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Critical Thinking

Given the premises, discuss whether the conclusion of each argument that follows is (a) true beyond a reasonable doubt, (b) probably true, or (c) possibly true or possibly false. You should expect disagreement on these items, but the closer your answers are to your instructor's, the better.

2. The annual rainfall in California's north valley averages twenty-three inches. So the rainfall next year will be twenty-three inches.

3. You expect to get forty miles to the gallon in that? Why, that old wreck has a monster V8; besides, it's fifty years old and needs an overhaul.

4. In three of the last four presidential races, the winner of the Iowa Republican primary has not captured the Republican nomination. Therefore, the winner of the next Iowa Republican primary will not capture the Republican nomination.

6. The number of cellular telephones has increased dramatically in each of the past few years. Therefore there will be even more of them in use this coming year.

7. Since the graduates of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and other Ivy League schools generally score higher on the Graduate Record Examination than students from Central State, it follows that the Ivy League schools do more toward educating their students than Central State does.

8. Michael Jackson has had more plastic surgery than anybody else in California. You can bet he's had more than anybody in Connecticut!

10. When liquor was banned in 1920, hospitalizations for alcoholism and related diseases plummeted; in 1933, when Prohibition was repealed, alcohol-related illnesses rose sharply again. Legalization of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana would not curb abuse of those substances.

11. Relax. The kid's been delivering the paper for, how long? Three, four years maybe? And not once has she missed us. The paper will be here, just wait and see. She's just been delayed for some reason.

Solution Preview

Given the premises, discuss whether the conclusion of each argument that follows is (a) true beyond a reasonable doubt, (b) probably true, or (c) possibly true or possibly false. You should expect disagreement on these items, but the closer your answers are to your instructor's, the better.

2. The annual rainfall in California's north valley averages twenty-three inches. So the rainfall next year will be twenty-three inches.

Possibly true or possibly false. The average was twenty-three inches; that doesn't mean that next year's rainfall will be exactly 23 inches. However, it could be.

3. You expect to get forty miles to the gallon in that? Why, that old wreck has a monster V8; besides, it's fifty years old and needs an overhaul.

Probably true (that it will NOT get forty miles to the gallon). Based on my understanding of V8 engines, this is unlikely. The ...

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