Stage 2 philosophy assessment type 1: argument and analysis



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STAGE 2 PHILOSOPHY

ASSESSMENT TYPE 1: ARGUMENT AND ANALYSIS

Logic and Humour Argument Analysis

The reason why a cartoon or a joke is funny is because it presents an argument about our knowledge of the world as we understand it. Some cartoons or jokes use assumed premises that you recognise as you read them, then surprise you with alternative conclusions. It is this surprise that makes you laugh.


T
Reasoning and Argument Insightful and coherent explanation of the flow of logic and evidence of argument (analogy) based on the cartoon leading to the conclusion.
he cartoon “A Brief History of Religion” uses argument by analogy. It shows you two cavemen in a scene where you make the assumed premise that the Sacred Stone is God. The humour is in the analogy. The fanatical worship of the stone is taking a stab at fanatical religious beliefs. The worshiper in this analogy represents all fanatical religious people. In the first section when he is worshiping the stone, the stone changes to represent a high priest. When he asks the second caveman to join him, he wants to become the head worshiper and gain power. The cartoon highlights the fact that as the stone is used to kill the ‘Blasphemer’, it is therefore an analogy of all the religious wars. For example; the crusades and other murders committed by religious people against those who do not share their faith. The last section has the first caveman saying “he deserved that, oh holy one, he was an infidel”. So this is an analogy of the way that religious fanatics justify their slaughtering. The joke doesn’t use an alternative conclusion because it doesn’t need to. The expected conclusion of this joke (i.e. believe what I believe or die), doesn’t take away from the humour, instead it adds to it.
A
Critical Analysis Perceptive critical analysis of the strengths of humour which uses assumed premises or equivocation but with unexpected logic.
nother example of an assumed premise is with the following joke;
Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you’re a mile away and you have their shoes.”
While you are reading this joke (which is based on a famous quote), the assumed premise is that the conclusion is going to make you understand the other person’s point of view. The next assumed premise is that if you are a mile away then you are far enough away that they can’t get back at you for your criticism, and by the way if you have their shoes as well, then they really cannot follow you easily to retaliate. The entire joke rests on surprising you with its alternative conclusion.


Communication

Accurate, consistent, and discerning use of philosophical terminology.

A different way of presenting humour in jokes is when equivocation is used. The following is an example of a joke which uses equivocation to make it funny;


‘‘The blonde was broke and desperate. She knocked on the door of a doctor’s house and said she needed money and would be willing to work for it. The doctor asked if she would be willing to paint his porch. He would give her $50 to do it.

The blonde said that would be fine. The doctor’s wife said the blonde must be really dumb to do such a big job for only $50, “Does she realize that the porch goes all the way around the house?” the wife asked. “I guess so,” the doctor told his wife. A few minutes later, the blonde knocked on the door. ‘AlI done,’ she said, “and by the way, it’s not a porch, it’s a Ferrari” “.
The joke uses a generalisation about the stereotypical behaviour of people with blonde hair. When you read the doctor’s wife’s comment that “the blonde must be really dumb to do such a big job for only $50”, your understanding of that generalization makes you agree that the blonde does sound pretty foolish. The joke sets you up to expect the conclusion to be that the blonde paints the porch for $50. Unexpectedly the joke presents you with an alternative conclusion as well as an equivocation. You find out that instead of painting the porch she has painted their car, so despite the blonde’s misunderstanding of the instructions, the doctor got his just deserts.

Critical Analysis Perceptive critical analysis of humour based on premises, conclusions, logic, deductive and inductive argument.

Reasoning and Argument

Insightful and coherent explanation of the flow of logic and evidence of argument leading to the conclusion.




A doctor at an insane asylum decided to take his inmates to a baseball game. For weeks in advance he coached his patients to respond to his commands. When the day of the game arrived, everything seemed to be going well. As the national anthem started, the doctor yelled, “Up nuts!” and the inmates complied by standing up. After the anthem he yelled, “Down Nuts!” and they all sat. After a home run he yelled “Cheer nuts!” and they all broke into applause and cheers. Thinking things were going very well, he decided to go get a beer and a hot dog Ieaving his assistant in charge. When he returned there was a riot in progress. Finding his assistant, he asked what happened. The assistant replied, “Everything was fine until some guy walked by and yelled, “PEANUTS!”
The argument of this joke falls into two premises and a conclusion;
Pl. The doctor coached his patients to respond to his commands.
P2. At the game they obeyed his commands and only did what he told them to do.
C. (assumed conclusion) Therefore if the doctor left them with his assistant for the short period of time that it would take him to get a hotdog and beer everything would be fine.
The argument appeared to be deductive because the conclusion was contained within the premises. However when a new premise was added it changed the conclusion so it was impossible for it be deductive. The argument was now inductive in nature because the new premises could, and had, lead to a different conclusion. The argument of the joke turned out like this;
P1. The doctor had coached his patients to respond to his commands.
P2. At the game they obeyed only his commands.
P3. Anyone who walked past and gave a command of any sort that ended in nut could result in them faultlessly obeying that command.
C. Someone walking past yelling peanuts could result in the asylum inmates peeing.
Both arguments are cogent because their conclusions follow logically from the premises.
Word Count 999


Additional Comments



  • Overall communication of philosophical positions is consistently clear, coherent, and fluent, with appropriate conventions consistently observed. (Communication)



Performance Standards for Stage 2 Philosophy





Knowledge and Understanding

Reasoning and Argument

Critical Analysis

Communication

A

Consistently clear and perceptive knowledge and understanding of philosophical issues and positions.

In-depth and well-informed understanding of reasons and arguments used by philosophers on issues and positions.



Insightful and coherent explanation of the philosophical nature of issues and positions.

Insightful and coherent explanation of the flow of logic and evidence of arguments leading to conclusions.

Coherent and convincing formulation and defence of positions taken.



Perceptive critical analysis of strengths and weaknesses of philosophical assumptions, positions, and arguments.

Consistently clear, coherent, and fluent communication of philosophical issues and positions, with appropriate conventions consistently observed.

Accurate, consistent, and discerning use of philosophical terminology, with appropriate acknowledgement of sources.

B

Clear and thoughtful knowledge and understanding of philosophical issues and positions.

Well-informed understanding of reasons and arguments used by philosophers on issues and positions.



Thoughtful and clear explanation of the philosophical nature of issues and positions.

Thoughtful and clear explanation of the flow of logic and evidence of arguments leading to conclusions.

Convincing formulation and defence of positions taken.


Well-considered critical analysis of strengths and weaknesses of philosophical assumptions, positions, and arguments.

Clear and coherent communication of philosophical issues and positions, with appropriate conventions mostly observed.

Mostly accurate and relevant use of philosophical terminology, with appropriate acknowledgement of sources.



C

Generally clear knowledge and understanding of philosophical issues and positions.

Informed understanding of some reasons and arguments used by philosophers on issues and positions.



Considered and generally clear explanation of the philosophical nature of issues and positions.

Considered and generally clear explanation of the flow of logic and evidence of arguments leading to conclusions.

Considered formulation and defence of positions taken.


Considered analysis of some strengths and weaknesses of philosophical assumptions, positions, and arguments.

Competent communication of philosophical issues and positions, with some appropriate conventions observed.

Generally appropriate use of philosophical terminology, with mostly appropriate acknowledgement of sources.



D

Some recognition and awareness of a few philosophical issues and positions.

Identification of some reasons or arguments used by philosophers on an issue and/or a position.



Partial or superficial description of the philosophical nature of one or more issues and/or positions.

Some consideration of evidence of arguments leading to conclusions.

Partial formulation and defence of positions taken.


Some description of strengths and weaknesses of philosophical assumptions, positions, and/or arguments.

Partial communication of aspects of a philosophical issue and/or position, with inconsistent use of a limited range of appropriate conventions.

Use of a limited range of appropriate philosophical terminology, with some appropriate acknowledgement of sources.



E

Emerging recognition of what is philosophical in an issue or position.

Attempted identification of elements of a reason or argument used by a philosopher on an issue or a position.



Attempted description of the nature of a philosophical issue or position.

Emerging awareness of the need to use evidence to develop an argument or position.

Emerging awareness of one or more elements of a good argument.


Identification of a strength or weakness of a philosophical assumption, position, or argument.

Attempted communication of an aspect of a philosophical issue or position.

Limited use of any philosophical terminology, with limited acknowledgement of sources.





Page of Stage 2 Philosophy annotated student work for use from 2011

(August 2010)



© SACE Board of South Australia 2010


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