Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Final Blog Assignment

(1) Question: The question I chose deals with the nature of human behavior. Is human nature good or evil and what are the implications of the answer for ethics? In other words, does a natural tendency towards good mean that any human action can be considered good or does a natural tendency towards evil mean that any human action be considered bad?

(2) Conceptual Clarifications: Natural tendency is an important concept in this question that should be addressed. In this context, natural tendency is human nature. It is the predisposition of people to act in a certain way without any analytical thought process. Good and evil should be defined as well. Good is defined as acting in the interest of good or acting ethically. Evil is defined as acting with malevolence or acting morally incorrect. Implications can be defined as suggesting that something be naturally inferred or understood.

(3) Answer: Humans have a natural tendency to act in their own self-interest. I tend to agree with Thomas Hobbes with his assertion that people act out of self-preservation. There is no good or evil until we are discussing society (e.g. more than one person). With this assumption understood, humans are capable and willing depending on the circumstances to perform acts of good or evil. Labeling a person as inherently good or inherently evil would both be incorrect because these ideas have only arisen from our interactions with each other. If life consisted of one person all alone on earth acting out of self-preservation, how can the act be framed as good or evil? Labeling a person as inherently good or evil would seriously complicate our understanding of ethics because ethics is based on respect for persons and calling someone inherently good would allow them to be excused from their actions because they "meant well" whereas labeling someone as inherently evil would mean that no matter how a person acted they had an evil heart while they did it so their actions were disingenuous.

(4) Example: The best example I can give is one that demonstrates the duality of human nature. Take Jim Jones for example. Jim Jones started out as a young, charismatic, and well-liked preacher. People joined his church in flocks in the San Francisco area because he provided aid to the community and provided a safe haven for people to have as an extra resource on top of the stress in their lives. Everyone viewed him as a very good and benevolent man because he performed good acts for the community. Then he asked the congregation to move with him to Guyana to establish a "socialist paradise." Family members of the congregation became concerned over their well being so they asked a congressman to visit Jim Jones' settlement in Guyana. When Jim Jones feared that the congressman would report negatively on the well-being of the residents he ordered the congressman to be assassinated on his plane's tarmac, which he was. Then Jim Jones had his entire congregation drink poison and they all died in a mass suicide. This ending stands in stark contrast to the acts young Jim Jones performed. Calling him inherently good or inherently evil would both be incorrect. He performed good acts and evil acts for the sake of self-preservation. Although some of the evil acts contradicted the principle of self-preservation, he was at the very least acting out of self-interest. Once again, good and evil apply only once more than one person is involved.

(5) Word Count: 585 Words


Ruggiero. (2008). Thinking Critically About Ethical Issues. McGraw Hill.

"Implication". April 22, 2009 .

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Assignment #10

Ethical Decision Making Framework
NAME: Joshua Adams


(1) Choose one inquiry, from inquiries 1 - 28 (pages 114 - 117). Indicate which inquiry you chose, and then briefly explain it in your own words: I chose inquiry number five on page 114. A journalist named Nathan is from a patriotic family that never speaks ill of their country. In his career, Nathan has been a strong critic of his country and blames it for causing or perpetuating many of the world's problems. He even blames his country for the actions of other world leaders.
(2) Stakeholders: Name each person, group, organization, etc., that has a stake in this outcome. Nathan has a stake in the outcome because his job is on the line. Nathan's readers have a stake because they will probably base some of their thoughts and opinions on his writings and therefore depend on them to be truthful and objective. Nathan's family has a stake in the outcome because they want to preserve their reputation for being patriotic and non-critical of their country. The government has a stake in the outcome because Nathan's writings are causing people to distrust and even hate them.

(3) Are the details given sufficient? Why or why not? The details given are not quite sufficient because they don't really say whether or not Nathan is right. If Nathan is living in a horrible, oppressive country, he may very well be justified in his writings. Of course, if he were living in a country like that, the government would probably immediately put an end to his writings. The inquiry does not say where Nathan lives and it does not say if he is justified in his writings.

(4) What additional questions does this inquiry raise? Where does Nathan live? To what extent does his country cause or perpetuate problems in the world? Is Nathan justified in saying the behaviors of his country are responsible for the actions of other world leaders?


1. Obligations (aka "duties"): Optional this week
2. Moral Ideals (aka "virtues"): See breakdown of ideals below
3. Consequences (aka "outcomes" or "results"): Optional this week

NOTE: Not ALL of the following ideals will apply! Only consider the main ones that you believe apply, in the inquiry you chose. Don't just pick the easy ones to consider, because you didn't take the time to thoroughly read the chapter and learn what each one of these actually means. I will quiz you when we do group work on Thursday.

* Cardinal Ideal/Virtue of Prudence: This virtue applies because the journalist has an obligation to be truthful and objective with readers. In order to honor this obligation, a journalist must use practical wisdom to deliberate thoughtfully about whether his writing is appropriate or not.

* Cardinal Ideal/Virtue of Justice: Justice applies to this situation because it requires that the journalist be objective and give all parties their due, without bias. It requires that the journalist not "play favorites" with the parties in his writing.

* Cardinal Ideal/Virtue of Temperance:

* Cardinal Ideal/Virtue of Courage: This ideal applies because the journalist is brave enough to put his views on his country in the public forum even though the majority of people in his country openly disagree with him. If he is justified this virtue is even more apparent.

* Cardinal Ideal/Virtue of Loving Kindness:

* Cardinal Ideal/Virtue of Honesty: This virtue applies because the journalist holds great, influential power over his readers and he must not use this power to deceive or mislead his readers.

* Cardinal Ideal/Virtue of Compassion: This virtue applies because the journalist may feel a great empathy for the people he sees in the world that are being wronged by his nation's government. He may even vicariously feel their pain and therefore feel a great obligation to write about the wrongs that are befalling them.

* Cardinal Ideal/Virtue of Forgiveness:

* Cardinal Ideal/Virtue of Repentance:

* Cardinal Ideal/Virtue of Reparation:

* Cardinal Ideal/Virtue of Gratitude:

* Cardinal Ideal/Virtue of Beneficence:

* Conflicting ideals--consider the relative importance of each; determine which ideal represents the greater good (or the lesser evil). See pages 110-11 for clarification. The ideals I chose that apply don't disagree with each other to any large extent but if I had to choose which ideal represents the greatest good (or least evil) I would pick prudence because it wraps the ideals of justice, courage, honesty, and compassion all into one by requiring that the journalist thoughtfully consider the plight of all parties involved and truthfully place the blame on all parties that deserve it objectively.


Alternative #1: If the journalist is justified in claiming that his country is responsible for some of the world's major problems and has even caused world leaders to behave negatively, then he should continue to point out and make public his government's abuse of power.

Alternative #2: If the journalist is not justified in his accusations then he could apologize for his false accusations and place blame where blame is due and justify it with believable and truthful facts.

Alternative #3: The journalist could continue to lie to his readers if he is not justified; of course, this would violate all the ideals and obligations he is supposed to be upholding.


Examine the action taken or proposed and decide whether it achieves the greater good (the most widespread "respect for persons")...if it does not, choose one that will, from your alternatives. Where the choice of actions is such that no good can be achieved, choose the action that will result in the lesser evil.

This inquiry really requires an either/or response because it does not give enough detail to the reader to know whether or not the journalist is justified in his accusations. If the journalist is justified in his accusations of his country then he is obligated to honor the ideals of prudence, justice, honesty, courage, and compassion (p. 107-109) by objectively and honestly informing his readers of the atrocities his nation's government is committing. If he is not justified, the journalist needs to apologize for his lies and place impartial blame where blame is due and back it up with justifiable reasons. In this case the journalist's ideals agree with his obligations and he must therefore follow them in order to yield the greatest good for all stakeholders. This "great good" can be achieved by telling the truth to his readers in his writing.


1. In your own words, describe something new that you learned from this week’s assigned reading material and guidance. Insert answer here. This week I learned that when ideals and obligations come into conflict, an individual must choose which one to honor based on what will yield the greatest good or least evil for all stakeholders involved. This is basically using the Utilitarianism or ends-based approach that bases its decisions on results and seeks out the result with the greatest good.

2. In your own words, describe in detail some insight you gained, about the material, from one of your classmates' blogs this week. Name the blog, and insert answer here. I learned from the blog of DDavis that we are all faced with conflicting obligations and virtues in our lives but we have to honor the one that produces the most good or least evil. She made this clear in pointing out that the basketball coach should not have let the player play in order to teach the player a lesson and set a precedent for future player behavior.

3. Did you post a thoroughly completed post to your blog on time this week? Yes, I filled out all sections that applied to my inquiry and I did it on time.

4. Did you ALSO print this out, so you can bring it to class and earn total points? Yes, I printed my post out and I will be bringing it to class with me.

5. Of 25 points total, my efforts this week deserve: I believe I deserve 25 points for my efforts this week because I read chapter nine and applied specific virtues to my inquiry. Then I chose which ideal was most important and I reflected on the reasons why it was most important.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Blog Assignment #9


In this section, we're going to return for a moment to Chapter 7, to the section that discusses errors that are common in the analysis of moral issues (p. 89). Briefly explain each of the following errors in your own words, as if you were explaining the concept to a friend who had never taken this class (consider who, what, when, where, why, how, when); and then give an example of each one, preferably from your own past experience.

Unwarranted Assumptions: Unwarranted assumptions are when we presume to know something that is not actually stated in the details of a situation. We are making an unwarranted assumption when we believe something to be true that has not actually been proven. Suppose a doctor was going to pull the plug on a comatose, but otherwise living patient who was hooked up to life support. We wouldn't be able to judge the action without understanding more intimate details about the situation, such as the requests of the family or a do not resuscitate provision on the patient's chart. If the family agreed that the patient had no quality of life, or the person who was comatose asked to be taken off life support in a living will, then the action of the doctor couldn't be unethical. However, if the quality of life of the patient was questionable, or the family members with power of attorney carried ulterior motives, then the actions of the doctor would be unethical. Assuming either outcome without knowing the facts would be unwarranted.

Oversimplification: Oversimplification makes us blind to details of an issue because it makes generalizations that can often ignore important details. An example of oversimplification can be found in the issues surrounding abortion. Many people who oppose abortion ignore that our population would explode without it and many people who support it ignore the barbarism of late term abortions. Oversimplification is the equivalent of putting blinders on and having "tunnel vision." A few details become important and other details which can many times be just as important are ignored.

Hasty Conclusions: Hasty conclusions occur when we make judgments about a situation based on our own biases without clearly and objectively examining an issue. For instance, some claim that Barack Obama had knowledge of Rod Blagojevich trying to sell his senate seat to the highest bidder. Some people made hasty conclusions that Barack Obama had to have knowledge of this because he was such a big part of Illinois politics. Many of these people had an open conservative bias and this probably shrouded their view of what was going on. More details would be needed to accurately draw that conclusion.


Briefly answer the following "chapter opening" questions, in your own words, based on what you learned by studying chapter eight:

1. What do we do in situations where there is more than a single obligation? In situations where there is more than a single obligation we must try to find a middle ground and give preference to both in a compromise. When this can't be done and we can only choose to honor one obligation and break the others, we must give preference to the obligation that carries more importance. For instance, when a trucking company is screening drivers and finds that some have DUIs on their record but it occurred a long time ago, they must choose between the liability of losing their load and truck on a bad driver and the welfare of the driver. In this case, the potential losses associated with someone with a recorded history of negligent driving would have to outweigh the welfare of the driver because the loss of the truck and load affect many more people than the driver alone. Therefore, the driver is not hired because of the company's obligation to promote safety on the highways and get loads safely to their customers.

2. How can we reconcile conflicting obligations? In order to reconcile conflicting obligations we must consider the relative importance of each and give preference to the more important one. For instance, a psychiatrist has an obligation to preserve a patient's privacy. However, if a patient tells the psychiatrist that they are planning to harm other people then the psychiatrist is ethically obliged to inform the authorities so as to prevent something bad from happening. In this case, preference was given to the more important obligation of the psychiatrist to prevent unlawful things from being committed by the patient.


1. In a nutshell, what is the most important thing, for you, that you learned from this assignment? The most important thing I learned from this assignment was the importance of carefully weighing each detail of a situation before making a judgment. There are so many fallacies associated with making an ethical analysis such as oversimplification, hasty conclusions, and unwarranted assumptions. I learned to try and compromise and honor multiple obligations when it is possible. When it is not possible, I learned to honor the obligation that carries the most importance.

2. How will you apply what you learned through this assignment to your everyday life? In my everyday life I will try to avoid jumping to hasty conclusions as I often do. It is all too easy to jump to conclusions based on my biases and I will make a conscious effort to stop doing that in the future. Also, I will try to avoid the other problems the book talked about such as oversimplification and unwarranted assumptions.

3. What grade do you believe your efforts regarding this assignment deserve? Justify your answer. I believe I deserve full credit for this assignment because I answered all the questions fully in paragraph form and gave an example in each answer. I used specific rationale directly from the book which proves I read the chapter.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Blog Assignment #6


QUESTION #1: If an action that is praised in one culture may be condemned in another, would it be correct to say that all moral values are relative to the culture they are found in?

ANSWER 1A: It would not be correct to say that all moral values are universally relative to the culture they are found in because there are many cultures that share similar values. For instance, modern American culture condemns premeditated murder and so do all modern European cultures. Similarly, many modern Far East cultures also hold similar views. Saying all moral values are relative to the culture they are found in is too much of a generalization. Chapter five in the Ruggiero text has a passage written by a Buddhist about his value system. The book then goes on to explain the similarity of values amongst different religions. For example, Catholics, Methodists, Mormons, Amish, Muslims, Taoists, agnostics, and atheists can all agree that having good manners, kind speech, and an uplifted spirit is a good thing. This proves that people from one culture are able to relate to people from other cultures on the basis of certain moral values.


P: All humans are similar in that they all have the same basic physiological, psychological, and intellectual equipment which they use to receive data from their senses and formulate a value system.

P:Similar moral values can be found in many cultures.


C: Therefore, it is NOT correct to say that all moral values are relative to the culture they are found in.

QUESTION #2: Isn’t it a mark of ignorance to pass judgments on other cultures or to claim that one culture is better than another?

ANSWER 2A: It is not a mark of ignorance to pass judgments on other cultures because not passing judgment on other cultures affirms moral relativism. Extreme moral relativism states that it is incorrect to judge other people's actions because they are following their own value system. This kind of logic would promote anarchy which is clearly incorrect. Sometimes, in order to affirm the correctness of a culture's value system, one must necessarily reject the value system of other cultures as the book affirms with its abortion example. Therefore, a philosopher must necessarily pass judgment on the values of other cultures in order to determine the correct values.


P:To hold a belief is to reject ideas in opposition to that belief.

P:One must necessarily pass judgment on other cultures to affirm the correct value system.


C: Therefore, it is NOT a mark of ignorance to pass judgments on other cultures.


See page 63 in our text. Choose one inquiry, from inquiries 3 – 11. Briefly describe the inquiry as the first part of your answer, so your readers know which one you chose. Discuss whether or not the action / decision in each case is ethical. And then, put your argument in equation form. Try to include an ethical principle as one of your premises, as modeled below...

I chose question four which asks if the genocide committed by Joseph Stalin resulting in the deaths of 30 million people was morally acceptable because it took place in a different culture at a different time. Genocide is the unjustified murder of many people based on race, religion, or culture, etc. This act is recognized by many cultures as wrong, therefore it is not relative to only one culture and judgment may be passed on it as a heinous act.

Argument #1

Arguable Issue:
Whether or not the genocide committed by Joseph Stalin is morally acceptable.

P: Genocide is always wrong. (moral principle, based on valuing human life).

P: Affirming genocide as correct would justify almost any act of murder.

C: Therefore, the genocide committed by Joseph Stalin is NOT morally acceptable.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Blog Assignment #5

2) Source:

3)This video is really long so I will summarize it briefly. Basically, the two men in the video are veterans of the Israeli Defense Force. In Israel, most young men and women are required to serve in the military for a least a couple years. The two veterans in the video have chosen to speak out about things they had to do while serving in the IDF that have caused them unrest. They served in the IDF during an event called the second intifada, which was a military operation against the Palestinians resulting in thousands of casualties to the Palestinians and nearly one-thousand casualties for Israel.

This video relates to our text because it talks specifically about the role of conscience in ethical decision making. There is a part in the video where the testimony of an IDF special forces officer is given. The operation described by the officer occurred during the summer of 2004 in Israel. No rules of engagement were given to the IDF soldiers and they demolished houses at their own discretion. The IDF used huge bulldozers to dig large ditches in a circle around a target house. Then the bulldozer would pull up to the house and knock a hole in the wall. After that, an armored personnel carrier would pull up to the hole and drop its ramp, allowing the IDF soldiers inside to storm the house. Many of the targeted houses had nothing to do with the fighting, they were just in the way of the army.

A large part of chapter 4 in our book was devoted to the difference in the level of conscience between people. It broke this difference down into three aspects: natural endowment, social conditioning, and moral choice. Members of the IDF are forced into service and regardless of their predisposition to act with a good conscience, they are socially conditioned to believe that it is patriotic and honorable to serve in the military. This may be true, but what most soldiers aren't ready for are the ethical dilemmas they will face. For instance, some of the IDF commanders issuing orders to demolish houses were as young as 21 years old. These men are making decisions that permanently affect people's lives. Knocking someone's house down just because it was in the way made the men in the video feel shame, a concept our book talks about. The men felt shame because they believed it was wrong and dishonorable to treat innocent people as enemy soldiers would be treated. Even though soldiers had the ability to make a moral choice, their social conditioning caused them to be careless with their power. Essentially, all Palestinians became the enemy instead of just the aggresive ones. The way to reconcile this dilemma according to the book is to follow our conscience, but not blindly. In other words, soldiers should make greater effort to spare the innocent and punish the guilty.

4) Arguable issue: Whether or not this post deserves 25 points.

Conclusion: This post deserves 25 points.

Premises: This post deserves 25 points because...

1) It presents a video that relates to the role of conscience in ethical decision making.

2) It explains the relevance of the video to the chapter in our text book, and

3) It points out specific examples from the textbook and ties them in with the video.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Blog Assignment #4

Last names beginning with A - G: Moral Relativism

1. Paragraph: Explain in your own words what Moral Relativism is—what do people who hold this view believe? Moral relativism is the view that there is no objective and impartial moral truth. In other words, there is no correct morality that applies to all people in all cultures. A moral relativist holds that a moral value is relative to the society it comes from and does not necessarily apply to another society. Therefore, extreme moral relativists can argue that there is no room to criticize anybody's value system because there is no universal morality, only a set of values that are acceptable to the individual.
2. Paragraph & Link: Find one online resources related to this topic—not Wikipedia. Explain in a brief paragraph what you learned about this topic through the resource you found; include the link at the end of your paragraph.
The argument for moral relativism dates back as far as classical Greek times. The twentieth century witnessed a large growth in studies conducted by anthropologists in order to try and resolve some of the large differences between Western and non-Western cultures. This produced branches in the school of thought known as moral relativism. In particular, these branches are called descriptive moral relativism (DMR) and metaethical moral relativism (MMR). Descriptive moral relativism deals in matter-of-fact arguments as it points out the fact that there are very large differences between cultures when it comes to morality. Metaethical moral relativism goes a step further by actually asserting that there is no absolute justification for any moral judgment but the justification is relative to the society in which it exists. source:
3. Argument: Compose a short argument, in “argument elements” form. I’ll provide the arguable issue; you provide the rest. Make sure each of your premises is a complete sentence, and that your argument doesn’t break any of the rules listed in the first chapter of the Rulebook for Arguments:

Arguable Issue: The arguable issue is whether or not Moral Relativism is a good view to hold.
Conclusion:Moral Relativism is not a good view to hold.
Premises: Moral Relativism is not a good view to hold because:
(1)It denies a universal and objective set of moral values.
(2)It empowers moral diversity.
(3)It provides a justification for people to behave any way they see fit.

The Role of the Majority View

1. Paragraph: Explain in your own words what a Majority View is. Cite your sources.
A majority view is when 51 percent or more of a group of people agree on a certain issue. A closer examination of any majority view will reveal a cross-section of differing individual views on the issue at hand. Some individuals will be very well informed on the issue, some will be completely uninformed on the issue and unaware of their ignorance, while most will be somewhere in between knowledge and ignorance. In this way it can be argued that a majority view isn't necessarily correct. Two examples given by the Ruggiero text are women's right to vote and slavery. At the time when women could not vote and slavery was used in America, it was the majority view that this was the way it should be. These are clear cut examples that just because the majority says it is okay does not necessarily make it correct.
2. Argument: Compose a short argument, in “argument elements” form. I’ll provide the arguable issue; you provide the rest. Make sure each of your premises is a complete sentence, and that your argument doesn’t break any of the rules listed in the first chapter of the Rulebook for Arguments:

Arguable Issue: The arguable issue is whether or not the Majority View is a reliable basis for ethical decision-making.
The Majority View is not a reliable basis for ethical decision-making.
The Majority View is not a reliable basis for ethical decision-making because:
It draws its basis of justification from the decisions of others instead of examining the issues.
The majority view has been wrong before. (e.g. slavery)
It promotes groupthink, which is defined by as the practice of approaching problems or issues as matters that are best dealt with by consensus of a group rather than by individuals acting independently;conformity.

The Role of Feelings

1. Paragraph: Explain in your own words what feelings are. Cite your sources.
Feelings are our inclination to respond a certain way towards things or ideas in our minds or environment. Our feelings can be very highly influenced by a slew of psychological factors including past experiences, our disposition, and our mental health. The Ruggiero text emphasizes Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Carl Rogers as early pioneers of using feelings to guide decision making. These men basically assert that what feels right must be right and what feels wrong must be wrong. The Ruggiero text notes that morality by feelings completely ignores other people's feelings which is a large flaw.
2. Argument: Compose a short argument, in “argument elements” form. I’ll provide the arguable issue; you provide the rest. Make sure each of your premises is a complete sentence, and that your argument doesn’t break any of the rules listed in the first chapter of the Rulebook for Arguments:

Arguable Issue: The arguable issue is whether or not our feelings are a reliable basis for ethical decision-making.
Our feelings are not a reliable basis for ethical decision-making.
Our feelings are not a reliable basis for ethical decision-making because:
"Morality by feelings completely ignores other people's feelings."
Each person has the potential to commit good or bad acts based on emotion.
There will be inevitable conflicts between the feelings of one person and those of another.

The ability to express yourself in your own words is essential in this class. Did you put everything in your own words this time?
I used my own words for many of my answers, however, I also used ideas found in chapters two and three of the Ruggiero text and the Stanford University web page on moral relativism. Also, I used for the definition of groupthink. I gave credit to the Ruggiero text where it was due.

What was easiest / hardest about this assignment?
The easy part was explaining the meanings of moral relativism, the majority view, and feelings in my own words. The hardest part was definitely constructing the short arguments. I say this because there are many rules that must be followed to construct a logically sound argument. Sometimes it was hard to come up with three clearly related premises to support my conclusions. I feel I am getting better at it though.

How will you apply what you learned through this assignment to your everyday life?
In the future I will definitely be more aware of moral relativism in practice when I see it. Also, it will be easier for me to discern when a majority of people is making an incorrect decision and this will allow me to make the right decision regardless of other people's opinions.

How well do you think you did on this assignment? Explain.
I feel as though I did good on this assignment because I read the assigned texts and fully explained out the meanings of the terms. Also, I did my best to construct logically sound arguments and I feel I am getting better at doing that.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Blog Assignment #3

1. Explain what “to give an argument” means in this book. "To give an argument," is specifically defined by the book as offering a set of reasons or evidence in support of a conclusion. The book instructs us to go beyond simply stating one's position on a matter but to actually present logically flowing evidence that supports that position. The book tells us to learn how to use argument giving for inquiry. This means that we should examine an issue and present several conclusions then examine those conclusions to determine which is the best. We do this by examining the premise(s) upon which the conclusions were founded. A premise is a logical reason in support of a conclusion. Therefore, giving an argument means to examine an issue, present a conclusion, and support it with a good set of premises.

2. What are the reasons Weston gives in support of his claim, “arguments are essential”? The first reason Weston gives in support of the claim, "arguments are essential" is that argument is a way of trying to find out which views are best. Unless we constantly question views by use of arguments, we have no way of knowing which views are better and more logical than others. Many issues in our society don't have clear cut answers and we have to use arguments to dig deeper into the basis of these issues and try to understand the chain of logic that makes people arrive at certain conclusions about those issues. The second reason Weston gives is that we must use arguments to defend our conclusions. Once we have examined an issue thoroughly and arrived at a specific conclusion about it, we must use argument to defend it. Weston emphasizes that an argument does not just restate conclusions, but rather gives reasons in support of those conclusions. Therefore, arguments are essential because we need them to examine which beliefs are best and defend those beliefs.

3. Explain why many students tend to “write an essay, but not an argument”. The book explains that our pre-college school system teaches us to "report" information rather than "argue" about the basis of its claims. In this way, once most students get to college and are assigned argumentative essays, they tend to state their position very elaborately but fail to give solid reasons for their conclusions. Many college classes, such as this one, challenge us to question our beliefs and determine which are best. When constructing an argument, students must remember that stating a position is not good enough; solid reasons and examples must be given in support of the conclusions, otherwise the paper is just an essay and not an actual argument.

4. Construct two short arguments (one "for" and one "against") as modeled in the Week 3 Assignment section in Blackboard. Put each one in "elements form".

Arguable issue
: Whether or not one should litter (throw waste material away in a non-designated area)
Conclusion: It is okay to litter
Premises: It is okay to litter because
(1) It is a law that is easy and funny to break
(2) The chance of getting caught is slim, and
(3) It is convenient to throw away trash on the ground

Arguable issue: Whether or not one should litter (throw waste material away in a non-designated area)
Conclusion: It is not okay to litter
Premises: It is not okay to litter because
(1) It generates pollution
(2) It can hurt animals if they ingest it, and
(3) It is unpleasant to look at

5. Review the seven rules in chapter one. Briefly discuss how your argument demonstrates that each rule was applied, in the construction of your arguments above. The first rule asks us to clearly distinguish premises and conclusions and my argument does this by clearly stating a conclusion and listing reasons in support of it. The second rule asks us to present our ideas in a natural order and my arguments do this by arranging reasons in a logical order in support of my conclusion. The third rule asks us to start from reliable premises and my arguments do this by giving the simplest and clearest reasons in support of my conclusions. The fourth rule asks us to be concrete and concise and my arguments do this by avoiding the use of unnecessarily large words or complex sentence structure. The fifth rule asks us to avoid "loaded" language that is biased and emotional. My arguments do this for the most part except the part where I argued that littering is funny. This would be an example of loaded language and I will avoid this next time. The sixth rule asks us to use consistent terms and my arguments do this by utilizing a logical flow of ideas. For instance, it is funny and easy to break littering laws. If one does decide to litter, the chances of getting caught are slim. Furthermore it is convenient to litter. Therefore, it is okay to litter. The seventh rule asks us to stick to one rule for each term and my arguments do this by clearly hinting that littering is the act of throwing garbage away in a non-designated area and not straying from that definition.

6. Review the three rules in the appendix named, “Definitions”. In your own words, discuss how you took these rules into consideration as you constructed your arguments. Rule one tells us that when terms are unclear we should get specific. My arguments were very clear about the definition of littering so that a reader will understand that littering is the act of throwing trash away in a non-designated area. The second rule tells us that when a term is contested, we should work from the clear cases. My definition of littering does this by including what littering could be considered as, excluding what it clearly is not, and drawing the line in-between. The third rule tells us that we should not expect definitions to do the work of arguments. My conclusions rely mainly on their premises for support and therefore avoid this problem.

7. Good posts demonstrate:

* Sincere reflection, effort, and analysis
* Answers that are substantial (at least one large paragraph each)
* Consistent mention, citation, and integration of the assigned readings (explained in YOUR own words, though)
* Correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation
* Correctly titled posts!

How many points do you honestly feel your post this week deserves? Justify your answer. I feel that my post deserves all 25 points because I followed the directions to the best of my ability and went into detail to explain why I felt that my methods of argument followed all the rules given in the textbook.