Ex 2 Answers

a. Either it will rain or it will snow.
If neither rain nor snow are on the horizon, then the claim that we will get either wet or cold will not be true. The claim can only be true if these are the only two possibilities. That needs to be made explicit in the argument by the addition of the hidden premise.

(Now go back to the exercise and try the next question)

b. The hidden assumption is that causes determine their effects.
Even if it is true that every event has a cause, it does not follow that all human actions are determined by past events, since ‘having a cause’ and ‘being determined’ are not equivalent ideas. For example, my going to a restaurant may be caused by my being hungry, but it is possible for me to be hungry and not go to a restaurant. Therefore, being hungry causes, but does not determine, that I go to a restaurant. In the argument in b., even if the premises are true, the argument only has the valid conclusion that every human action has a cause. That conclusion does not prove one way or the other whether human actions are determined by the past, for my action may be caused by some prior event and still not be determined by it. To say that an event determines an action is to say that it makes that action a necessary or inevitable occurrence.

(Now go back to the exercise and try the next question)

c. The hidden assumption is that consciousness is an effect of computational processing.
The idea that the conscious awareness is simply a side-effect of brains performing a vast number of computational processes is, to say the least, controversial. Authors such as John Searle (notably in his ‘Chinese Room Argument’), Frank Jackson (in ‘Epiphenomenal Qualia’) and Thomas Nagel (‘What is it like to be a bat?’) have offered various arguments that would count against this view.

(Now go back to the exercise and try the next question)

d. The hidden assumption here is that the examples given (‘growing hair’, ‘feeling hungry’ etc) are examples of human behaviour.
Ordinarily, we would describe these as involuntary physiological events, whereas ‘behaviour’ normally refers to actions that we can choose, or not, to perform.

(Now go back to the exercise and try the next question)

e. There are several hidden assumptions of different levels of significance here, depending on one’s viewpoint.
This is just the kind of argument that pervades public discourse, often without sufficient critical thought. Here are at least three you might have come up with:

i. Human lives are more valuable than animal lives.
ii. Preventing non-fatal human suffering (such as a temporary illness) is intrinsically more important than preventing the loss of life of an indefinite number of laboratory animals.
iii. Testing on animals is the only way to effectively test how safe a drug is for human consumption.

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