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Self-Assessment Quiz

  1. What is an argument?

  2. Name at least three premise indicators and three conclusion indicators.

  3. Select the sentence that is not a statement:
    1. When I met you, you didn't know anything about logic.
    2. Read the story and write a complete review of it.
    3. Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation.
    4. The best pizza in town can be had at Luigi's.

  4. From the following list, select the conclusion that is supported by the premises in the following argument:
    When conservative Pat Buchanan last spoke on this campus, he was shouted down by several people in the audience who do not approve of his politics. He tried to continue but finally had to give up and walk away. That was unfortunate, but he's not the only one. This kind of treatment has also happened to other unpopular guest speakers. How easily the students at this university forget that free speech is guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. University regulations also support free speech for all students, faculty, and visitors and strictly forbid the harassment of speakers. And this country was founded on the idea that citizens have the right to freely express their views—even when those views are unpopular.
    1. Pat Buchanan is a fascist.
    2. We should never have guest speakers on campus.
    3. Campus speakers should be allowed to speak freely without being shouted down.
    4. Some guest speakers deserve to have the right of free speech and some don't.

  5. Indicate whether the following passage contains an argument. If it does, specify the conclusion. We live in an incredibly over-reactionary society where the mindless forces of victim demagoguery have unfortunately joined with the childworship industry. It is obviously tragic that a few twisted kids perpetuated such carnage there in Columbine. [Letter to the editor, Salon.com]

  6. Indicate whether the following passage contains an argument. If it does, specify the conclusion.
    "War doesn't solve problems; it creates them," said an Oct. 8 letter about Iraq. World War II solved problems called Nazi Germany and militaristic Japan and created alliances with the nations we crushed. . . The Persian Gulf war solved the problem of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The Civil War solved the problem of slavery. These wars created a better world. War, or the threat of it is the only way to defeat evil enemies who are a threat to us. There is no reasoning with them. There can be no peace with them . . . so it's either us or them. What creates true peace is victory. [Letter to the editor, New York Times]

  7. Indicate whether the following passage contains an argument. If so, specify the conclusion. Paul Krugman will always reach the same answer, namely that President Bush is wrong about everything. This time, he asserts that the federal government is "slashing domestic spending." Really? The president's budget request for 2003 would raise domestic spending 6 percent. Even setting aside spending that is related to homeland security, the president's request was for more than 2 percent growth, or nearly $7 billion in new dollars. In total, over the last five years, domestic spending will have skyrocketed by more than 40 percent. [Letter to the editor, New York Times] For questions 8–12, indicate which sentences or sentence fragments are likely to be conclusions and which are likely to be premises.

  8. Therefore, the Everglades will be destroyed within three years.

  9. Assuming that you will never reach Boston.

  10. This implies that you are not driving as safely as you should.

  11. Given all the hoopla surrounding the football team.

  12. It follows that sexual harassment should be a crime.

    For questions 13–15, write at least two premises for each of the numbered conclusions. You can make up the premises, but you must ensure that they support the conclusion.

  13. DNA evidence should be disallowed in cases of capital murder.

  14. Computers will never be able to converse with a human being well enough to be indistinguishable from humans.

  15. The great prophet Nostradamus (1503–1566) predicted the September 11 terrorist attacks.
    Read the following argument. Then in questions 16–20, supply the information requested. Each question asks you to identify by number all the sentences in the argument that fulfill a particular role—conclusion, premise, background information, example or illustration, or reiteration of a premise or the conclusion. Just write down the appropriate sentence numbers. [1] Is global warming a real threat? [2] Or is it hype propagated by treehugging, daft environmentalists? [3] The president apparently thinks that the idea of global climate change is bunk. [4] But recently his own administration gave the lie to his bunk theory. [5] His own administration issued a report on global warming called the U.S. Climate Action Report 2002. [6] It gave no support to the idea that global warming doesn't happen and we should all go back to sleep. [7] Instead, it asserted that global warming was definitely real and that it could have catastrophic consequences if ignored. [8] For example, global climate change could cause heat waves, extreme weather, and water shortages right here in the United States. [9] The report is also backed by many other reports, including a very influential one from the United Nations. [10] Yes, George, global warming is real. [11] It is as real as typhoons and ice storms.

  16. Conclusion.

  17. Premise or premises.

  18. Background information.

  19. Example or illustration.

  20. Repetition of conclusion or premise.


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