Thinking Critically

Section 1: Argument Reconstruction
Question 1
The following argument has been numbered already. To indicate the important features of correct argumentation, please use the numbers to draw an arrow diagram that accurately reflects the flow of the argument.

(1) It is morally wrong to abolish the insanity defence against criminal responsibility, as some nations have done recently. It is wrong because (2) people who are insane cannot be held responsible for their actions and (3) it is wrong to punish someone who is not morally responsible for a criminal act. Besides that, (4) it is absolutely useless to punish those who are insane since (5) their punishment would have no deterrent effect whatsoever. (6) Those who are mentally sane would not be deterred by it, and (7) neither would those who are insane be deterred by it in any way. And last but not least, (8) abolishing the insanity defence would lead to increasingly overcrowded prisons since (9) those who would otherwise be put in a mental hospital will now be put in the normal prisons.
Question 2
Consider the following argument:
The problems between Israel and Palestine can be solved by UN-led negotiations if the USA stop their unconditional support for Israel. If the Jewish political influence in the USA remains strong, then the USA will not stop their unconditional support for Israel. If the Israel-Palestine problems are not solved by UN-led negotiations, then Israel and Palestine will have to work out their problems by themselves. We know that the Jewish political influence in the USA will remain strong for the foreseeable future. Aside from that, Israel and Palestine can work out their problems by themselves, or there will be an escalation of violence. We will therefore witness an escalation of violence in the Middle East.
Outline the arguments using critical thinking and reasoning by rewriting the argument using letters of your choice to stand for all the individual different statements, so that it follows recognisable deductive forms of argument. Then discuss if this is a valid argument by explaining how the argument moves from its premises to its conclusion. Locate the different types of fallacies in arguments and show how to avoid them. Finally, explain whether you think this argument is sound or not, by listing the differences between statements and non-statements to identify the relevant and non-relevant parts of arguments.

Section 2: Argument Analysis
Question 3
Read the following passage about Qatar’s treatment of foreign workers in preparation of the World Cup soccer in 2022: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-26260765
Then answer the following questions:
a. In your own words, describe what the final conclusion of the argument by the Indian and Qatari officials is, and what the reasons supporting it are. Please take note that the final conclusion may not be stated in the passage itself.
b. Identify what the strong points are of this argument, and what its weak points are. Demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses in different types of arguments and explain these strengths and weaknesses
c. You can choose to agree or disagree with the final conclusion of the argument. Based on your decision, try to defend and strengthen (if you agree) or attack and weaken (if you disagree) the argument with your own reasons.
Hint: your answer to Question 3 part (b) only points out strengths and weaknesses, but now you must build arguments towards your own conclusion.

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