# PROBABLE INFERENCES

Answer ALL the following questions. Questions 2, 3, 4 are multiple choice. In each case of a multiple choice question, exactly one possible answer is correct. Tick just one.

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PART I   PROBABLE INFERENCES

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Question 1. (2.5 POINTS)
Give a one-sentence answer to the following question:

QUESTION:

Why is an inference with a probability of less than 50% worse than uselesss

Question 2. (2.5 POINTS)
Re-read the beginning of Section ‘Relevant Evidence’ on pp.12-13 of Topic Notes 3 (pdf file). Stop reading when you reach Example 31.
As we know from the beginning of Section ‘Relevant Evidence’, in relation to Example 29 (p.12) there could be further evidence which, without contradicting the premises, would prevent the inference in Example 29 from being a rational one.
Is the same true in relation to Example 29* below That is: Could there be further evidence which, without contradicting the premises, would prevent the inference in Example 29* from being a rational one

Example 29*:

(P 1)  100% of women are under 700 cm tall.
(P2)   Mary is a woman.
(C)    So Mary is under 700 cm tall.

(a)    Yes
(b)    No

Question 3. (1.5 POINTS)
Is the inference in Example 29* deductively valid

(a)    Yes
(b)     No

Question 4. (1.5 POINTS)
Select the correct continuation of the statement below:
In an inference with a probability of 43%,
(a) the premises support the conclusion to some extent but not as strongly as in an inference with a probability 68%
(b) the premises support neither the conclusion nor its negation
(c) the premises support the negation of the conclusion
(d) the premises support both the conclusion and its negation

PART II   ARGUMENT EVALUATION
Question 5. (22 POINTS)
Analyse and evaluate the argument that is contained in the passage below .
In particular, do the following:
Step 1: Answer the question ‘What am I being asked to accept or believe’ In the light of your answer, find the author’s main conclusion.
Step 2: Answer the following questions
{2.1} ‘Are there good grounds for accepting this conclusion’
{2.2} ‘Does it cohere with my existing knowledge’
{2.3} ‘Is there counter-evidence for the claim expressed in this conclusion’
Step 3: Find the premises from which the main conclusion is immediately inferred – that is, the premises which seem pretty obviously to be immediate reasons why you should accept the conclusion
Step 4: Write down the inference from the premises found at Step 3 to the main conclusion
Step 5: In relation to the inference mentioned in Step 4, answer the following questions
{5.1} ‘Are the premises of the inference true’
{5.2} ‘Does this premise (those premises) provide an acceptable degree of support for the conclusion’
{5.3} ‘Does the information or evidence that the author adduces in favour of this premise (those premises) seem plausible, given my background knowledge about the area’
{5.4} ‘Is there counter-evidence for the claims expressed by this premise (those premises)’
Step 6: In the light of the results of your Steps 1 to 5, decide whether to accept or reject the main conclusion and then give a brief explanation of your decision.

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It seems to me to be clear that there is really no such thing as crime, as the word is generally understood. Every activity of man should come under the head of “behavior.” In studying crime we are merely investigating a certain kind of human behavior. Human beings act in response to outside stimuli. How they act depend on the nature, strength, and inherent character of their bodies and minds and the habits, customs, inhibitions and experiences that environment gives them. Human beings are in no sense the makers of themselves, and they have no more power than any machine to escape the law of cause and effect. They do as they must. Therefore, there is no such thing as moral responsibility in the sense in which this expression is ordinarily used.

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Evaluation Scheme for Question 5

Maximum mark
1    Answer the question ‘What am I being asked to accept or believe’ In the light of your answer, find the author’s main conclusion.    3.2
2    Answer the following questions <…>    4.9
3    Find the premises from which the main conclusion is immediately inferred – that is, the premises which seem pretty obviously to be immediate reasons why you should accept the conclusion    3.3
4    Write down the inference from the premises found at Step 3 to the main conclusion    2.4
5    In relation to the inference mentioned in Step 4, answer the following questions<…>    3.3
6    In the light of the results of your Steps 1 to 5, decide whether to accept or reject the main conclusion and then give a brief explanation of your decision.    4.9
Total maximum mark:    22

One more activity you may wish to do in connection with Question 5

Dear   Student,

It may well be that in the course of your work on analysis and evaluation of the argument in Question 5, you have noticed some features (strengths, weaknesses, peculiarities, etc.) of the argument at issue that you thought were relevant for your work of analysis and evaluation but you did not quite know where to write down your observations because they went beyond the six aspects mentioned in the evaluation scheme.

If this is the case, you are invited to make any points that you think are relevant for the task of analysis and evaluation of the argument and send them to the marker as a special attachment to your work. (Don’t bother about the format of such an attachment. The marker will accept any legible format. Just name it ‘My further thoughts on the argument in Q5’.)

Any points on perceived weaknesses, strengths, peculiarities of the argument at issue; on the problems you met when working on its analysis and evaluation are welcome. Especially welcome are any suggestions on how this argument can be improved (if you think it is not good enough as it is).

The assessment status of this activity is as follows:
[i] The activity is strictly optional – you will not be penalised if you choose not to get engaged in it.
[ii] By engaging in this activity, you cannot deteriorate you mark for this assignment; you can only improve it or leave it unaffected.

The pedagogical rationale of this activity is to give you more opportunities to show your expertise, analytical skills and intellectual initiative than the rigid evaluation scheme allows.
The marker is entitled to add from 0 to 3.5 extra points for your thoughts and suggestions that you may send to him/her in your attachment ‘My further thoughts on the argument in Q5’. The criterion of assessment is simple: it is the degree of relevance of your ideas to analysis and evaluation of the argument at issue.
To show how it may work: If your total mark for the six parts of the evaluation scheme is, say, 17.1 and your mark for ‘My further thoughts on the argument in Q5’ is 2.0, then your total mark for Question 5 is 19.1.
Of course, if your total mark for the six parts of the evaluation scheme is 22, then your total mark for Question 5 will remain 22 whatever the value of your attachment ‘My further thoughts on the argument in Q5.