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Prepare: To prepare for this discussion, make sure to read the assigned chapters of the primary text and to review the required resources, including the videos about arguments (in the “Lectures” link on the left). Before responding to the prompt, make sure as well to participate in the interactive scenario at the top of this page titled The Raise (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. to gain more appreciation of the importance of constructing good arguments in life.
Reflect: Choose a topic from the PHI103 Final Paper Options list. It should be a topic that you find interesting, but also for which you will be able defend a position with careful logical reasoning. Construct the strongest argument that you can on each side of the issue. Strengthen your arguments by contemplating possible objections to each argument, and revise your arguments in light of the objections. Continue this process until you feel that your arguments for each side are as convincing as you can possibly make them.
Write: Present your two arguments (one on each side of the issue) in standard form (with each premise and conclusion on a separate line) on the topic you selected from the PHI103 Final Paper Options list. The two arguments should defend different positions on the topic. For example, if your topic was the existence of Santa Claus, then you would present one argument for the claim that Santa Claus does exist and another argument that Santa Claus does not exist. The premises of each argument will present reasons for thinking that the conclusion is true.
Here is an example of what an argument in standard form looks like:
Premise 1: If Santa Claus exists, then he lives at the North Pole.
Premise 2: No one can live at the North Pole.
Conclusion: Santa Claus does not exist.
For each argument, provide a brief explanation of the strengths and weaknesses of the argument. You might explain whether the argument is inductive or deductive, or you might provide a diagram of the argument. Think about how the two arguments compare to each other. Is one better than the other? If so, what makes that one better? Is each a fair presentation of what someone taking that position would say? Are the premises reasonable? How might each argument be made better?