Critical Reasoning in Ethics: A Practical Introduction by Anne Thomson

By Anne Thomson

I actually desired to like this ebook on moral reasoning. It easily does not connect to the reader - might be it is the British approach, yet there is little useful connection of the $64000 idea of ethics to lifestyle. possibly different graduate-level textbooks on ethics aren't any greater, i would not be aware of. yet after interpreting of Thomson's books, i'd say there must be.

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Example text

Other devices in reasoning Analogies or comparisons Amongst the assumptions which can underlie someone’s reasoning, we often find an assumption that two objects or two situations or two cases are comparable, so that whatever we can conclude in the one case, we are also entitled to conclude in the other case. Sometimes these analogies are quite explicit. For example, someone may claim that animals are like people, in that they can experience pain and they can form emotional attachments, so if we should not kill people, neither should we kill animals.

This view gains reinforcement from another distinction – that between arguments which are deductively valid, and those which are not. It is necessary to explain exactly what is meant by ‘deductively valid’. Although in everyday conversation it is quite common to talk about statements being ‘valid’ – by which we mean that the statement is true – in the field of logic the word ‘valid’ cannot apply to statements, but only to arguments. When we describe an argument as deductively valid, we are not saying that the reasons and the conclusion are true.

But suppose we wish to make a true statement about the following situation. The children are sitting on the cat. We know they are hurting the cat; one of them utters shouts of glee as he bounces up and down on the animal; the other squashes the cat with a determined and malevolent expression on her face. How should we accurately describe this? If we were to say ‘The children are being cruel to the cat’, we would be making an evaluative statement, since ‘cruel’ carries the connotation that they are deliberately doing something they should not be doing, namely, hurting the cat.

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