In this assignment, you will make two contrasting normative arguments about what one ought to do. Both arguments will be about the same topic, and so at least one of the arguments is likely to be something you don’t actually agree with. You will compose the arguments in standard form—that is, as a series of statements that end with your conclusion. Reminder: Do not write as an essay!
Part I. Select your topic and arguments.
a. Choose a topic from the following list:
● Should people eat meat?
● Should marijuana be legal?
● Should pet cats be kept indoors?
● Should zoos exist?
● Should customers leave a tip in a coffee shop?
● Should seat belt wearing be mandatory?
● Should children be required to take gym/PE classes?
● Should public roads be used for private car parking?
b. Write two logically contradictory normative conclusions for the topic. You do not need to agree with both (or either!) conclusions, but you should be able to logically support both of them.
The conclusions need not be phrased exactly the same as they are phrased in the topic list, but they do need to be logically contradictory to one another. For example, if you selected the topic “Should people eat meat?”, your conclusions might be:
● People should not eat meat.
● People should eat meat.
But it would also be acceptable to choose:
● People should reduce their meat consumption.
● People need not reduce their meat consumption.
c. These conclusions will be the final line of your argument. If you revise a conclusion after writing the argument, you should revise the conclusion here to match.
Conclusion #1: Enter your first conclusion here.
Conclusion #2: Enter your second conclusion here.
Part II. Write your arguments in standard form.
a. Standard form is a series of numbered statements. Each should be one sentence long. The final statement is the conclusion. You do not need to label statements as premises or conclusions; it is understood by the form of the argument that all statements are premises except the final one, which is always the conclusion.
b. There should be at least one normative statement (stating what people should do) and at least one descriptive statement (describing something to be true). Statements that predict outcomes or describe what people believe are not normative. A good way to determine if a statement is normative is looking for verb phrases like “should,” “ought,” or “have an obligation to.”
c. If any of your premises make factual statements that are not common knowledge and widely accepted, include a source supporting your reference. This can be an APA citation or just a link to a reputable website or publication. Here is a helpful resource for APA references.
d. Place an asterisk (*) by the normative premise(s) that support the conclusion.
e. Do not use your conclusion as a premise. This is the fallacy of “begging the question.”
f. There may be a subargument within your argument, a conclusion reached by premises that then becomes a conclusion that supports your premise. If there is a subargument, underline the subconclusion.
g. The conclusion should be the final statement in your argument (as given above) and begin with the word “therefore.” These should correspond to the conclusions from Part 1.
h. The complete argument (including conclusion) should be 5-7 statements.
Insert your first argument here.
Insert your second argument here.
Part III. Reflection
- Are your arguments deductive or inductive? Explain what the difference is between the two and why you see your argument as inductive or deductive. (2 sentences) Enter answer here.
- Identify either a deductive rule of inference or an inductive practice that helps support your conclusion. Explain what the rule or practice means and how it was used to reach your conclusion. (2-3 sentences) Enter answer here.
- What moral framework do you use to justify your normative conclusions (utilitarian, deontological, or virtue ethics)? Explain the meaning of the moral framework and how adopting that perspective leads to your conclusion. The two arguments do not need to follow the same moral theory. (4-6 sentences) Enter answer here.
- What assumptions are you making that may compromise your arguments? Use language from the tutorials that identify cognitive and unconscious biases. This should be about your experience, not a general response about potential biases. (4-6 sentences) Enter answer here.
- What opinion did you have when you began this assignment, and what challenges to critical thinking did you encounter when arguing for a conclusion you didn’t agree with? How did logic and critical thinking help you to think about your topic from two different angles? This should be about your personal experience, not a general response about the challenges of considering other points of view. (4-6 sentences) Enter answer here.
Refer to the checklist below throughout the Touchstone process. Do not submit your Touchstone until it meets these guidelines.
- Argument Preparation
❒ Is each argument in standard form, not paragraph form?
❒ Do your two arguments have logically contradictory conclusions?
❒ Is each argument at least five declarative sentences, ending in a conclusion?
❒ Does each argument have a normative conclusion (saying what people ought to do)?
❒ Is there at least one normative premise that supports each conclusion?
- Annotating Your Argument
❒ Did you place an asterisk (*) on the normative premise(s) that support your conclusion?
❒ Did you underline any subconclusions in your argument?
❒ Are there sources for any assertions that are fact-based and not well known/accepted?<
- Reflection Questions
❒ Did you answer all five of the reflection questions satisfactorily?
❒ Do your answers meet the length requirement and fully answer the question?
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