1. Rock musicians are contributing to the decline of language by singing in a slurred, mumbling manner.
1. The premise of this statement is that all rock musicians sing in a slurred, mumbling manner, and also the hidden premise that singing in a slurred, mumbling manner will lead to the decline of language. The argument infers that all rock musicians sing this way and that singing in this way is depreciative to language. Due to this, the conclusion is that all rock musicians are leading to the decline of language.
2. The author seems to be oversimplifying the issue, in the sense that they are not taking into account the complexities of the language, and overgeneralizing it at the same time, in the sense that they seem to be generalizing all rock music into the same categories, when in fact rock music itself might be considered as diverse as language itself.
3. The most important question to be asked about the legitimacy of this argument is whether or not singing in this way does, in fact, lead to a depreciation of language. It could be the case, if research were to suggest it, that singing in this way would actually help add value to the language. It could be argued that any form of lyricism, whether poetry or rock music, actually enhances the language by adding more diversity.
4. Instead of attempting to put all of the styles of rock into a single category, it might be good to focus on a more specific type of rock music, this would definitely strengthen the argument. Furthermore, another way to help to specify the argument would be to have some type of qualifier that sets a specific type of language apart, such as song writing. In this way the argument could be made more sound by saying “Punk rock musicians are contributing to the decline of song writing by singing in a slurred, mumbling manner.” This argument is more specific, and so seems to have more weight.
2. Power must be evil because it can corrupt people.
1. The premise of this statement is that power corrupts people. There is also an underlying premise that corrupting people would be evil. It is assumed here that power corrupting people is evil. In this way, the conclusion that power is evil is drawn.
2. Here the argument is overgeneralized. The author has assumed that all forms of power will always corrupt all people. It might be true that some forms of power, such as military or financial power, might be inherently more corrosive to a person’s morality than religious or political power, but isn’t necessarily true for all forms of power. Furthermore, some individuals might be more prone to corruption then others. This does not mean that all individuals will be corrupted.
3. The question here is regarding the extent to which power actually corrupts. Furthermore, the argument is reliant upon the connection between corruption and power. It is also questionable whether or not power should be considered evil because it corrupts people. This argument seems to make an assumption about the moral nature of people.
4. The best way to fix this statement would be with a simple qualifier, such as “tends”. In this way instead of saying that power is evil because it corrupts, it could be said that power is evil because it tends to corrupt. In this way, instead of saying it always corrupts, it could be said that it often corrupts, or that it sometimes corrupts. This allows the argument to avoid being absolute, either a person will be corrupted, and all who do so will as well, or nobody will attempt to pursue power.
Going further, the argument could be made stronger if it were something more like “power is dangerous because it tends to corrupt people”. Saying “dangerous” instead of “evil” divorces the issue from morality, and saying “dangerous” indicates that there is still a concern, but not something that should be completely avoided. Rather, it should be regarded as something that a person should be careful with.
3. Low grades on a college transcript are a handicap in the job market, so teachers who grade harshly are doing students a disservice.
1. This argument is complex. First of all it assumes that low grades on a transcript will effect a person in the job market. Also, it makes a connection between teachers and low grades, assuming students have no power as to whether their grades would be good or bad in this situation. It then makes the argument that because a teacher is giving a student harsh grades, their lives will be negatively impacted.
2. The biggest question concerning this argument is about how much grades on a college transcript actually effect a person in the job market. If there was not much of a correlation, or if the grades themselves didn’t have an impact, then the argument would not be as strong. Furthermore, there is a question as to what the teacher’s role would be, then, if they were not being “harsh”. While the argument itself is quite complex, it seems to be oversimplifying the issues.
3. This argument does not consider the possibility that high grades can be achieved in a course that is taught by a teacher who grades harshly. In other words, a student could still attempt to work hard on their grades. This might, in turn, cause them to work harder in life, which would actually be a service.
In essence, this argument fails to take into account that the essential role of a teacher is to grade, and the notion of “harshly” is a term that is difficult to define. In other words, it seems to indicate that a teacher should, in fact, go easy on students, which would seem to be just as much of a disservice as being too hard on them in this situation.
Another issue concerning this argument is in consideration of the correlation between their grades and the job market. This is the question of whether someone with higher scores will actually be chosen. Many jobs actually look for individuals with experience, rather than being concerned about the grades that they received in college. Furthermore, some jobs do not even go beyond
4. In order to attempt to make this statement sound, it needs to have dramatic alterations. The role of a teacher is to grade, so of course, the teacher should be grading the work. The issue seems to be mainly with the idea of how “harshly” is applied. It is true that a teacher who were grading “unfairly” would be doing the student a disservice, because then they wouldn’t be fulfilling their role as a teacher.
Furthermore, the idea of low grades having an impact upon a student’s performance in the job market is a complex one. The job market has many variations that can affect the outcome of a person’s pursuit. In this sense, the grades might not be as important as the statement is letting on, but the student’s ability to learn about the job, and be able to present the fact that they have learned, would play a prominent role.
For this reason, a better argument would be “Because grades on a college transcript have an impact on the job market, so teachers who grade unfairly are doing the students a disservice.” This does not assume that a teacher giving a different student a better grade then what they deserve would be a disservice as well.
Goble, Lou, ed., 2001. (The Blackwell Guide to) Philosophical Logic. Oxford: Blackwell.
Jacquette, Dale, ed., 2002. A Companion to Philosophical Logic. Oxford Blackwell.