#### Asking the Right Questions 6/e -- Ch 6 notes

### Critical Question: What are the Descriptive Assumptions?

Descriptive assumptions --

Prescriptive or value assumptions --

Illustrating Descriptive Assumptions

We know that, by itself, a reason cannot support a
conclusion; the reason must be connected to the conclusion by certain
other (frequently unstated) ideas.

CAUTION: Remind yourself that the argument holds together in a
certain way only because certain assumptions were made.

REMEMBER:

Clues for Locating Assumptions

Your job in finding assumptions is to reconstruct the
reasoning by filling in the missing gaps.

"If the reason is true, what else must be true for the conclusion
to follow?"

"Supposing the reason(s) were true, is there any way in which the
conclusion nevertheless could be false?"

- Recognize the potential existence of other means of attaining
the advantages referred to in the reasons.

Applying the Clues

An example

CAUTION: If we have some questions about the accuracy of the
descriptive assumption, ask for justification. If inadequate
explanations is the only respons, reject the argument as
unconvincing.

Avoiding Analysis of Trivial Assumptions

Trivial Assumptions:

Evaluating Assumptions

After locating assumptions you must make an attempt to
determine whether the assumptions make sense.

If you have some basis for doubting the appropriateness of the
assumption, then it is fair to reject the reason or conclusion that
was propped up by that assumption.

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