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Argument Construction #3: Propositional Logic

Assignment

For this argument construction assignment, you will use your knowledge of propositional logic to generate arguments and test their validity.  It is extremely important that you read the instructions for each individual problem very, very carefully and that you do exactly what you are asked to do.  It is also extremely important that you show your work for each step of each problem.  You may type your responses to each question or you may handwrite your responses.  If you handwrite, print legibly. 

Be certain you 
SHOW YOUR WORK
 for each part of the problem.  

NOTE: A “ordinary language” argument uses actual words; a “symbolized argument” uses letters and operators.

Argument #1: CHOOSE EITHER OPTION A OR OPTION B
BUT NOT BOTH

OPTION A

The film Freaky Friday relies on us accepting a controversial idea: the essence of our personality (our “me-ness”) is nonphysical and, thus, is not bound by our physical bodies. “I” can exist in the body of someone else and see the world as “me” from the vantage point of this other person’s body. My “self” or “mind” or “spirit” can inhabit the body of another without my memories, my thoughts, my preferences….all the things that make me “me”….ceasing to exist. “I” remain intact even though “I” am no longer in my body with my brain. This belief is common to religions that hold that when we die, we continue to exist as ourselves in some manner—that is, that our “souls” are reincarnated into another body or go to some spiritual plane like heaven. The contrary belief is that we are nothing but physical bodies and that whatever qualities you have that you associate with your personality and sense of self are merely the byproducts of your physical brain. There is no nonphysical you. Moreover, since your personality exists only as a physical phenomenon, it is not impossible that someday we can do a complete map of your neural network, translate that map to computer code, upload that code to a computer, and allow you to experience your “you-ness” forever….although all of your experiences and relationships would be in a computer world. Until this technology exists, though, people will cease existing in any way once their physical bodies die.
1. Construct a VALID ordinary-language argument that

 a. Has the form Modus Ponens

            AND

 b. Answers the following question:
Do you exist only as a physical thing or is some aspect of the essence of your “self” nonphysical?

OPTION B

Consider ideas like “justice” and “fairness” and “morality” and “beauty”….and all the other abstract ideas. These terms don’t refer to anything that we can perceive with our senses—that is, I can see examples of people enacting justice; I can hear people make claims about what is moral and immoral; I can feel (or taste) a statue or hear a song that someone says is beautiful. But I can never perceive with my eyes, ears, nose, tongue, or fingers “justice” or “morality” itself because these things do not have physical properties that would allow my physical senses access. So this raises a question: are these things actually exist as anything other than individual and cultural creations? Can I say any of these things is “real” in the same way I can say dogs and cats and students and carrots are real?
1. Construct a VALID ordinary-language argument that

 a. Has the form Modus Ponens

            AND

 b. Answers the following question:
Are ideas like justice, fairness, morality, and beauty purely individual and cultural creations, or do they exist in some way independently of people and cultures?

For questions 2-4, refer to the argument you created for Option A or Option B above.

2. Arrange the argument on a single line and construct an

ORDINARY

truth table (i.e. using L=2n) for the argument (be sure to indicate which letters represent which statements that make up the ordinary-language argument).

 
3. Justify the soundness of the argument by explaining why you believe the premises are BOTH true. (this means that you explain why you think the premises of your argument are

TRUE

statements;

DO NOT

explain why the argument is valid or why the conclusion is true. Explain why you believe the premise is a true statement.)

3. To which premise(s) of the argument is someone most likely to object, and what are likely to be the objections to this premise(s)? In other words, which premise(s) do you think someone could legitimately claim is false?
 

Argument #2

1. Construct a VALID ordinary-language argument that
 a. Has the form Modus Tollens

AND

 b. Answers the following question: Has social media (like Facebook, Twitter, etc.) made life better?
 

2. Arrange the argument on a single line and construct an

INDIRECT

truth table (i.e. a one-line truth table) for the argument (be sure to indicate which letters represent which statements that make up the ordinary-language argument).  Indicate clearly where a contradiction occurs that proves the argument valid.
 

3. Justify the soundness of the argument by explaining why you believe the premises are BOTH true. (this means that you explain why you think the premises of your argument are

TRUE

statements;

DO NOT

explain why the argument is valid or why the conclusion is true. Explain why you believe the premise is a true statement).

4. To which premise(s) of the argument is someone most likely to object, and what are likely to be the objections to this premise(s)? In other words, which premise(s) do you think someone could legitimately claim is false?

Argument #3

1. Create a VALID ordinary-language argument that
 a. Has the form Modus Ponens (MP), Modus Tollens (MT), OR Pure Hypothetical Syllogism (HS)
 AND

b. Answers the following question:  Are you plugged into the Matrix? (If you haven’t seen the film The Matrix, you can answer this question instead: Are you dreaming or hallucinating right now?)
 

2. Identify the form of the argument you constructed in #1.

 
3. Arrange the argument on a single line and construct an

INDIRECT

truth table (i.e. a one-line truth table) for the argument (be sure to indicate which letters represent which statements that make up the ordinary-language argument).  Indicate clearly where a contradiction occurs that proves the argument valid.

 
4.  Justify the soundness of the argument by explaining why you believe the premises are BOTH true. (this means that you explain why you think the premises of your argument are

TRUE

statements;

DO NOT

explain why the argument is valid or why the conclusion is true. Explain why you believe the premise is a true statement). 

5. To which premise(s) of the argument is someone most likely to object, and what are likely to be the objections to this premise(s)? In other words, which premise(s) do you think someone could legitimately claim is false?

Argument #4

1. Create a VALID ordinary-language argument that
 a. Has the form modus ponens, modus tollens, disjunctive syllogism, or pure hypothetical syllogism.
 AND

b. Addresses an issue related to any ONE of the following topics:
      Politics
      Sports
      Music
      College
      Technology
      Philosophy
      (other topic of your choice)
 

2. Identify the form of the argument you created in #1.
3. What is the question your argument addresses? Think carefully here.
 

4. Arrange the argument on a single line and construct an

INDIRECT

truth table for the argument (be sure to indicate which letters represent which statements that make up the ordinary-language argument).  Indicate clearly where a contradiction occurs that proves the argument valid.
 

5.  Justify the soundness of the argument by explaining why you believe the premises are BOTH true. (this means that you explain why you think the premises of your argument are

TRUE

statements;

DO NOT

explain why the argument is valid or why the conclusion is true. Explain why you believe the premise is a true statement). 

6. To which premise(s) of the argument is someone most likely to object, and what are likely to be the objections to this premise(s)? In other words, which premise(s) do you think someone could legitimately claim is false? 

Argument #5

1. Create an INVALID ordinary-language argument with exactly two propositions that answers the following question: Is logic class the most superrific class ever?
 

2. Arrange the argument on a single line and construct an

ORDINARY

truth table (i.e. using L=2n) for the argument (be sure to indicate which letters represent which statements that make up the ordinary-language argument).
 

3. Identify the line of the truth table that shows the argument to be invalid.

 
4. Modify the FORM of the argument you created so that the argument is valid.
 

5. Arrange the modified argument on a single line and construct an

INDIRECT

truth table (i.e. a one-line truth table) for the argument (be sure to indicate which letters represent which statements that make up the ordinary-language argument).  Indicate clearly where a contradiction occurs that proves the argument valid.

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