Now that you have learned about inductive and deductive reasoning and logical fallacies, you will analyze an argument to determine the effectiveness of the writer’s reasoning and evidence. In evaluating an argument, think of yourself as a member of a jury who must weigh the evidence and come to a verdict. In doing so, you will consider not only the reasoning process and the presence or absence of logical fallacies, but also two other important elements of a sound argument: definition of terms and the willingness of the writer to acknowledge other points of view.
The “case” before you is this: “Should dogs be allowed in state and national parks?” You will hear from both sides and then make a “yea” or “nay” decision. The bases for both arguments are taken from Seth Trigg’s opinion, which is expressed in his blog titled “Should Dogs Be Allowed in Public Parks?” After you have completed a first reading of each argument, you will be prompted to return to each one to weigh the evidence in several ways.
Now, weigh the evidence in Argument 1. Starting with the second sentence, decide whether the text is (1) the writer’s perspective (opinion) and conclusion, (2) a reason for the writer's claim, (3) evidence used to back up the writer's reasons, or (4) acknowledgment of the opposing argument.
To identify reasons the writer offers in support of his claim, you might ask these questions:
To identify evidence that the writer offers to back up his reasons, you might ask the following:
To identify an opposing argument acknowledged by the writer, you might ask this question:
Now, return to Argument 1 above and identify the elements of the argument. Click on the second sentence to begin identifying these elements. Make your choices from the pull-down menu. When you are finished, read the second article. Then, weigh the evidence in Argument 2 by identifying the elements using these same instructions.
The verdict may never be in on the issue of allowing dogs in state and national parks, but Argument 1 includes more detailed evidence to support its premises, and it is free of logical fallacies.