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Critical Thinking Assessment and The President of Good and Evil The Ethics of George W. Bush.

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This exercise consists of eight questions and is worth 25% of the final grade. Please email your work with a cover sheet to arts-phil-flex@monash.edu Do not forget to include (a) your name; (b) your student ID; (c) your unit code and (d) the task number (1) Put the argument from the following passage into standard form and construct an argument map diagram. There is no need to include unstated premises (assumptions) in your answer. (20 marks) Admittedly, there are gaps in what we know about global warming, for example how much of the rise in temperatures is due to natural caus...

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This exercise consists of eight questions and is worth 25% of the final grade. Please email your work with a cover sheet to arts-phil-flex@monash.edu Do not forget to include (a) your name; (b) your student ID; (c) your unit code and (d) the task number (1) Put the argument from the following passage into standard form and construct an argument map diagram. There is no need to include unstated premises (assumptions) in your answer. (20 marks) Admittedly, there are gaps in what we know about global warming, for example how much of the rise in temperatures is due to natural causes, how fast our planet is likely to warm, and what impact some of our actions could have. Officials in the Bush administration have suggested that given these uncertainties, costly measures to reduce climate change, such as those required to comply with Kyoto Protocol are unjustified. From Peter Singer. The President of Good and Evil: The Ethics of George W. Bush. (2) For each of the following short arguments; (a) represent the form of the argument, making sure you indicate what the schematic letters stand for and (b) say whether the argument is deductively valid or invalid. (3 marks each, for a total of 12 marks) (i) Some doctors lead unhappy and stressful lives and people who are unhappy and stressed have trouble maintaining relationships. Thus, some doctors have trouble maintaining relationships. (ii) Antibiotics are only useful against bacterial infections. Viruses are not bacterial infections, so antibiotics are not useful against viruses. (iii) Bottled water is environmentally damaging. Bottled water produces lots of non- ATS2946 Critical Thinking pg. 1 of 6 (3) biodegradable plastic refuse and anything that produces such refuse is bad for the environment. (iv) Whenever the indicator light turns red, there is a fault in the fuel pump. However, since the indicator light did not turn red, the fault cannot be in the fuel pump. Read the information from the two sources below, which concern a dispute concerning the safety of the chemical triclosan. Write a short evaluation of the credibility of each source with regard to this issue. (20 marks; 100-200 words for each source) Source #1: The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, safecosmetics.org Triclosan is a commonly used antimicrobial agent that accumulates in our bodies and has been linked to hormone disruption and the emergence of bacteria resistant to antibodies and antibacterial products. Triclosan is an antimicrobial agent found in a wide variety of antibacterial soaps and detergents, as well as in many deodorants, toothpastes, cosmetics, fabrics and plastics. There is evidence that triclosan is an endocrine disruptor and impacts thyroid function and thyroid homeostasis. A 2009 study found that triclosan decreased thyroid hormone concentrations [1]. Since 2000, a number of studies have found microorganisms that are resistant to triclosan, and there is mounting evidence linking the use of triclosan with the promotion of bacteria that are resistant to both antibiotic medications and antibacterial products [2,3]. Because triclosan’s mode of action and target site in bacteria are similar to those of antibiotics, there are concerns that bacteria that become resistant to triclosan will also become resistant to antibiotics. A 2010 report by the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety determined that even low concentrations of triclosan can trigger antibiotic resistance in bacteria [4]. References [1] Zorrilla, L., et al (2009). The effects of Triclosan on Puberty and Thyroid Hormones in Male Wistar Rats. Toxicological Sciences. 107(1) 56-64. [2] Heath, R., et al (2000). Inhibition of the Staphylococcus aureus NADPH-dependent enoyl-acyl carrier protein reductase by triclosan and hexchlorophene. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 275: 654-59. ATS2946 Critical Thinking pg. 2 of 6 [3] Aiello, A.E., et al (2005). Antibacterial Cleaning Products and Drug Resistance. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 11(10) [4] SCCS (Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety), Preliminary opinion on triclosan antimicrobial resistance), 23 March, 2010. European Commission, Brussels. Background information on Source #1 The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics describes themselves as “a broad-based coalition, housed at the Breast Cancer Fund, working to clean up the beauty aisle through public advocacy and market campaigns designed to eliminate dangerous chemicals linked to cancer, reproductive harm and other adverse health impacts from cosmetics and personal care products. The Campaign’s steering committee is made up of the Breast Cancer Fund, the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow (represented by Clean Water Action), Friends of the Earth, and Women’s Voices for the Earth.” Source #2: Angela Logomasini, The Green Campaign Against Triclosan is Dangerous and Regressive: Efforts to Ban Widely Used Antibiotic Tackles Phantom Risks Environmental activists have sounded the alarm suggesting that consumers face serious health risks from the antibacterial chemical triclosan, which manufacturers have safely used in soap and other personal care products for decades. Unfortunately, green hype has led federal regulators to force companies to try to do the impossible—prove that their products pose no risk or remove them from the market. But nothing in life is risk free. Rather, the question is whether products provide more benefits than risks, which is clearly the case with the chemical triclosan. Triclosan has been used widely for more than 40 years, and there is no hard evidence of triclosan-caused cancers, health problems, or creation of triclosan- resistant bacteria affecting human health. For example, the claim that triclosan disrupts human thyroid functioning is based on a study where researchers dosed rats with high amounts of the chemical, which has little relevance to humans exposed to trace amounts in the environment. [1] Similar rodent studies also find that many naturally occurring chemicals found in food cause health problems when given to rats and mice in high doses, including such foods as broccoli, coffee, pickles, and more. [2] We do not need an FDA review of these foods to know they are safe to eat and that these ATS2946 Critical Thinking pg. 3 of 6 rodent studies are not particularly relevant to human health risks from trace chemicals. Claims suggesting that triclosan significantly contributes to antibiotic resistance among medicines are also unfounded. It is not clear how much effect triclosan has on resistance of any kind. Privately conducted research has already provided significant assurance that triclosan is unlikely to pose significant health risks. [3] Greens might suggest that industry research is tainted because it is motivated by profit, but those incentives actually improve the quality of private research. Private firms risk their very survival if their products do harm— which gives them far stronger incentives than that of unaccountable bureaucrats and government-funded researchers who never experience direct consequences for their decisions or research findings. References [1] Crofton, KM; Paul, KB; DeVito, MJ; Hedge, JM, “Short-term in Vivo Exposure to the Water Contaminant Triclosan: Evidence for disruption of thyroxine?” Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology, Vol. 24 (2007.): pp. 194–197. [2] For example, see National Research Council, Committee on Comparative Toxicology of Naturally Occurring Carcinogens, Carcinogens and Anticarcinogens in the Human Diet: A Comparison of Naturally Occurring and Synthetic Substances (Washington DC: National Academies Press, 1996), http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=0309053919. [3] See the numerous studies posted on this industry website: http://www.fightgermsnow.com/science-antibacterial-hand-soaps-antimicrobial- triclocarban-antibiotic-resistance-hygience-hands-sanitizer. Background information on Source #2. Angela Logomasini is employed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). The CEI describes itself as follows: “The Competitive Enterprise Institute is a non-profit public policy organization dedicated to advancing the principles of limited government, free enterprise, and individual liberty. Our mission is to promote both freedom and fairness by making good policy good politics. We make the uncompromising case for economic freedom because we believe it is essential for entrepreneurship, innovation, and prosperity to flourish.” ATS2946 Critical Thinking pg. 4 of 6 (4) Supposing that the premises in the following argument are true, do they support the conclusion? Briefly explain your answer. (4 marks) 95% of brand X laptop computers made at a certain factory are faulty. My brand X laptop is not faulty however, so it is unlikely it was made at that particular factory. (5) Put the following argument into standard form and identify at least one unstated premise (assumption) that is required by the argument. (4 marks) No computer will ever be able to do everything that some human minds can do, for there are some problems that cannot be solved by following any set of mechanically applicable rules. Yet computers can only solve problems by following some set of mechanically applicable rules. (6) Read the following report which describes the results of a survey about the study habits of Monash university students. Identify the sample, population and target property and comment on whether the survey supports the conclusion drawn in the report. (10 marks; 100-200 words). A questionnaire about study habits was given to a random sample of students taking a large introductory philosophy unit at Monash University. The sample of 50 students reported that they spent on average 90 minutes per week studying for the unit at home. It was calculated that the margin of error due to sampling variation for this estimate was plus or minus 6 minutes. Therefore, we can be confident that the true average amount of time students in this unit spend studying outside class is between 84 and 96 minutes per week. (7) Assuming the premises in the following argument are true, do they support the conclusion that there is a causal link between the art therapy program and the reduction in behavioural problems in children? Explain your answer. (10 marks) A study looked at group of 250 children aged 8-11 years old who had been diagnosed with extreme behavioural problems such as violent tantrums. The children were given art therapy over a period of six weeks. At the end of the six week period, independent ATS2946 Critical Thinking pg. 5 of 6 observers assessed the children and only 50 of them (20%) showed behavioural problems. The researchers concluded that art therapy can play a significant role in reducing behavioural problems in children. (8) Read the following article from a policy magazine and represent the main argument in standard form, including an argument map diagram. Then write an evaluation of the whole argument. (300-400 words). For each part of the argument, consider the following questions: 1. Support: If the premises were true, would they provide a good reason to accept the conclusion? 2. Truth: Are the premises true? Explain your answers. If you do not know whether a premise is true, you should explain what kind of evidence would be relevant. How could you find out whether the premise was true or not? What kind of source could you use to check? (20 marks) Some foreign publications have been unduly critical of the United States’ failure to pay its U.N. dues. I believe that the United States is justified in withholding its U.N. dues. At last twice, the Soviets have withheld theirs when they did not approve of U.N. policies (peace actions in Egypt and what is now Zaire). The foreign press did not get very worked up about it. U.N. members have constantly found fault with the U.S. They abuse us on the one hand and expect handouts on the other. Parents of adolescents face similar problems. I personally never insist on respect from anybody, but those who did not give it to me need not bother asking me for any financial help. Letter from the World Press Review, 1988

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