Implicit Inferential Claims Multiple Choice Questions


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multiple choice questions

Passage A

A statement may have two possible truth values. If a statement accurately reflects the state of affairs, then the statement is true. If a statement does not accurately reflect the state of affairs, then the statement is false.

Passage A is not an argument because it lacks .

Passage B

If any student is caught cheating on the exam, then the entire class will be penalized.

Passage B is not an argument because it lacks .

Passage C

Numbers can be used to represent letters in a basic substitution code. For example, the number 3 could represent the letter M, the number 8 could represent the letter H, and the number 18 could represent the letter U.

Passage C is not an argument because it lacks .

2. Explicit and Implicit Inferential Claims

It can often be difficult to determine if a passage is making an inferential claim because such a claim may be either explicit or implicit. An explicit inferential claim uses indicator words or phrases of some sort to inform the audience that a conclusion is being drawn from a set of reasons. By contrast, some arguments contain inferential relationships but do not contain any indicator words or phrases. In such cases the passage is said to be making an implicit inferential claim.

Each passage that follows makes an inferential claim. Determine whether the inferential claim in each passage is an explicit inferential claim or an implicit inferential claim. Then indicate this with the dropdown menu provided.

Passage A

An explosion is imminent. The pilot light to the apartment’s gas stove went out undetected several days ago, and the tenant is about to return home and open the door while holding a lit cigarette.

Passage A makes an .

Passage B

Dogs are more aware of their surroundings than is generally accepted. Many pieces of evidence support this claim. In innumerable cases, lost or forgotten dogs have traveled great distances to reunite with their owners. This shows that dogs have an inherent navigational sensory apparatus and a heightened awareness of the relation between surroundings and direction. Moreover, many dogs seem to have a psychic ability because they are constantly attuned to minute details, which affect their actions even when such details are undetected by humans.

Passage B makes an .

Passage C

It can only be concluded that a paperless society will never come to pass. Although people used to think that electronic media and electronic communication would replace paper communication entirely, paper communication is as prevalent as it used to be despite the omnipresence of electronic substitutes. This conclusion is also evidenced by the failure of electronic books to replace traditional paper books as the primary mode by which people read longer literary works.

Passage C makes an

3. Simple Noninferential Passages

Simple noninferential passages (including warnings, pieces of advice, statements of belief or opinion, loosely associated statements, reports, and so on) may express factual claims of various sorts, but they do not express any inferential claims. In other words, simple noninferential passages have no premises that claim to support a conclusion. Although these types of passages contain statements that could serve as the premises or conclusion of an argument, simple noninferential passages by themselves fail to meet the criteria for an argument because they do not contain inferences from one or more statements to another.

The following passages are all instances of simple noninferential passages. Determine the type of noninferential passage that each instance represents, and indicate this using the dropdown menu beneath each passage.

Passage A

My opinion is that the various world religions are incompatible with one another, although their moral and ethical principles are often similar.

Passage A is .

Passage B

I believe that all religions are just different facets of the same fundamental truth.

Passage B is .

Passage C

The S&P 500 Index rose by nearly 100 points today after a day of heavy trading. However, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by only 50 points.

Passage C is .

Passage D

Whatever you do, do not attempt to deceive your significant other.

Passage D is .

4. Expository Passages, Illustrations, and Explanations

Some types of noninferential passages are more easily confused with arguments than the simple noninferential passages you have already seen. Expository passages, illustrations, and explanations are three types of nonarguments that do not contain any inferential claims but could easily be confused with arguments or interpreted as arguments, depending on whether the purpose of the passage is to provide reasons to accept some conclusion.

In the following table, indicate whether each definition refers to an expository passage, an illustration, or an explanation.

Definitions Types of Nonarguments
Involves one or more specific examples to show what something means or how it is done
Sheds light on some event or phenomenon by showing why something is the case
Begins with a topic sentence followed by one or more sentences to develop that sentence

Next indicate whether each of the following passages is an expository passage, an illustration, or an explanation.

Passage A

Addition is the principle whereby separate quantities of items can be totaled together into a single quantity. If you have two quantities of items, you can count the items separately as two groups, or you can lump them together into one large group and count them together. In either case, you get the same total quantity.

Passage A is an .

Passage B

Earth orbits the sun because the pull of the sun’s gravity is a constant. Earth moves at an angle relative to the direction of this pull.

Passage B is an .

5. Arguments and Explanations

An explanation is a type of noninferential passage that purports to offer an account of why some accepted fact is the case. An argument, by contrast, provides reasons or evidence for a conclusion. Conclusions often are not generally accepted facts, which is why one needs to give reasons to accept the conclusion.

An explanation has two parts, an explanans and an explanandum. The explanans is the statement or group of statements that does the explaining in an explanation. The explanandum is the accepted fact that is being explained. (The words “explanans” and “‘explanandum” are Latin words meaning “the thing explaining” and “the thing to be explained.”)

You should note that there are cases in which the same passage can be interpreted as either an explanation or as an argument, depending on whether the goal of the passage is to explain an accepted fact or to prove a conclusion by providing reasons. The explanans of an explanation can easily be misinterpreted as a set of premises in an argument, and the explanandum can easily be misinterpreted as the conclusion of an argument. The key distinction is that an explanandum is presumed to be an already generally accepted fact, whereas the conclusion of an argument is not presumed to be an already generally accepted fact. Rather, in an argument, the premises are presumed to be the accepted facts from which the conclusion can then be inferred.

Determine whether each passage is an argument or an explanation. Then answer the questions about the passages.

Passage A

Smallpox is no longer a major health threat because smallpox vaccinations are effective at preventing the smallpox virus from gaining a foothold in a host.

Is Passage A an argument or an explanation?

The claim that smallpox vaccinations are effective at preventing the smallpox virus from gaining a foothold in a host serves as the in Passage A. And the claim that smallpox is no longer a major health threat serves as the in Passage A.

Passage B

Jessica fell in love with Mark because Mark is both intelligent and caring.

Is Passage B an argument or an explanation?

The claim that Mark is both intelligent and caring serves as the in Passage B. And the claim that Jessica fell in love with Mark serves as the in Passage B.

6. Conditional Statements

Conditional statements (“if… then…” statements) are easily confused with arguments. But individual conditional statements fail to meet the criteria for an argument. The following questions allow you to practice distinguishing conditional statements from arguments and to practice recognizing the parts of conditional statements.

Complete the following sentences about conditional statements.

The two parts of a conditional statement are known as the antecedent and the consequent. In an “if…then…” statement, the consequent follows the .

To have an argument, you must have a factual claim and an inferential claim. This means that at least one statement in an argument must claim to present evidence, and there must be a claim that this evidence implies something. In a conditional statement, there assertion that either the antecedent or the consequent is true. Rather there is only the assertion that if the antecedent is true, then . Of course, a conditional statement as a whole present evidence because it asserts a relationship between statements. Yet when conditional statements are taken in this sense, a single conditional statement an argument because there separate claim that this evidence implies anything.

In a conditional, the antecedent also expresses a . This means that the truth of the is sufficient to guarantee the truth of the .

Consider the following conditional statement. Then complete the following questions by choosing the appropriate statements in the spaces provided.

If Bob Marley was a famous reggae star, then Bob Marley was a Rastafarian.

In this conditional sentence, which statement is the antecedent?

What are the necessary and sufficient conditions in the given conditional statement?

Necessary Condition:
Sufficient Condition:

7. Necessary and Sufficient Conditions

The antecedent of a conditional statement expresses a sufficient condition. In a true conditional statement, the antecedent is sufficient to guarantee that the consequent is also true. The consequent of a conditional statement expresses a necessary condition. This means that in a true conditional statement, the antecedent cannot be true without the consequent also being true.

Complete the following statements about necessary and sufficient conditions using the dropdown menus. Then convert the statements into standard “if… then…” conditional statements that express the same relationships.

Having a daughter is a___________ condition for being a parent: If __________, then .______________

Using a microscope is a ______________ condition for seeing a bacterium: If _________, then ._______________

Smoking a cigar is a _____________condition for using tobacco: If ________________, then ._____________

Riding on two wheels is a _______________ condition for riding a bicycle: If______________ , then .________________

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