quick reaction force such as the 82nd Airborne that might be needed on short notice elsewhere in the world. We should take full advantage of the coalition’s superiority in air and sea power while establishing the capability of deploying additional ground forces to the region quickly if needed.”
argument and response1
ARGUMENT AND RESPONSE
  • ARGUMENT AGAINST DELAYING PROMPT MILITARY ACTION
  • P1: If delay prompt military action, then our offensive military capability will degrade
  • P2: We don’t want our offensive military capability to degrade
  • C: We should not delay prompt military action
  • RESPONSE TO ARGUMENT
  • P1 is false. It is possible to delay military action and not have our capability degrade by instituting a policy of unit rotation in order to insure fresh troops
  • Logical Analysis: The antecedent of P1 can be true and the consequent false
one simple rule
ONE SIMPLE RULE
  • It easier to criticize an argument than to construct one.
  • You only need to criticize one premise of the argument you are objecting to undermine the whole argument
  • You need to defend all of the premises to make your own argument plausible
argumentative outline
ARGUMENTATIVE OUTLINE
  • Premise 1:
  • Defense of P1
  • a. Reason: A 2-3 sentence explanation of why you think this premise is true
  • b. Evidence: A brief explanation of what sources you are going to appeal to in order to prove the truth of your premise
  • c. Argument Type: causal/authority/example?
slide18

P2:

  • Defense of P2
  • a. Reason: A 2-3 sentence explanation of why you think this premise is true
  • b. Evidence: A brief explanation of what sources you are going to appeal to in order to prove the truth of your premise
  • c. Argument Type: causal/authority/example?
  • C:
slide19

Objection (including what premise is being objected to): A 2-3 sentence explanation of an objection to your premise 

  • Response: (provide the form of the argument you will use to respond)
  • P1:
  • P2:
  • C:
sample
SAMPLE
  • P1: If a racial group has educational disadvantages is competing for entrance to the top universities, then we should give that group preference when applying to these universities
  • DEFENSE:
  • Reason: John Rawls’ Principle of Justice. The just principles are those that would be chosen behind a “veil of ignorance” if no one knew where their place was in a society. Since we might all end up in educationally challenged circumstances, we would want to be given the appropriate remedy if our society provided us with an inadequate education
  • Evidence: John Rawls’ Theory of Justice
  • Type: Argument from Authority
slide21

P2: African-Americans are educationally disadvantaged when it comes to competing for entrance to the top universities

  • DEFENSE:
  • Reason: I will cite statistical evidence to demonstrate the poverty in which a significant number of African-Americans live and demonstrate how this poverty correlates to poor outcomes in education as well as inadequate resources spent
  • Evidence: Statistical reports from various organizations that study educational outcomes
  • Type: Argument from Authority
  • C: We should give preference to African-Americans in application for university admission
slide22

OBJECTION to P1: If we give preference to African-Americans we will invariably discriminate against the white student population, since this would imply that a white and an African-American who had equal grades and test scores, the African-American would be given admission

  • RESPONSE:
  • P1: All programs that give preference to all those who come from disadvantaged schools will not discriminate against whites
  • P2: Contemporary affirmative action programs give preference to all those who come from disadvantaged schools
  • C: Contemporary affirmative action programs do not discriminate against whites
work in groups of 3 5
Work in groups of 3-5
  • State your argument to the group. You may either read it out formally or simply give an informal account of it
  • Your group should come up with a list of objections to your argument
  • Write down the objections and ask your group to rank them from weakest to strongest
  • Pick the strongest one to respond to for your outline
slide24

State your objection

  • What premise does your objection criticize
  • Try to write out an argument using either a categorical syllogism, modus ponens or reductio ad absurdum where you respond to an objection to your argument
working in groups 2 provide the following information
Working in groups 2, provide the following information
  • 1. Argument: Provide the logical form of argument, including giving form
  • 2.Objection: State the objection/what premise the objection criticizes
  • 3.Response: Provide a logical outline of your response
1 provide your argument in logical form
1. Provide your argument in logical form
  • P1: All political speech should be constitutionally protected
  • P2: Flag burning is a form of political speech
  • C: Flag burning should be constitutionally protected
2 state the objection and what premise is criticized
2. State the objection and what premise is criticized
  • P1 is false. Not all forms of speech are protected. Words that are likely to provoke violence should not be protected, and lighting a flag is likely to provoke violence
  • Remember all objections must object to a particular premise of one of your arguments
provide a logical outline of response
Provide a logical outline of response
  • P1: If we outlaw flag burning, we would have to outlaw other political activities like protests which can also provoke violence
  • P2: we don’t want to outlaw protests
  • C: We don’t want to outlaw flag burning
  • If A then B
  • Not B
  • Not A
slide29

I. YOUR ARGUMENT

P1: All political speech should be constitutionally protected

P2: Flag burning is a form of political speech

C: Flag burning should be constitutionally protected

II. OBJECTION

P1 is false. Not all forms of speech should be protected. Words that are likely to provoke violence should not be protected, and lighting a flag is likely to provoke violence

  • III. RESPONSE
  • P1: If we outlaw flag burning, we would have to outlaw other political activities like protests which can also provoke violence
  • P2: we don’t want to outlaw protests
  • C: We don’t want to outlaw flag burning
  • [reductio ad absurdum]
a special case reduction ad absurdum
A Special Case:Reduction Ad Absurdum
  • REDUCE TO ABSURDITY
  • ACCEPTING THE OPPONENT’S POSITION WILL LEAD TO DISASTROUS, CRAZY AND UNACCEPTABLE (I.E., ABSURD) CONSEQUENCES
  • 。LOGICALFORM:MODUSTOLLENS
  • IFATHENB
  • NOTB
  • NOTA
slide31

P1: ALL THINGS THAT PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT SHOULD BE DONE BY THE GOVERNMENT

  • P2: BANNING THE NUMBER OF PRIVATE CARS WILL PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT
  • C; BANNING THE NUMBER OF PRIVATE CARS SHOULD BE DONE BY THE GOVERNMENT
  • ALL A ARE B/ X IS AN A/X IS A B
obection reductio
OBECTION (Reductio)

P1: IF YOU ALLOW THE GOVERNMENT TO LIMIT THE NUMBER OF PRIVATE CARS THAT PEOPLE BUY, WHERE WILL THIS END? WILL THEY LIMIT THE NUMBER OF TVS? COMPUTERS? TOOTHBRUSHES? UNDERWEAR?

P2: we don’t want the government to ban the number of underwear or toothbrushes

C: we should not allow government to limit number of private cars

If A then B

Not B

Not a

slide33

According to the university, speech codes should punish students who make “sexual or dirty jokes” that are “unwelcome.” Or disseminate “sexual rumors” (even if true) that are “unwelcome.” Or make “unwelcome” sexual invitations. Or engage in the “unwelcome” circulation or showing of “e-mails or Web sites of a sexual nature.” Or display or distribute “sexually explicit drawings, pictures, or written materials” that are “unwelcome.” UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, a specialist in First Amendment jurisprudence, notes that the proscriptions are “not limited to material that a reasonable person would find offensive.” … The code would mandate punishment for any individual’s “conduct of a sexual nature,” conduct “verbal, nonverbal or physical,” that is not objectively offensive to a normal person. This means any conduct “unwelcome” by anyone.Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, says a single hypersensitive person could declare herself sexually harassed because she considers “unwelcome” a classroom lecture on the novel “Lolita” or a campus performance of “The Vagina Monologues.” Do not even attempt a sex education class.

slide34

P1:If you adopt the proposed speech code, this could allow a lecture on the novel “Lolita” to be punished

  • Evidence
  • P2:[But that is absurd]
  • Evidence:
  • C: So we should not allow the speech code