Students can readily recall and repeat this definition or variations on itbut are often initially unsure of how to apply it.
Monty Python can help with that! Hilarity and frustration ensue when it becomes evident that the two have very different conceptions of argumentation.
I ask them to pay close attention to any definitions or arguments they detect. It is also distinct from mere contradiction.
The essential dialogue illustrating this is as follows:. An argument is a connected series of statements to establish a definite proposition. After showing the clip, I ask students to answer the following multiple-choice question using audience response technology:.
After students vote, I break them into small groups of about three each with the following instructions: after briefly introducing yourself, try to convince your group-mates that your answer is correct. At that point, I have covered the new concepts of implicit premises and conclusions, how they are demanded by the principle of charity, and the process of regimenting an argument—that is, separating its premises and conclusion onto separate lines, listing the premises before ending with the conclusion.
I ask them to identify and regiment an argument in the sketch, supplying any needed implicit premises or conclusion. This task requires applying the abstract definitions concerning arguments to an example not artificially constructed to be unambiguous. This can be frustrating for some students who are uncomfortable with Monty python argument clinic idea that the application of logic requires interpretation.
But it demands that students consider how they might apply the concepts they have learned to examples they might encounter outside of the classroom. There are two common sorts of challenges that students face in this asment.
First, when the parts of an argument are interspersed in a dialogue, it can be harder to identify which statements are intended to support others and to disregard repetitions of statements expressing the same proposition. Second, students are often unsure about when charity demands adding an implicit premise; this often derives from uncertainty about when the meaning or content of an assertion needs to be made explicit.
Here is an example of a model answer, with two corresponding selections for each of P1 and P3, respectively:. Premises P3 and P4 are implicit. Some students find the following advice helpful: include as implicit premises any statements that a reader would need to follow the argument if they were knowledgeable of English grammar but had a minimal vocabulary.
But for more advanced or curious! What about for a clay statue and the mass of clay from which it is made? A similar move might be deployed against natural deduction systems: they perhaps model how we actually reason individually, but not together, not in dialogue. What advantages might accrue to one who reasons in dialogue? How might we model that through an extension of our system of natural deduction? These sorts of questions emphasize to students the purpose, limitations, and creative power of formal logical systems. Brighouse, Harry.
The argument sketch
Gary L. Hardcastle and George A. Reisch, 53— Peoria, IL: Open Court, Falzon, Christopher. New York: Routledge, Various transcripts of slightly different versions of the Argument Clinic can be found online. Accessed February 7, The Teaching and Learning video Series is deed to share pedagogical approaches to using humorous video clips for teaching philosophy. Humor, when used appropriately, has empirically been shown to correlate with higher retention rates. If you are interested in contributing to this series, please the Series Editor, William A.
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The argument clinic
The Argument Clinic. March 24, article Being an Ally Online. Syllabus Showcase. Seinfeld, Friends, and the Moral Permissibility of Lying. Graduate Student Reflection.
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Posts You May Enjoy. Rey Chow is an acclaimed critical theorist and cultural critic who holds the position of Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Diversity and Inclusiveness July 14, Go to mobile version. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says.