GCU COm362 week 1 Reading Exercise

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GCU COm362 week 1 Reading Exercise

Complete the exercises in the attached document, “Reading
Exercises.” These exercises are also in the textbook, refer to your text should
you have questions or need further examples.

Topic 1 Reading Exercises from:

Copi, Irving M. Introduction to Logic, 14th Edition.

Chapter 1


Identify the premises and conclusions in the following
passages. Some premises do support the conclusion; others do not. Note that
premises may support conclusions directly or indirectly and that even simple
passages may contain more than one argument.

Example Problem

A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of
a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be

—The Constitution of the United States, Amendment 2

Example Solution

Premise: A well-regulated militia is necessary for the
security of a free state.

Conclusion: The right of the people to keep and bear arms
shall not be infringed.


10. To boycott a business or a city [as a protest] is not an
act of violence, but it can cause economic harm to many people. The greater the
economic impact of a boycott, the more impressive the statement it makes. At
the same time, the economic consequences are likely to be shared by people who
are innocent of any wrongdoing, and who can ill afford the loss of income:
hotel workers, cab drivers, restaurateurs, and merchants. The boycott weapon
ought to be used sparingly, if for no other reason than the harm it can cause
such bystanders.

—Alan Wolfe, “The Risky Power of the Academic Boycott,” The
Chronicle of Higher Education, 17 March 2000

11. Ethnic cleansing was viewed not so long ago as a
legitimate tool of foreign policy. In the early part of the 20th century forced
population shifts were not uncommon; multicultural empires crumbled and
nationalism drove the formation of new, ethnically homogenous countries

—Belinda Cooper, “Trading Places,” The New York Times Book
Review, 17 September 2006

12. If a jury is sufficiently unhappy with the government’s
case or the government’s conduct, it can simply refuse to convict. This
possibility puts powerful pressure on the state to behave properly. For this
reason a jury is one of the most important protections of a democracy

—Robert Precht, “Japan, the Jury,” The New York Times, 1
December 2006

13. Without forests, orangutans cannot survive. They spend
more than 95 percent of their time in the trees, which, along with vines and
termites, provide more than 99 percent of their food. Their only habitat is
formed by the tropical rain forests of Borneo and Sumatra

—Birute Galdikas, “The Vanishing Man of the Forest,” The New
York Times, 6 January 2007

14. Omniscience and omnipotence are mutually incompatible.
If God is omniscient, he must already know how he is going to intervene to
change the course of history using his omnipotence. But that means he can’t
change his mind about his intervention, which means he is not omnipotent

—Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (New York: Houghton
Mifflin, 2006)

15. Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has; it never
comes to the aid of spiritual things, but more frequently than not struggles
against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God

—Martin Luther, Last Sermon in Wittenberg, 17 January 154


Some of the following passages contain explanations, some
contain arguments, and some may be interpreted as either an argument or an
explanation. What is your judgment about the chief function of each passage?
What would have to be the case for the passage in question to be an argument?
To be an explanation? Where you find an argument, identify its premises and
conclusion. Where you find an explanation, indicate what is being explained and
what the explanation is.

Example Problem

Humans have varying skin colors as a consequence of the
distance our ancestors lived from the Equator. It’s all about sun. Skin color
is what regulates our body’s reaction to the sun and its rays. Dark skin
evolved to protect the body from excessive sun rays. Light skin evolved when
people migrated away from the Equator and needed to make vitamin D in their
skin. To do that they had to lose pigment. Repeatedly over history, many people
moved dark to light and light to dark. That shows that color is not a permanent

—Nina Jablonski, “The Story of Skin,” The New York Times, 9
January 2007

Example Solution

This is essentially an explanation. What is being explained
is the fact that humans have varying skin colors. The explanation is that
different skin colors evolved as humans came to live at different distances
from the Equator and hence needed different degrees of protection from the rays
of the sun. One might interpret the passage as an argument whose conclusion is
that skin color is not a permanent trait of all humans. Under this
interpretation, all the propositions preceding the final sentence of the
passage serve as premises.


15.The Treasury Department’s failure to design and issue
paper currency that is readily distinguishable to blind and visually impaired
individuals violates Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, which provides that
no disabled person shall be “subjected to discrimination under any program or
activity conducted by any Executive agency.”

—Judge James Robertson, Federal District Court for the District
of Columbia, American Council of the Blind v. Sec. of the Treasury, No. 02-0864

16.Rightness [that is, acting so as to fulfill one’s duty]
never guarantees moral goodness. For an act may be the act which the agent
thinks to be his duty, and yet be done from an indifferent or bad motive, and
therefore be morally indifferent or bad

—Sir W. David Ross, Foundations of Ethics (Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 1939)

17.Man did not invent the circle or the square or
mathematics or the laws of physics. He discovered them. They are immutable and
eternal laws that could only have been created by a supreme mind: God. And
since we have the ability to make such discoveries, man’s mind must possess an
innate particle of the mind of God. To believe in God is not “beyond reason.”

—J. Lenzi, “Darwin’s God,” The New York Times Magazine, 18
March 2007

18.Many of the celebratory rituals [of Christmas], as well
as the timing of the holiday, have their origins outside of, and may predate,
the Christian commemoration of the birth of Jesus. Those traditions, at their
best, have much to do with celebrating human relationships and the enjoyment of
the goods that this life has to offer. As an atheist I have no hesitation in
embracing the holiday and joining with believers and nonbelievers alike to
celebrate what we have in common

—John Teehan, “A Holiday Season for Atheists, Too,” The New
York Times, 24 December 2006

19.All ethnic movements are two-edged swords. Beginning
benignly, and sometimes necessary to repair injured collective psyches, they
often end in tragedy, especially when they turn political, as illustrated by
German history

—Orlando Patterson, “A Meeting with Gerald Ford,” The New
York Times, 6 January 2007

20.That all who are happy, are equally happy, is not true. A
peasant and a philosopher may be equally satisfied, but not equally happy.
Happiness consists in the multiplicity of agreeable consciousness. A peasant
has not the capacity for having equal happiness with a philosopher

—Samuel Johnson, in Boswell’s Life of Johnson, 1766


For each of the argument descriptions provided below,
construct a deductive argument (on any subject of your choosing) having only
two premises.


1. A valid argument with one true premise, one false
premise, and a false conclusion

2. A valid argument with one true premise, one false
premise, and a true conclusion

3. An invalid argument with two true premises and a false

4. An invalid argument with two true premises and a true

5. A valid argument with two false premises and a true

6. An invalid argument with two false premises and a true

7. An invalid argument with one true premise, one false
premise, and a true conclusion

8. A valid argument with two true premises and a true

Chapter 2


Paraphrase each of the following passages, which may contain
more than one argument.


1. The [Detroit] Pistons did not lose because of the lack of
ability. They are an all-around better team. They lost because of the law of
averages. They will beat the [San Antonio] Spurs every two times out of three.
When you examine the NBA finals [of 2005], that is exactly how they lost the
seventh (last game) because that would have been three out of three. The Spurs
will beat the Pistons one out of three. It just so happens that, that one time
was the final game, because the Pistons had already won two in a row.

—Maurice Williams, “Law of Averages Worked Against Detroit
Pistons,” The Ann Arbor (Michigan) News, 8 July 2005

2. Hundreds of thousands of recent college graduates today
cannot express themselves with the written word. Why? Because universities have
shortchanged them, offering strange literary theories, Marxism, feminism,
deconstruction, and other oddities in the guise of writing courses.

—Stanley Ridgeley, “College Students Can’t Write?” National
Review Online, 19 February 2003

3. Racially diverse nations tend to have lower levels of
social support than homogenous ones. People don’t feel as bound together when
they are divided on ethnic lines and are less likely to embrace mutual support
programs. You can have diversity or a big welfare state. It’s hard to have

—David Brooks (presenting the views of Seymour Lipset), “The
American Way of Equality,” The New York Times, 14 January 2007

4. Orlando Patterson claims that “freedom is a natural part
of the human condition.” Nothing could be further from the truth. If it were
true, we could expect to find free societies spread throughout human history.
We do not. Instead what we find are every sort of tyrannical government from
time immemorial.

—John Taylor, “Can Freedom Be Exported?” The New York Times,
22 December 2006

5. The New York Times reported, on 30 May 2000, that some
scientists were seeking a way to signal back in time. A critical reader
responded thus:

It seems obvious to me that scientists in the future will
never find a way to signal back in time. If they were to do so, wouldn’t we
have heard from them by now?

—Ken Grunstra, “Reaching Back in Time,” The New York Times,
6 June 2000


A. Diagram each of the following passages, which may contain
more than one argument.

Example Problem

In a recent attack upon the evils of suburban sprawl, the
authors argue as follows:

The dominant characteristic of sprawl is that each component
of a community housing, shopping centers, office parks, and civic institutions—is
segregated, physically separated from the others, causing the residents of
suburbia to spend an inordinate amount of time and money moving from one place
to the next. And since nearly everyone drives alone, even a sparsely populated
area can generate the traffic of a much larger traditional town.14

Example Solution

The dominant
characteristic of sprawl is that each component of a community—housing,
shopping centers, office parks, and civic institutions—is segregated,
physically separated from the others, causing
the residents of suburbia to spend an inordinate amount of time and
money moving from one place to the next. And since nearly everyone drives alone, even a sparsely populated area can generate
the traffic of a much larger traditional town.


5. The distinguished economist J. K. Galbraith long fought
to expose and improve a society exhibiting “private opulence and public
squalor.” In his classic work, The Affluent Society (Boston: Houghton Mifflin,
1960), he argued as follows:

Vacuum cleaners to insure clean houses are praiseworthy and
essential in our standard of living. Street cleaners to insure clean streets
are an unfortunate expense. Partly as a result, our houses are generally clean
and our streets generally filthy.

6. Defending the adoption of the euro in place of the pound
as the monetary unit of the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Tony Blair said
this: “The argument is simple. We are part of Europe. It affects us directly
and deeply. Therefore we should exercise leadership in order to change Europe
in the direction we want.”

—Reported by Alan Cowell in the The New York Times, 9
December 2001

7. California’s “three strikes and you’re out” law was
enacted 10 years ago this month (March, 2004). Between 1994 and 2002,
California’s prison population grew by 34,724, while that of New York, a state
without a “three strikes” law, grew by 315. Yet during that time period New
York’s violent crime rate dropped 20 percent more than California’s. No better
example exists of how the drop in crime cannot be attributed to draconian laws
with catchy names.

—Vincent Schiraldi, “Punitive Crime Laws,” The New York
Times, 19 March 2004

8. No one means all he says, and yet very few say all they
mean, for words are slippery and thought is viscous.

—Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams (1907)

9. The first impression becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy:
we hear what we expect to hear. The interview is hopelessly biased in favor of
the nice.

—Malcom Gladwell, “The New-Boy Network,” The New Yorker, 29
May 2000

10. No government can ever guarantee that the small investor
has an equal chance of winning. It is beyond dishonest to pretend that rules
can be written to prevent future financial scandals. No set of regulations can
insure fairness and transparency in the [securities] markets.

—Lester Thurow, “Government Can’t Make the Market Fair,” The
New York Times, 23 July 2002


Each of the following famous passages, taken from classical
literature and philosophy, comprises a set of arguments whose complicated
interrelations are critical for the force of the whole. Construct for each the
diagram that you would find most helpful in analyzing the flow of argument in
that passage. More than one interpretation will be defensible.


1. A question arises:
whether it be better [for a prince] to be loved than feared or feared than
loved? One should wish to be both, but, because it is difficult to unite them
in one person, it is much safer to be feared than loved, when, of the two, one
must be dispensed with. Because this is to be asserted in general of men, that
they are ungrateful, fickle, false, cowards, covetous…. and that prince who,
relying entirely on their promises, has neglected other precautions, is ruined,
because friendships that are obtained by payments may indeed be earned but they
are not secured, and in time of need cannot be relied upon. Men have less
scruple in offending one who is beloved than one who is feared, for love is
preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is
broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a
dread of punishment which never fails.

—Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince, 1515

2. Democratic laws generally tend to promote the welfare of
the greatest possible number; for they emanate from the majority of the
citizens, who are subject to error, but who cannot have an interest opposed to
their own advantage. The laws of an aristocracy tend, on the contrary, to
concentrate wealth and power in the hands of the minority; because an
aristocracy, by its very nature, constitutes a minority. It may therefore be
asserted, as a general proposition, that the purpose of a democracy in its
legislation is more useful to humanity than that of an aristocracy.

—Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 183


The following problems require reasoning for their solution.
To prove that an answer is correct requires an argument (often containing
subsidiary arguments) whose premises are contained in the statement of the
problem—and whose final conclusion is the answer to it. If the answer is
correct, it is possible to construct a valid argument proving it. In working
these problems, readers are urged to concern themselves not merely with
discovering the answers but also with formulating arguments to prove that those
answers are correct.


2. Of three prisoners in a certain jail, one had normal
vision, the second had only one eye, and the third was totally blind. The
jailor told the prisoners that, from three white hats and two red hats, he
would select three and put them on the prisoners’ heads. None could see what
color hat he wore. The jailor offered freedom to the prisoner with normal
vision if he could tell what color hat he wore. To prevent a lucky guess, the
jailor threatened execution for any incorrect answer. The first prisoner could
not tell what hat he wore. Next the jailor made the same offer to the one-eyed
prisoner. The second prisoner could not tell what hat he wore either. The
jailor did not bother making the offer to the blind prisoner, but he agreed to
extend the same terms to that prisoner when he made the request. The blind
prisoner said:

I do not need to have my sight;

From what my friends with eyes have said,

I clearly see my hat is_!

How did he know?

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