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Influencing By Argument. Part 2

(a) Are the antecedent conditions such as would make the allegation probable? (Character and opportunities of the accused, for example.)

(b) Are the signs that point to the inference either clear or numerous enough to warrant its acceptance as fact?

(c) Are the signs cumulative, and agreeable one with the other?

(d) Could the signs be made to point to a contrary conclusion?

5. Syllogisms

(a) Have any steps been omitted in the syllogisms? (Such as in a syllogism in (enthytneme.) If so, test any such by filling out the syllogisms.

(b) Have you been guilty of stating a conclusion that really does not follow? (A nan sequitur.)

(c) Can your syllogism be reduced to an absurdity? (Reductio ad absurdum.)

Questions And Exercises

1. Show why an unsupported assertion is not an argument.

2. Illustrate how an irrelevant fact may be made to seem to support an argument.

3. What inferences may justly be made from the following?

During the Boer War it was found that the average Englishman did not measure up to the standards of recruiting and the average soldier in the field manifested a low plane of vitality and endurance. Parliament, alarmed by the disastrous consequences, instituted an investigation. The commission appointed brought in a finding that alcoholic poisoning was the great cause of the national degeneracy. The investigations of the commission have been supplemented by investigations of scientific bodies and individual scientists, all arriving at the same conclusion. As a consequence, the British Government has placarded the streets of a hundred cities with billboards setting forth the destructive and degenerating nature of alcohol and appealing to the people in the name of the nation to desist from drinking alcoholic beverages. Under efforts directed by the Government the British Army is fast becoming an army of total abstainers.

The Governments of continental Europe followed the lead of the British Government. The French Government has placarded Prance with appeals to the people, attributing the decline of the birth rate and increase in the death rate to the widespread use of alcoholic beverages. The experience of the German Government has been the same. The German Emperor has clearly stated that leadership in war and in peace will be held by the nation that roots out alcohol. He has undertaken to eliminate even the drinking of beer, so far as possible, from the German Army and Navy. - Richmond Pearson Hobson, Before the U. S. Congress.

4. Since the burden of proof lies on him who attacks a position, or argues for a change in affairs, how would his opponent be likely to conduct his own part of a debate?

5. Define (a) syllogism; (b) rebuttal; (c) "begging the question;" (d) premise; (e) rejoinder; (f) surrejoinder; (g) dilemma; (h) induction; (i) deduction; (j) a priori; (k) a posteriori; (l) inference.

6. Criticise this reasoning:

Men ought not to smoke tobacco, because to do so is contrary to best medical opinion. My physician has expressly condemned the practise, and is a medical authority in this country.

7. Criticise this reasoning:

Men ought not to swear profanely, because it is wrong. It is wrong for the reason that it is contrary to the Moral Law, and it is contrary to the Moral Law because it is contrary to the Scriptures. It is contrary to the Scriptures because it is contrary to the will of God, and we know it is contrary to God's will because it is wrong.

8. Criticise this syllogism:

Major Premise: All men who have no cares are happy. Minor Premise: Slovenly men are careless. Conclusion: Therefore, slovenly men are happy.

9. Criticise the following major, or foundation, premises:

All is not gold that glitters.

All cold may be expelled by fire.

10. Criticise the following fallacy {nan sequitur):

Major Premise: All strong men admire strength.

Minor Premise: This man is not strong.

Conclusion: Therefore this man does not admire strength.

11. Criticise these statements:

Sleep is beneficial on account of its soporific qualities.

Fiske's histories are authentic because they contain accurate accounts of American history, and we know that they are true accounts for otherwise they would not be contained in these ' authentic works.

12. What do you understand from the terms "reasoning from effect to cause" and "from cause to effect?" Give examples.

13. What principle did Richmond Pearson Hobson employ in the following?

What is the police power of the States? The police power of the Federal Government or the State - any sovereign State - has been defined. Take the definition given by Blackstone, which is:

The due regulation and domestic order of the Kingdom, whereby the inhabitants of a State, like members of a well-governed family, are bound to conform their general behavior to the rules of propriety, of neighborhood and good manners, and to be decent, industrious, and inoffensive in their respective stations.

Would this amendment interfere with any State carrying on the promotion of its domestic order?

Or you can take the definition in another form, in which it is given by Mr. Tiedeman, when he says:

The object of government is to impose that degree of restraint upon human actions which is necessary to a uniform, reasonable enjoyment of private rights. The power of the government to impose this restraint is called the police power.

Judge Cooley says of the liquor traffic:

The business of manufacturing and selling liquor is one that affects the public interests in many ways and leads to many disorders. It has a tendency to increase pauperism and crime. It renders a large force of peace officers essential, and it adds to the expense of the courts and of nearly all branches of civil administration.

Justice Bradley, of the United States Supreme Court, says:


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