Evaluating Truth and Validity Exercise

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Evaluating Truth and Validity Exercise

The arguments I will choose to evaluate for truth and validity will be taken from the Applications list 12.2 (a.-y.) at the end of Ch. 12 in The Art of Thinking. I will start with exercise j and the premise that “power must be evil because it can corrupt people”. First of all, I would check the argument for any hidden premises making sure that it was stated fully and in a clear way. This argument seems to pass the first hurdle, however when it comes checking for errors affecting truth, the argument seems to not hold water. To start with, the part of the argument that says power corrupts all people (the all is inferred) is not true since there are many examples throughout history of people with power that were not corrupted. A more valid argument would be to state that “power may be evil because it can corrupt some people”. When it comes to step three in the evaluation process, checking the argument for validity errors and considering the reasoning that links conclusions to premises to determine whether your conclusion is legitimate or illegitimate, the argument fails on more than one point. Even with the revised statement, there are some questions that need answering, such as how corrupt do you have to become before you are considered “evil”? There are people who have done something corrupt, yet I would not consider them “evil”. Then there is the question of what you consider “evil” and what someone else may consider being perfectly acceptable or, more likely, what they consider to be unacceptable however, not “evil”. In the end, I have found that this argument is so flawed that the only thing to do is to throw it out and embrace a different argument. “Power used for evil purposes, evil being defined as any action that seeks to harm or enslave another without the due process of democratic law, can have evil results.…...

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