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Discussion ONE 

One interesting thing that we have learned about inductive inference is that it is never final. New information can come along to further strengthen or weaken an inductive inference. This exercise gives you some practice in seeing how inductive reasoning can be strengthened and weakened with new information.

Prepare: To prepare for this prompt take a look at Chapters 5 and 6 in our book, paying special attention to the section titled “Inductive Strength” (including the section “A Closer Look: Using Premises to Affect Inductive Strength”).

Reflect: Fine an inductive argument that occurs in some online source (make sure to cite the source) or think of one that you have heard used in your life. Consider its strength and how it might be strengthened or weakened in light of further information.

Write: Present an example of inductive reasoning. Comment on the strength of the inference. State a premise that could be added that, if true, would strengthen the inference. Now list another premise that could be added that would weaken it again. Now add another premise that could be added to strengthen it yet again. Continue this process even more times if you are enjoying the process and find it interesting.

Discussion TWO


This week we are learning about the power of inductive reasoning. Inductive reasoning is not only extremely common, but it can also provide very good evidence for conclusions. This discussion prompt allows you to present an inductive version of the argument that you have been developing in this course.

Prepare: To prepare to write this discussion, read Chapters 5 and 6, focusing especially the section on “Strengthening Inductive Reasoning” in Chapter 5. Take a look as well at the required resources from this week, including What is a Strong Argument? [Link] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXMAR63TVDI&feature=youtu.be&list=PLFEEB67EDDFC780DC

Reflect: Create a new (and improved) version of the argument that you have been developing throughout this course or create an argument for one of the premises of that argument. Try to make sure that all of your premises are true and that your reasoning is inductively strong. Again, consider how someone with the opposite point of view might criticize your argument and see if you can improve it to avoid those objections.

Write: Present your argument in standard form and explain any weaknesses that might remain. A weakness could mean a premise that many might disagree with or questions about the strength of the inference. Indicate briefly how you might address those weaknesses to strengthen your argument further. What further information might strengthen your argument the most?


650 words 

This paper assignment expands upon your Week One Assignment 

( Should Athletes use Performance-Enhancing Drugs?) 

and prepares you for the Final Paper. The expansion is to learn to improve one’s argument after investigating and fairly representing the opposite point of view. The main new tasks are to revise your previous argument created in Week One, to present a counterargument (an argument for a contrary conclusion), and to develop an objection to your original argument.

Here are the steps to prepare to write the counterargument paper:

  • Begin reviewing your previous paper paying particular attention to suggestions for improvement made by your instructor.
  • Revise your argument, improving it as much as possible, accounting for any suggestions and in light of further material you have learned in the course. If your argument is inductive, make sure that it is strong. If your argument is deductive, make sure that it is valid.
  • Construct what you take to be the strongest possible argument for a conclusion contrary to the one you argued for in your Week One paper. This is your counterargument. This should be based on careful thought and appropriate research.
  • Consider the primary points of disagreement between the point of view of your original argument and that of the counterargument.
  • Think about what you take to be the strongest objection to your original argument and how you might answer the objection while being fair to both sides. Search in the Ashford University Library for quality academic sources that support some aspect of your argument or counterargument.

In your paper,

  • Present a revised argument in standard form, with each premise and the conclusion on a separate line.
  • Present a counterargument in standard form, with each premise and the conclusion on a separate line.
  • Provide support for each premise of your counterargument. Clarify the meaning of the premise and supporting evidence for the premise.
    • Pay special attention to those premises that could be seen as controversial. Evidence may include academic research sources, supporting arguments, or other ways of demonstrating the truth of the premise (for more ideas about how to support the truth of premises take a look at the instructor guidance for this week). This section should include at least one scholarly research source. For guidance about how to develop a conclusion see the Ashford Writing Center’s Introductions and Conclusions (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. .
  • Explain how the conclusion of the counterargument follows from its premises. [One paragraph]
  • Discuss the primary points of disagreement between sincere and intelligent proponents of both sides. [One to two paragraphs]
    • For example, you might list any premises or background assumptions on which you think such proponents would disagree and briefly state what you see as the source of the disagreement, you could give a brief explanation of any reasoning that you think each side would find objectionable, or you could do a combination of these.
  • Present the best objection to your original argument. Clearly indicate what part of the argument your objection is aimed at, and provide a paragraph of supporting evidence for the objection. Reference at least one scholarly research source. [One to two paragraphs]
    • See the “Practicing Effective Criticism” section of Chapter 9 of your primary textbook for more information about how to present an objection.

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