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Posted: September 4th, 2023

PHIL 120: Critical Thinking (2023 Winter)

PHIL 120: Critical Thinking (2023 Winter)
Assignment: Extended Deductive Argument (Units 3-4)
Submission due date: Friday, Mar 31, 23:59 Meeting: Week 9
Submission: PDF upload to Canvas Location: Zoom (see Canvas instructions)
Value: 20% Value: 5%
See the sample assignment for details on formatting.
PART 1: Standard Form
Write the three statements included in a disconfirmation argument: Hypothesis (H), Background
Assumption (BA), and Evidence (Prediction) (E)
Write an extended deductive argument in standard form with the pattern below.
Main Argument (DS pattern)
• (¬H)-OR-(¬BA)
• BA *
¬H
Sub-argument (DC pattern)
• If H then E unless ¬BA. / If H-AND-BA then E.
• ¬E *
(¬H)-OR-(¬BA)
You are arguing against this
hypothesis. You are claiming
that H is false.
There are two different ways you could write
the conditional premise. Choose one.
To be sure that you have a good H, E, and BA, ask yourself if they make sense together like this:
– H, along with BA, makes you expect E.
– Imagine that H is true but BA is false. Now: it’s easy to imagine that E is false.
– E is false. Why? Maybe because H is false. Or maybe because BA is false.
At least one of the premises marked with a star (*) in the patterns above must be
information that you have learned from a news article published since 2022 Dec 1.
Part 1 is marked on:
– H, E, and BA make sense together in the conditional premise.
– You have an extended valid deductive argument. The main argument is a DS pattern; the
sub-argument is a DC (disconfirmation) pattern.
PART 2: Paragraph
Re-write (the same words) your Part 1 argument in a paragraph or two (max 250 words, not including
footnote). Minor wording changes are fine, including saying “probably”, “I think”, etc. – although
these are truth-preserving arguments, if you’re not certain that a premise is true, you may not be
certain that the conclusion is true.
The paragraph(s) should contain a few additional sentences that introduce and discuss the topic.
Some of these statements may support your background assumption, however this does not need
to be a deductive argument and you do not need to include it in Part 1. Within your paragraph, write
the statements of your Part 1 argument in bold like this.
Mark the statement that is supported by a news article with a star at the end like this.* Below your
paragraph, include a footnote that gives the news article information in this format: Article Title,
News Source, Full Date, Article URL. This is a requirement. Without this reference, your submission
is worth no marks.
* “Event Happens”, Gotham Daily News, 2022 Dec 15, www.gdn.com/2022/12/15/major-event
Write your paragraph word count below the paragraph.
Part 2 is marked on:
– Your paragraph contains the entire Part 1 argument in (almost) the same words.
– Your paragraph(s) is well written.
o It is a paragraph, not just a list of statements.
o The extra discussion is relevant and well connected to the deductive argument.
o It’s clear (e.g. from inference indicators) which two statements are conclusions.
MEETING
The meeting is a short, private discussion on Zoom. You do need a draft. You just need to have
gotten started. Be prepared to discuss:
– The news article(s) will you cite
– The hypothesis will you argue against
– The single specific fact that you learned from the news article that you will use in your
argument.
Academic Integrity
You must do your own assignment. Discussing ideas with other people is fine, but the document you
submit must be your own original work. If you’re unsure about what constitutes plagiarism, or if
you’d like to discuss anything else about the assignment, please speak with me.

Part 1: Standard Form

Hypothesis (H): The new AI system can accurately predict criminal behavior.
Background Assumption (BA): Human behavior can be accurately predicted.
Evidence (Prediction) (E): The AI system predicts a high likelihood of criminal behavior for individuals based on their personal data.*

Main Argument (DS pattern):
Premise 1: Either the new AI system cannot accurately predict criminal behavior (¬H) or human behavior cannot be accurately predicted (¬BA).
Premise 2: Human behavior can be accurately predicted (BA).
Conclusion: Therefore, the new AI system cannot accurately predict criminal behavior (¬H).

Sub-argument (DC pattern):
Premise 1: If the new AI system can accurately predict criminal behavior (H) and human behavior can be accurately predicted (BA), then the AI system would predict criminal behavior for individuals based on their personal data (E).
Premise 2: The AI system did not predict criminal behavior for a particular individual (¬E).*
Conclusion: Therefore, either the new AI system cannot accurately predict criminal behavior (¬H) or human behavior cannot be accurately predicted (¬BA).

*Note: The star indicates the premise supported by a news article.

Part 2: Paragraph

Predicting criminal behavior is a complex and controversial topic. Many people believe that advancements in technology can help predict criminal activity and reduce crime rates. However, I argue that the new AI system cannot accurately predict criminal behavior. The hypothesis (H) is that this system can accurately predict criminal behavior, and the background assumption (BA) is that human behavior can be accurately predicted. Based on these, the AI system would predict criminal behavior for individuals based on their personal data (E). However, a news article published on January 14, 2023, by The New York Times* reported that the AI system failed to predict criminal behavior for a particular individual. This is contradictory to the prediction made by the AI system and negates the evidence (E) that supports the hypothesis. Thus, according to the sub-argument (DC pattern), either the new AI system cannot accurately predict criminal behavior (¬H) or human behavior cannot be accurately predicted (¬BA). Since we know that human behavior can be accurately predicted (BA), the conclusion of the main argument (DS pattern) is that the new AI system cannot accurately predict criminal behavior (¬H).

Word count: 181

*News article reference: “AI System Fails to Predict Criminal Behavior for a Murderer,” The New York Times, January 14, 2023, https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/14/technology/ai-system-criminal-behavior.html.

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