biomedical ethics Flashcards

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two parts of an argument

premise and conclusion


An argument is _____ if it is valid, and
its premise (or premises) are true.






prove or demonstrate a conclusion



when trying to support a conclusion use



most common of all mistakes in reasoning; rests on confusion between qualities of the person making a claim and claim itself

ad hominem fallacy


when you try to support a prove or claim



part of an argument you try to support



part of an argument that does the supporting



argument can have how many conclusions?



question thats been raised



true if you think its true

subjective judgement


truth is independent of what you think

objective judgement


judges the merit or praiseworthiness or desirability of someone or something

value judgement


an argument is ___ if it isn't possible for the premise to be true and the conclusion false.



“People in Hegins, Pennsylvania, hold an annual pigeon shoot in order to control the
pigeon population and to raise money for the town. This year, the pigeon shoot wasdisrupted by animal rights activists who tried to release the pigeons from their cages. I can’t help but think these animal rights activists are the same people who believe in controlling the human population through the use of abortion. Yet, they recoil at asimilar means of controlling pigeons. What rank hypocrisy.”—Rush Limbaugh

Ad Hominem


“Listen, Higgins. I need your vote in the next department election or I may not get
elected chair. Remember, if I do get elected, it will be me who decides what hours yourclasses meet next year.”

argument by force


“It really gripes me to see Bill Clinton talking about how cigarette smoking is a big
contributor to public health costs. You want to know how much you can trust him onthat subject? Well, even he himself admits to smoking cigars!”

Ad hominem (inconsistency)


“The administration’s proposal to declare hundreds of thousands of acres of federal landas ‘roadless areas’ is a huge mistake, and I’m against it. The whole point of the proposal—and it will succeed if the President gets his way—is to lock the American people out of those areas.”

straw man


“I don’t believe we ought to believe the so-called ‘admissions’ of the Liggett and Myers Company. I think the only reason they’re now agreeing with tobacco critics about the addictive powers of nicotine and the nicotine-level manipulation by the company is to get themselves off the hook and avoid bigger trouble, even if it means getting the other tobacco companies into bigger trouble.”

Ad hominem (circumstantial)


“Of course the Task Force on Crime is going to conclude that crime is on the way up. Ifthey conclude it’s on the way down, they’d have to disband the task force, wouldn’t

ad hominem or genetic fallacy


“The police asked the neighbors on both sides of the Owens’s home whether they’d ever seen either of them do any drugs. They all agreed they hadn’t, so it’s a pretty safe bet they aren’t really drug users.”

misplaced burden of proof


“The problem isn’t really with banning assault weapons; heck, I personally think it’s
stupid to want to own an assault weapon. The problem is that, once the government realizes that an assault weapons ban is not resulting in fewer gunshot victims, it will turn to semi-automatic weapons and require registration of them. But, of course, thatwon’t reduce the number of victims either. We might finally get to a point where there are no more gunshot victims, but it’ll only be after all guns have been banned and the ones out there now have all turned to rust.”

slippery slope


When several people in Harvey’s department get new computers, he is annoyed because he is not among them. “I’ll tell you what,” Harvey says to his wife, “if they want to rip me off by not getting a new computer for me, I’ll just rip them off for extra office supplies. They’ve got a lot of stuff at work we could use around here, and they’ll have no way of knowing that it’s gone. Turnabout’s fair play.”

two wrongs


“Look, the governor’s office is supposed to list chemicals that are suspected to be poisonous, but let’s not put them on the list officially until we know for sure that they’re harmful. Otherwise, we just cause a lot of unnecessary trouble for the people who make and use the chemicals.”

misplaced burden of proof (special circumstances-high proof)


You saw what the former governor of Illinois did: He declared a moratorium on executions in the state. It was a good thing, too, because it turns out that a large number of the inmates on death row had to be turned loose because DNA evidence proved them innocent beyond a shadow of a doubt. It’s about time we got serious about the fact that we’ve been convicting innocent people and sentencing them to death.

no fallacy


No, I do NOT believe that a murderer ought to be allowed to live. No way! Murderers have forfeited the right to live because anyone who murders another person has lost that right.

begging the question


No, I do NOT believe that a murderer has a right to live, and here’s why: The criminal justice system in this country has gotten completely out of control, what with rapists,murderers, you name it—all getting off scot-free. It’s got to change!

red herring


No, I don’t believe we ought to reinstate the death penalty in this state. Doing it isn’t
going to prevent all crime, and you know it.

perfectionist fallacy


You show me when a fetus wasn’t a person, just show me! Tell me exactly when it is.When the baby is born? Well, why not just a day before that? Or the day before that? Or the day before that? Where you gonna draw the line? You gotta say life begins with conception.

line drawing


Gays in the military? Either let ’em in, or keep out all minorities; take your choice. I’m
for letting them in. The alternative is ridiculous.

false dilemma


Gays in the military? Yes. There are no valid grounds for opposing the measure, as can be seen in the fact that policies of nondiscrimination to gays are common practice throughout Western democracies.

common practice


“The second group that has latched on to the environmentalist movement . . . wants to preserve the earth at all costs, even if it means that much of the Third World will be forever condemned to poverty. Rather than elevate the Third World, they want to moveus closer to Third World conditions. That’s somehow cleaner, purer. It’s the way thingswere before Western white people came along and terrorized the earth by inventingthings. They want to roll us back, maybe not to the Stone Age, but at least to the horse-and-buggy era.”—Rush Limbaugh

straw man or ad hominem


Who cares if the president was guilty of sexual harassment? He got some progress made in terms of jobs, health care, and welfare reform. Those are the important issues!



The next speaker is going to speak in favor of the idea. But she works for the gun lobby.Don’t even bother listening to what she says.

poisoning the well


No, I don’t believe that Uncle Bob is really gone forever. He was like a father to me,and I believe that someday, somehow or other, we’ll see one another again; I don’t think I could go on if I didn’t believe that.

wishful thinking


You know very well I don’t care what Mason says about investments or, for that matter,anything else. That guy is the most money-grubbing creep I’ve ever run into; all he ever cares about is where his next dollar is coming from. He can take his opinions and stick‘em in his ear.

ad hominem (personal attack)


Listen, friends, it’s our money the board of supervisors wants to spend putting sewers and other improvements out there in that Antelope Creek development. And you know
who’s going to profit from it the most? The developers, who don’t even live aroundhere. I tell you, we have sat back and done nothing long enough! It’s high time we told these out-of-town interlopers or antelopers or whatever they are to go mess with somebody else’s town. I won’t stand for it any more!

argument from outrage


Letter to the editor: “Your food section frequently features recipes with veal, and you
say veal is a wholesome, nutritious dish. I disagree. Do you know how veal comes to beon your plate? At birth a newborn calf is separated from its mother, placed in a darkenclosure, and chained by its neck so that it cannot move freely. This limits musculardevelopment so that the animal is tender. It is kept in the dark pen until the day it iscruelly slaughtered.”
—Cascade News

argument from pity


Frankly, I don’t think you would be satisfied with anything less than our Model 24,
which allows for more expansion than any other personal computer in its class. The way you catch on to things—something I can tell just from the questions you’ve asked herein the store—you’re not going to be happy with a machine whose limits you’ll soon reach.

apple polishing


Are you telling me that you’re twenty-one years old and still a virgin? I’d keep quiet about that if I were you—you’d be the laughingstock of the dorm if that were widely known.

peer pressure


I don’t think postmodern expressionism is decent art. It’s another style spawned by the East Coast art establishment, and, frankly, I’m tired of that group’s dictating to the rest of the art world.

genetic fallacy


From a letter to the editor: “They’re wrong again, the doctors who say that the sun
causes cancer. The four substances for all life are water, food, air, and sun. Everybody knows the sun opens the pores of your skin to release poisons; it cannot cause cancer.Cancer is caused by the toxins man puts in the air, not by sunlight.”
—Cascade News

argument from popularity


“To the people who brought you ‘The Great American Smokeout,’ we make The Great
American Challenge. We challenge the American Cancer Society to clean up the air inits ‘smoke free’ offices. We are willing to bet there isn’t much cigarette smoking at
American Cancer Society offices. But, according to a recent study from the National
Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), cigarette smoke also wasn’t the
problem in 98 percent of 203 buildings reported to have indoor air problems. . . . Indoorair inspections resulting from worker complaints typically find viruses, fungal spores,bacteria, gases, closed fresh air ducts, and ventilation systems in need of maintenance.”—Full-page ad in USA Today, sponsored by the Tobacco Institute



PROF: I gave you a D on your essay because your grammar was faulty and your
organization was difficult to follow.
STUDENT: That’s just your opinion!

subjectivist fallacy


Sure, I’ve been irritable today, but I actually did a good thing for Zanja when I told him
he’s an annoying person who always hangs around us like a leech. It’s not because I’m in a bad mood; I’m actually doing him a kindness.



There must be a God. After all, people and cultures have always believed in some sort of a deity going back to the beginning of humankind.

argument from tradition


You know that hiring me for this job is the right thing to do, Dennis. Just think how
horrible you’ll feel if you knew that you threw your best friend back onto

guilt trip