Write an evaluation of that argument of no less than 1000 words and no more than 1500 words. Your e

1. Provide a rational reconstruction of the argument, numbering its premises but not numbering its conclusion.

2. Assess the logical validity of the argument as you’ve reconstructed it. If one were to suppose each premise to be true, would one have to presume the conclusion to be true? Deem the argument valid or invalid and explain why it is or isn’t valid.

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3. Go through the premises (as you’ve written them in your rational reconstruction). For each, explain whether it is definitely true, definitely false, or controvertible (that is, potentially true but potentially false). If you assess a premise to be definitively true, explain why. If you assess it to be definitively false, you can save your explanation for step 4. If you assess a premise to be controvertible, explain why it might be true and why it might be false, and assess whether it is more likely to be true than false.

4. Provide a logically valid counter-argument. A counter-argument is an effort to construct a case for why the original argument is unsound. Hence, the purpose of a counter-argument should be to demonstrate that one of the original argument’s premises is untrue. Your counter-argument should be written with numbered premises and an un-numbered conclusion.

5. Evaluate your counter-argument. Explain why it is logically valid. Then assess whether its premises are definitely true, definitely false, or controvertible. For premises that are controvertible, explain why they might be true and why they might be false, assessing whether they are more likely to be true than false. Note: It’s okay for your counter-argument to be unsound, but it should be logically valid. The point is not to refute the original argument but to come up with a reasonable basis on which someone might try to refute it.

6. In light of your counter-argument, assess the degree to which you would consider the original-argument to be true.

 

Rubric:

 

–First draft (3 points): Students who submit a first draft on time will receive three points. No credit for late first drafts will be provided.

 

–Completeness of answer (3 points):

Answers will receive 3 points if they address each of the six parts of the prompt in full. Answers will lose 0.5 points for each part that is not fully addressed.

 

–Understanding of course material (3 points):

(A) Answers will receive 2 points if they demonstrate an excellent understanding of the essay in question (Cooper, Singer, or Monahan). They will receive 1.5 points if they show a good but flawed understanding of the essay in question. They will receive 1 point if there are multiple significant limitations in their understanding of the essay in question, 0.5 points if they show a minimal comprehension of the text, and 0 if they are not based on the essays in question at all.

AND

(B) Answers will receive 1 point if they demonstrate a clear understanding of the concepts of logical validity and soundness. They will receive 0.5 points if they are unclear on these concepts but approximate them in some meaningful, if mistaken, way. They will receive 0 points if they show fundamental misunderstandings of validity and soundness.

 

–Argumentative rigor (3 points):

(A) Answers will receive 1 point if in part 2 they (i) correctly assess the original argument, as rationally reconstructed in part 1, to be logically valid or (ii) correctly assess the original argument to be logically invalid on the basis of a rational reconstruction that is faithful to the original. Answers will receive 0.5 points if their reconstruction makes the original argument invalid and they correctly identify the source of the invalidity. Answers will receive 0 points if they do not correctly identify the rational reconstruction’s logical validity or invalidity.

AND

(B) Answers will receive 1 point if their counter-argument (part 3) is logically valid. Answers will receive 0.5 points if their counter-argument is logically invalid due to a logical error. Answers will receive 0 points if their counter-argument involves no logical relationship between premises and conclusion whatsoever.

AND

(C) Answers will receive 0.5 point if their assessment of the truth of each of the original argument’s premises (part 4) is plausible.

AND

(C) Answers will receive 0.5 point if their assessment of the truth of each of the counter-argument’s premises (part 5) is plausible.

 

Strength of writing (3 points):

Answers will receive 3 points if the writing is consistently clear and well-organized without frequent grammatical errors. Significant lapses in any of these areas will cause a loss of 0.5 points each.

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