Critical thinking (argument, premises, etc) problem solving

PAGE 1. Provide analyses and evaluations for the following arguments: Your analyses should identify the explicit premises and the conclusion of the argument. Your analyses should evaluate deductive validity, soundness, inductive strength or weakness as appropriate. In your evaluation you should offer an opinion on whether or not the premises support the conclusion and explain why you believe the premises support or fail to support the conclusion.

1) Alcohol and tobacco are addictive, harmful substances and they are legal. Marijuana is an addictive, harmful substance. So, Marijuana should be legal as well. (4 points)



2) Every border collie I ever had was friendly and loyal. Therefore, I am going to get another border collie. (4 points)



3) If you spank your child, he will learn to be violent himself. Then, he will get into fights in school and get bad grades. Then, he will wont finish school, and will be abusive to women. And before you know it, he will be in prison for assault, or divorced, or alone, dejected, and on the verge of suicide. So, dont spank your child.



4) CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) a (December 13, 2006) New research offers this warning to consumers shopping for top-notch hospitals: Many that are highly rated by government regulators have only marginally lower patient death rates.

The researchers evaluated 3,657 hospitals nationwide that are listed on a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Web site. The Hospital Compare site shows how hospitals stack up on recommended treatments and is designed to help consumers comparison shop for health care.

The study examined three conditions that often lead to hospitalization -heart attacks, heart failure and pneumonia -and found that death rates for patients with those diseases were only slightly lower at top-rated hospitals in 2004 than at the lowest-rated hospitals.

Hence, better ways of measuring performance are needed to help consumers make meaningful choices, the researchers said. Only then will performance measurement live up to expectations for improving health care quality.”

PAGE 2. Provide analyses of the following arguments. [NO EVALUATION IS REQUIRED]. In your analysis you should identify the explicit premises and conclusion of the argument. Then, identify one unstated assumption of the argument.


5) If God exists, then there would be no evil in the world. But, there is evil in the world. Therefore, God does not exist.

6) You should go back and get your college degree. You have been passed over for promotion now for three years and in each case the person who got the promotion had a degree that you did not have.


7) Donat try to lecture me on my college plans. We all know what you think about a womanas right to an abortion.

Page 3: Provide analyses and evaluations of the following fallacious arguments (This does not imply that the arguments in Part 1 are not fallacious. In this section the arguments present clear examples of certain kinds of fallacies that you should be able to identify from your study of fallacies in Diestler, Chapter 6.) Your analyses should identify the explicit premises and the conclusion of the argument. In your evaluations, explain why the arguments are fallacious and identify the kind of fallacy exemplified in the argument.

PAGE 4. The following article will appear on the real final exam Read it very carefully. Below you will be asked a series of questions about this article.

he Subprime Mortgage CrisisWill Fix Itself

From: 2007 by Steve Berger

Hardly a day goes by without someones proposing how to make the bad situation in subprime mortgage lending even worse. Legislators at all levels of government are contending for ownership of the most destructive idea. (One example of a thousand)

Finalists in this legislative race to the bottom include punitively stiff lending standards, foreclosure holidays and taxpayer-financed bailouts. I would like to propose a far simpler, fairer and effective course of action: let free people sort it out for themselves.

Let contractual arrangements remain in force, let good lenders prosper and bad ones suffer (similarly with borrowers) and let the taxpayers pockets go unpicked. Legislative interference with market processes is likely only to prolong and deepen the downturn.

Legislators presiding over the subprime crisis hearings should look in the mirror and pose a few hard questions before assigning all blame to Predatorylenders and mortgage brokers. Would we be talking about a Crisistoday if the Federal Reserve had not embarked on unprecedented monetary and credit expansion, in the process inflating a housing bubble of epic proportions similar to the late 90s Internet bubble? Isnt the entire housing edifice built on shaky foundations since Freddie and Fannie enjoy a protected lending status with all sorts of moral hazard implications? Wasnt it former Federal Reserve Chairman Greenspan who not long ago urged borrowers to shift to variable rate debt, most of which is now resetting at a perilously higher level? Is entrusting a solution to Washington putting a fox in charge of the chicken coop?

Regardless of where blame resides, the legislative options being considered are bad economics and ethically flawed. A bailout is nothing less than a wealth transfer to those who made ill-advised credit decisions from creditworthy, fiscally responsible taxpayers. A bailout postpones hard choices into the future and props up faulty credit. Individuals facing default or delinquency have less reason to curb spending habits or make other sacrifices. Lenders have less incentive at the margin to tighten credit standards if a bailout is imminent. Bailout logic is perverse, especially in light of growing evidence that a not-insignificant number of subprime defaults involve so-called Liars loans”, i.e., loans to borrowers who falsified information about their financial condition and income. Bailing out such borrowers is akin to rewarding them with a one-way free option on rising home prices.

Foreclosure holidays are equally flawed. Such laws in one fell swoop eviscerate contractual agreements and contravene the impairment of contracts clause of our Constitution. Unfortunately, that constitutional protection has been stripped of its teeth for generations.

Putting aside these legal quibbles, foreclosure holidays will lead to more foreclosures. Borrowers on the verge of delinquency will be less motivated to exercise fiscal discipline if they know that foreclosure rights are honored more in the breach than the observance. Lenders, less secure about their ability to take hold of collateral, will be less willing to lend, narrowing the refinancing options available for stretched borrowers. Ergo, foreclosure holidays will lead to more delinquencies and foreclosures just as banking holidays in the 1930s led to more bank runs.

What about adopting regulations that provide for uniform disclosure, loan-to-value ratios, rate caps, or otherwise stiffen lending standards? How can one cavil against such seemingly logical attempts to enhance disclosure and level the playing field? The problem with regulation is that it is impossible ex ante to determine whether its costs outweigh benefits. How can one abstractly agree on the right lending rate or disclosure standard? Any regulatory solution is one imposed from above by parties far removed from pricing risk on a daytoday basis.

A regulatory solution is a one size fits all mentality that consequently stifles the free markets innovation and creativity and in the process restricts competition by raising entry costs. Friedrich Hayek, 1974 Nobel Laureate in Economics, referred to this as the Pretense of knowledgesyndrome infecting central planners. More order and fairness comes out of the spontaneous interaction of thousands of voluntary free market transactions.

We are not asserting that the market is perfect; as long as men arent angels, perfecti