Philosophy 252: Critical Thinking / Tutor-marked Assignment 1 1

Philosophy 252: Critical Thinking / Tutor-marked Assignment 1 1
Tutor-marked Assignment 1
Weight: This exercise is worth 15% of the final grade.
Due: After completing Unit 2 of Study Guide I
We suggest that you review Units 1 and 2 of Study Guide I, then complete this
assignment without using books or notes. Doing so will help you prepare for the final
examination. Once you have finished, feel free to go back to Units 1 and 2 to check any
points you are not sure of, then if you wish to revise your answers you may. Once you are
satisfied with your completed assignment, use the assignment drop box on the course
home page to submit it to your tutor for marking. It will be returned to you so that you
can see where your strengths and weaknesses lie.
Part A (30%)
Instructions: Determine whether the following passages contain arguments,
explanations, or descriptions. Explain and justify your answer with reference to the
meaning of each of these terms.
Example: The film Patch Adams was an illuminating portrayal of medical education
because it highlighted the importance of treating patients as people and not just as
the locations of disease.
Govier, Trudy. A Practical Study of Argument, 5th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2001, p. 43.
Answer: This passage contains an argument because the author is attempting to
convince the reader that Patch Adams is an illuminating portrayal of medical
education, on the basis of the premise that this film shows how important it is to
treat patients as persons, not as examples of diseases.
1. The Surprise Quiz that Never Happens
A logic teacher announces, “There will be a surprise quiz given during one of the next
three class-meetings.” . . . [A student in the class claims that] such a quiz is
impossible. Here’s the proof: Will the quiz be given during the third meeting of class?
If it were, then the quiz wouldn’t have taken place during either of the first two
classes. At the end of the second class, we’d know that the quiz must happen during
the third class, so we would be able to figure out the date of the quiz in advance. So a
quiz during the third class wouldn’t be a surprise. Therefore, the surprise quiz can’t
2 Philosophy 252: Critical Thinking / Tutor-marked Assignment 1
happen during the third class. So will it happen during the second? We already know
that it can’t happen during the third class. At the quizless end of the first class, we’d
be able to figure out that there must be a quiz during the second class. Thus a quiz
during the second class wouldn’t be a surprise. So it follows that the quiz couldn’t
take place during the second class either. The only remaining possibility is the first
class; but we know this, so that wouldn’t be a surprise either. It follows that a
surprise quiz is impossible.
Martin, Robert M., There Are Two Errors in the Title of This Book: A Sourcebook of
Philosophical Puzzles, Problems, and Paradoxes. Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press,
2002, p. 81.
2. A Heavenly Perfume
In Egypt, Persia, and Japan, orris powder was made from the dried root of the iris and
used prodigiously in the art of perfumery. Orris has an odor not of iris but of violets.
Until the recent development of chemical scents, most violet-perfumed products
were made from orris, it being cheaper to produce than violet extract. Orris also has
the ability to strengthen the odors of other perfumed substances and has been used
for centuries as a fixative in the manufacture of powders and perfumes.
Orris came to prominence in Europe during the excesses of the French court prior to
the Revolution. It was used to mask the unpleasant smells of stale body odor
prevalent in high society, since bathing was considered unhealthy. One story tells of
an argument between Louis XIV and his mistress Madame de Montespan that
concluded with the lady telling the king that, for all her faults, she didn’t smell as
badly as he.
Orris powder was employed to scent and preserve the odoriferous and often liceinfested
coiffures of the French aristocracy. Orris was mixed with flour to make a
stiffener, so that the hair could be molded into fanciful sculptures studded with
ribbons, pearls, beads, and artificial flowers.
Large quantities of Iris germanica var. florintina are grown in Mexico today for their
roots, which are shipped to France for use in the cosmetic industry.
Smith, Andrew. Strangers in the Garden: The Secret Lives of Our Favorite Flowers. Toronto:
McClelland and Stewart, 2004, p. 83.
3. Why does passing an electric current through the metal filament of a light bulb
produce light? The explanation is that the electrical energy makes the electrons in
some of the atoms of the filament metal jump outward to an orbit with a higher
Philosophy 252: Critical Thinking / Tutor-marked Assignment 1 3
energy level. This higher orbit is unstable, and after a while the electron will pop back
into its original orbit; when it does this, it emits energy in the form of light.
Martin, Robert M., There Are Two Errors in the Title of This Book: A Sourcebook of
Philosophical Puzzles, Problems and Paradoxes. Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press,
2002, p. 165.
4. I don’t understand why people object to using animals for medical research. First,
medical research leads to our understanding of disease and disease prevention. This
provides the foundation for the effective treatment of disease and the saving of lives.
Even though there is the possibility that animals may suffer, researchers are always
trying to minimize that suffering. If there was a choice between using animals in
medical research and saving human lives or not using animals and putting human
lives in jeopardy, which alternative do you think most people would support?
5. I’ve often wondered how they get the caramel into the Caramilk chocolate bars. At
first I thought they used large syringes to inject the bars with the caramel but that’s
silly. I did some research and found out that they simply use moulds. They pour the
top half of the chocolate into the moulds, once they are cool they fill them with
caramel and then pour the bottom half of the chocolate bar.
6. It is often said that natural peanut butter is a better option than processed peanut
butter for those looking to lose weight. But if you take a look at the calorie count for
1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter that contains only peanuts, compared to that
of processed peanut butter that has sugar added, this claim comes into doubt. Kraft
processed whipped peanut butter has 70 calories per tablespoon whereas Adams all
natural peanut butter has 100 calories per tablespoon. In terms of calorie
consumption, natural and processed peanut butter are not much different.
Part B (50%)
Instructions: Determine whether the following passages contain arguments. If so, analyze
and diagram all arguments contained in the passage by bracketing and labeling the
premises and conclusions in the passage and then diagramming them by using the circled
numbers, direction arrows and brackets as shown in Units 1 and 2 of Study Guide I. If
they are not arguments, determine whether the following passages contain explanations
and descriptions. Explain and justify your answer with reference to the meaning of each
of these terms.
4 Philosophy 252: Critical Thinking / Tutor-marked Assignment 1
1. Some argue that file sharing is actually good for artists, because it is in effect
promoting their work . . .
[However,] when recorded music is not paid for, there are clear and obvious
implications for those who create the music—songwriters, performers and the record
companies that make the actual sound recording. Consequently, since the rewards to
production of music has gone down, it would seem reasonable to conjecture that the
result will be less music, and less diversity of music, in the future. At a minimum, the
possibility of recording artists and songwriters earning a living from selling their music
is diminished. It is difficult to compete with “free”.
adapted from Hyatt, Doug, “Ethical Considerations of Reproduction Technologies in the
Music Industry.” Management Ethics, Fall 2006, pp. 1–2.
2. City Council should approve the proposed downtown arena, for several reasons. First,
the need for the arena is obvious. Once the evidence is examined it becomes clear
that the existing arena is inadequate. Moreover, it will revitalize the downtown and
create an opportunity of other business to benefit from the increase in traffic. The
question is whether or not the city can afford to build the arena. The problem is that
the arena costs will run about $450 million. The city can raise another $250 million in
a ticket tax and in property taxes for the new development over a 20 year period. The
developer is willing to contribute $100 million, so that leaves a shortfall of $100
million. But, $100 million in a city of our size isn’t really very much money and
wouldn’t take much to raise. I think that the city can afford the new arena.
3. Dreams are not to be likened to the unregulated sounds that rise from a musical
instrument struck by the blow of some external force instead of by a player’s hand,
they are not meaningless; they are not absurd. On the contrary, they are psychical
[mental] phenomena of complete validity-fulfillments of wishes.
Freud, Sigmund. The Interpretation of Dreams. New York, NY: Basic Books, 1969 [1899].
Quoted in Critical Thinking: The Art of Argument. Rainbolt, George and Sandra Dwyer,
Boston, MA: Wadsworth, 2012, p. 28.
4. When the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) launched the
Hubble Space Telescope in 1990, the general public and scientists in the aerospace
field both held high hopes. . . . But blurry images caused by a flawed mirror sent those
hopes crashing to Earth. The U.S. Congress demanded an explanation for the failure. .
. . Stress and health problems afflicted many NASA engineers. “It was traumatic,” says
the former director of NASA’s astrophysics division, Charles Pellerin, who oversaw the
launch of the Hubble. Nobody could see how to fix the problem.
Philosophy 252: Critical Thinking / Tutor-marked Assignment 1 5
Well, nobody except Pellerin. He not only had insight on how to solve the problem
but found the funding and resources to repair the telescope, for which he received
NASA’s Outstanding Leadership Medal. But his real reward came over the next
decade when the telescope provided spectacular images and important discoveries
about stars, galaxies and other cosmic phenomena.
What was the secret of Pellerin’s success? Dozens of other people at NASA had high
IQs and world-class technical knowledge—they were, after all, rocket scientists. So
what gave Pellerin the edge? What made him persist until the telescope was fixed
when others felt overwhelmed by the challenge? His mind perceived reality
differently. He reframed the situation as an unfinished project, not a failed one. He
never lost sight of the potential for a positive outcome—a space telescope that
worked. He saw how that positive future could happen as the result of technical
solutions—corrective optics-package repairs performed by a crew of astronauts—that
were possible with a rearrangement of funding and resources that already existed
within NASA. By reassessing the situation, recognizing the potential and envisioning
the repaired telescope, he was able to help orchestrate the unfolding of events that
changed the future.
Thatchenkery, Tojo, and Carol Metzker, “The secret to highly successful people.” Ode, Issue 34,
June 2006. www.odemagazine.com (accessed November 2006)
5. Some people think that the law should require that all political poll results be made
public. Otherwise, the possessors of poll results can use the information to their own
advantage. They can act on the information, release only selected parts of it, or time
the release for best effect. A candidate’s organization replies that they are paying for
the poll in order to gain information for their own use, not to amuse the public.
Moore, David S., Statistics, 5th ed. New York: W. H. Freeman, 2000, p. 123.
Part C (20%)
Instructions: Write one or two paragraphs (approximately 250 words) summarizing the
argument or arguments in the following passage, specifying the topic, the premises, and
the conclusion or conclusions. Be sure to use indicator words to identify the topic and
relationships between the premises and the conclusion or conclusions.
All food is organic. But for some reason people seem to think the “organic” label
applies only to food grown without fertilizers or pesticides. The Canadian consumer
has bought into the notion that “organic” foods are produced without harming the
6 Philosophy 252: Critical Thinking / Tutor-marked Assignment 1
environment. Anything with chemicals is out. That idea is even in children’s books.
One nature story I read to my daughter ended with the author urging children to “buy
organic produce” so the environment would be healthy for butterflies. That’s so
misguided. Farmers who refuse to use pesticides and fertilizers are not sin-free. Their
production methods harm the precious topsoil.
To grow crops without pesticides, farmers have to use intensive tillage to control
weeds and diseases. Tillage has a terrible effect on the land. It leaves the soil bare. It
creates and promotes soil erosion. Topsoil, rich in nutrients and organic matter, is
blown or washed off the fields into ditches and streams. It’s lost forever.
According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, soil erosion is
one of the greatest environmental threats in the world. Tillage is not benign. It is the
most destructive operation that can be done to soil.
Up until 15 years ago, I recall what would happen in dry, windy springs. . . . The entire
landscape seemed to be on the move. The air was so filled with dust we called it a
blackout. Driving could be dangerous. But spring dust storms are not so common
anymore. And they are smaller than they used to be. It’s because crops on about 40%
of the farmland in Saskatchewan are now seeded directly into last year’s stubble.
Only one tillage operation is needed to put the seed in the ground. The stubble
anchors the soil against wind and water. With minimal disturbance, the soil is
healthier now than it has been since the plow was first put to the land.
Conservation farmers do use commercial fertilizers and pesticides. But the fertilizers,
in combination with crop rotations that include nitrogen-fixing legumes, maintain and
enhance the soil’s fertility. Pesticides are applied judiciously, and at the
recommended rate.
Direct seeding is a better way to conserve our soil which is, after all, a non-renewable
resource. Direct seeding farmers are true stewards of the land. It’s important for
Canadians to recognize this and appreciate their conservation efforts.
Next time you visit the market and reach for produce labelled “organic,” remember
how it was produced. Is the loss of our topsoil really benefiting Mother Nature?
Polegi, Juanita. “Commentary,” in Reader’s Choice, 4th Canadian Edition, edited by Kim
Flachmann, et al. Toronto: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004, pp. 425–426. © Canadian
Broadcasting Corporation Courtesy of Canadian Broadcasting Corporation