PHIL1002 INTRODUCTION TO CRITICAL THINKING

INSTRUCTIONS

This test paper must be submitted via LMS by the due date and time shown in your Unit Outline. You may do the test on your computer using the docx version, or you may print out the PDF and complete it using a pen however, in this case, you will need to scan a copy in order to submit it via LMS. Regardless of how you choose to complete this test, it is essential that you keep a copy so that you can mark it yourself using the marking key provided on LMS.

The test gives you a chance to review your progress and to familiarise yourself with the kind of examination you will face at the end of semester. It is thus laid out like a formal examination paper (only shorter), and you should try to do it under the conditions specified here. It should contain five pages following this cover, with one question on each remaining page.

Give yourself 60 minutes to do the test.   If you do not finish it in this time, make a note of how far you got and then finish the test and write here                  how long it took you. Do not consult text books or notes; to do so is self-defeating. Write your answers directly onto the question paper in the spaces provided; you may use the backs of the pages for rough working. Answer as many questions as you can. Each of the five questions carries the same marks.

Friendly advice from Nin: read the questions carefully and follow the instructions!

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MARKS PER QUESTION

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Q. 5: Total

  1. For each of the following statements, indicate whether or not it is a necessary truth, and in each case explain briefly why your answer is correct. If you wish to show that one of the statements is not a necessary truth, use a counter-example to do this.
  • A fragile object is easily damaged.
  • A person about whom something false has been said has had their reputation harmed.
  • A race has only one winner.
  • For each of the following arguments, (i) write out the main conclusion; (ii) indicate whether the argument is cogent or not, giving brief reasons for your answer.
  • There is more than one university in Perth, so it must be possible to study medicine here without attending The University of Western Australia.

(i)

(ii)

  • Suppose that 57 is exactly divisible by 2 (i.e. dividing by 2 gives a whole number, without remainder, as an answer). In that case, it would be possible to obtain the number 0 by successive subtractions of 2 from 57. But if you do a series of subtractions of 2 from 57 (so that you first get 55, then 53, and so on), you end up by going directly from 1 to –1 without ever getting 0 as the result of a subtraction. Hence 57 can’t be exactly divided by 2.

(i)

(ii)

  • Either the Russian state will succeed in its aim of establishing a firmly based democratic government, the rule of law, and a market economy, or the Communists will regain control and the whole country will once more be completely in the grip of the Moscow bureaucracy. Clearly the state will not have success in this aim, for such an achievement would require a high degree of central authority and Russia is now a medley of overlapping fiefdoms which defies the imposition of any centralised system of government, so the Communists must obviously be going to regain control and the Moscow bureaucracy will again exert unfettered power over the whole country.

(i)

(ii)

  • Indicate whether the following statements are true or false by writing ‘T’ for true or ‘F’ for false in the space provided to the right of each statement.
(a)The move from a conditional to its contraposed form is deductively valid.
(b)A valid argument can lead to a false conclusion.
(c)A premiss which has not itself been supported by argument is always unacceptable.
(d)Any argument whose premisses give strong support to its conclusion is cogent.
(e)A cogent argument can have false premisses.
(f)A sound argument can have unacceptable premisses.
(g)Necessary truths are always acceptable premisses.
(h)If a situation in which the premisses of an argument are true and the conclusion false cannot be described without self-contradiction, then that argument is invalid.
(i)Contradictions can be either explicit or implicit.
(j)From a deductively valid argument with premisses P and conclusion C, a necessarily true conditional, ‘If P then C’ can be inferred.
  • Written out below is an argument in which bracketing, underlining and lettering have been done for you. Display the argument in revised standard form, using the letters provided. In your display, do not write out the argument in full, but merely use the assigned letters as abbreviations to indicate which statements go where.

The most common argument offered by creationists against the theory of evolution is an attempt to discredit the fossil evidence for evolution by pointing to the relative scarcity of transitional forms. However, (a)<this is a poor argument>, for at least three reasons. First, (b)<in order to embarrass the theory of evolution, it would be required that it predicts that there should be numerous transitional fossils>. In fact, however, (c)<major evolutionary change occurs when a small population becomes reproductively isolated>, and, further, (d)<such a major change occurs over a relatively short period of geological time>. Thus, (e)<on this view, there should be a relative scarcity of transitional fossils>. The second point is that, nonetheless, (f)<there are transitional fossils>, for (g)<the therapsids provide numerous links between reptiles and mammals>, and, in addition, (h)<Archaeopteryx is a clear intermediary between dinosaurs and birds>. Finally, whatever the problems associated with the fossil record, (i)<what we find does not look at all as it would be expected to if God created all varieties of life at the same time>. (j)<If creationism were true, we would expect the fossil record to have the structure of a well-stirred stew, with trilobites and tigers, dinosaurs and donkeys all side by side>.   (k)<This is anything but what we do find>.

  • Show that the following combination of statements is inconsistent (i.e., cannot all be true together) by constructing a deductively valid argument whose main conclusion is an explicit contradiction. In constructing your argument, use all the statements as premisses, and derive from them any intermediate conclusions which may be necessary to reach the contradiction. Write out the argument in revised standard form, using complete sentences and the letters assigned here to the statements.
  • People are morally responsible for their actions.
  • If every event is causally determined, then people do not have the ability to do otherwise.
  • If people are morally responsible for their actions, then they have free will.
  • If people have free will, then they have the ability to do otherwise.
  • Every event is causally determined.
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