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Argument Task Brainstorming
In this video, we’re going to take apart an actual argument here. So I’ll have an example argument, and when I say take it apart, we are going to brainstorm. We’re going to see if we can pick up on the logical fallacies, and then we are going to circle a few of those. Those points that we bring up are going to inform the essay we’ll write in the upcoming video.
So let’s take a look at the sample argument. “The government in Littleville plans to build a large mall in a newly constructed zone just outside the city. Littleville hopes to attract many wealthy clients who it believes will shop at the Littleville Mall’s many planned boutique stores.
Ten years ago Bigsburgh, a city in the same province, built an upscale mall in its fashionable downtown district. The mall was an instant success, so Littleville Mall can expect a profit in its first year”. Now, the directions. “You’re going to write a response, which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument”. So that’s really the key her.
We want to pick up on those assumptions, which we call here logical fallacies. What does the argument assuming? And this last part here, be sure to explain how the argument depends on these assumptions, and what the implications are for the argument if the assumptions prove warranted.
That’s the mouthful part, but essentially, what we’re going to try to answer here is, because of these assumptions, how does the argument fall apart? And of course, part of this is to see how we can strengthen and improve the argument as well.
But we’re going to do all of that in the actual essay. For now, we’re going to pick up on the fallacies here. What’s going on? What are some assumptions that make this argument invalid? OK. The government of Littleville here is going to plan to open a mall, and what they’re assuming is that Littleville, put L for Littleville, is the same as Bigsburgh.
So what worked in Littleville is going to work in Bigsburgh. But how do we know that they’re the same? Could they be different? And so that’s what you have to say. You have to say the argument assumes that these two cities are the same. They could differ in terms of their residents.
Maybe you have rich versus poor, or maybe one place known for its frugality and another place there known for being spendthrifts, or spending a lot of money. So you could list a few reasons here how the towns could be different and focusing, of course, on how that would affect the malls.
We can’t assume that opening a mall in Littleville is going to be the same as in Bigsburgh. So, that’s one thing we can look at, how these two do not equal each other. So it assumes they equal each other, but we want to, of course, see how the two do not equal each other.
Now, you’re going to notice that the argument does a few other things as well. It goes on to say that maybe these two are similar. Let’s just assume this. But it goes on to say that the mall here, in Littleville, is in a constructed zone.
So call that CZ: Constructed Zone. Versus the mall here, in Bigsburgh, is going to be in a fashionable downtown district. So you can see right there that you have construction zone versus downtown district.
That’s already making a pretty large assumption. So, if you’re in a downtown area, obviously there’s a lot of money here. As far as a newly constructed area, well, are people already going to drive out here? We don’t know.
This whole argument could fall apart even if the citizens of Littleville and Bigsburgh are similar, they’re both well off, they want to spend their money at boutique stores. Even if we’ve assumed that, are they necessarily going to want to drive out to this new newly constructed zone?
So that’s another thing, the question of convenience. So what else could we attack here? The two cities could be different in terms of their residents, fundamentally different. That the construction zones, you can’t compare that to the downtown district.
Again, it’s that whole ‘apples and oranges’ thing, and then we notice here, it says, “10 years ago in Bigsburgh”, so things change. Remember that from a logical fallacy. So 10 years ago, maybe the economy was doing well.
Things change, we don’t know. These could be very similar cities. We could have a very nice constructed zone here. This could be a great place everyone wants to shop new fountains and everything, but if the economy is doing poorly, then wait a second, that argument falls apart.
So this is another important thing that, of course, is the 10 years ago. You may also pick up on here the idea that the mall was an instant success. What do we mean by instant success? That becomes a vague term.
Does it mean many people went there? Does it mean it made lots of money? We don’t know. Instant success. And there’s also another vague term, “Littleville can expect a similar return on revenue in its first year of opening”. So exactly what does that mean, to make the same amount of money?
OK, that could be a little bit more specific, but even then, to make the same amount of money during its first year of opening. Maybe the size of the mall could be something there.
So you can see, we can really brain storm for a long time, and really, the key to this argument task is that you pick what you feel are like the strongest points. Because if we went on for another 10 minutes, we could list another five or six things and really squeeze this dry, but you want to focus just on a few, so I think this is a very fundamental assumption that the two cities are different or similar.
Another fundamentalist assumption is that a construction zone is going to be similar to a fashionable downtown district, and then finally this, this 10 years ago, that things change. That’s another major assumption.
Out of these three, we’re going to create our essay.
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