Analyzing an Argument

Analysis of an Argument In Attacking Faulty Reasoning, T. Edward Damer defines an argument as a group of statements, one or more of which (the premises) support or provide evidence for another (the conclusion). The premises of an argument are those statements that together constitute the grounds for affirming the conclusion. To more clearly understand the argument given in the news release from the Normaltown paper, it should be placed in an easier to read form, consisting of just the premises and conclusions. The Normaltown paper states this argument: Since the percentage of graduating seniors that passed the standardized basic-skills exam has increased from 85% in 98-99 to 92% in 99-00, And, the new computer programs to drill students in basic skills were purchased for the 99-00 school year, Therefore, the 7% increase of students that passed the exam was due to the purchase of the new computer programs, And, the computerized materials provide the best possible education for the students, And, the budget for computerized instructional materials should be increased by at least 50%. A fallacy is an argument involving bad reasoning, or an error in argument. The argument provided by Jane Johnson, superintendent of Normaltown School District, is not a good argument due to a couple of reasons. The amount of evidence given to support each of these conclusions is not near enough to provide a good argument. Also, the post hoc fallacy is used to support the conclusion. The post hoc fallacy consists in assuming that a particular event is caused by another event, simply because it proceeds it in time. Johnsons only evidence as to why the 7% increase was caused by the computer programs is because the increase took place the year after the computer programs were purchased. This evidence alone is not near enough to support the argument. For example, if possible, the arguer could have stated that the new computer programs we…

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