Some questions on critical reasoning & genetic engineering

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Some questions on critical reasoning & genetic engineering

Postby ags01 » Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:00 am

Hello everyone,
I recently got interested in philosophy and am reading up on a few books this summer to familiarize myself with this field.
I am teaching myself from a book right now on Critical Reasoning and I need some help understanding a concept.
I came across an argument and I was wondering if anyone would be kind enough to help me out.

I was reading an article where the argument followed the pattern of 'Predicate Instantiation' and it stated,

Predicate Instantiation.
All P1's are P2's. m is a P1. Therefore, m is a P2.

P1: All new technologies that we can't/don't know all the potential ramifications of are radical and will create disruptions.
P2: Genetic engineering is a new technology that we don't know the potential ramifications of.
C: Genetic engineering is radical and will create disruptions.

Now I know for an argument to be sound it has to be valid and have all true premises. The above argument is valid in the sense that the conclusion follows from the premise but I am stuck on how to prove that Premise 1 is not always true.

The book I am reading said something about thinking of a situation where the antecedent is true but the consequent is false. I am stuck on this part. Can anyone help me understand or give an example of how I would prove Premise 1 to be false?

Again, I am learning this on my own from reading books which are confusing at times so if anyone can explain it to me in simpler terms, I would greatly appreciate it.
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Re: Some questions on critical reasoning & genetic engineeri

Postby Only_Humean » Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:39 pm

ags01 wrote:Now I know for an argument to be sound it has to be valid and have all true premises. The above argument is valid in the sense that the conclusion follows from the premise but I am stuck on how to prove that Premise 1 is not always true.

The book I am reading said something about thinking of a situation where the antecedent is true but the consequent is false. I am stuck on this part. Can anyone help me understand or give an example of how I would prove Premise 1 to be false?


You can think of a technological development that we couldn't/didn't know the ramifications of that was either not radical, or created no disruptions, or neither.

Otherwise, one accepts that all significant developments are radical and create disruptions - for certain contexts of the words "radical" and "disruption" this must be true, otherwise they wouldn't be significant. The task is then to see whether these disruptions were positive, negative, or mixed in what proportion. The language of the predicates and conclusion should also be carefully scrutinised, as one can almost always say the same thing in positive or negative terms - leading the witness.
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Re: Some questions on critical reasoning & genetic engineeri

Postby Moreno » Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:48 pm

As much as I agree in the case of genetic engineering, one could challenge the premise by attacking the word 'disruption'. This is a value laden word. Any widely used technology is going to change things, but disruptions are a kind of negative change. That these changes are not positive or neutral needs to be demonstrated.
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Re: Some questions on critical reasoning & genetic engineeri

Postby ags01 » Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:02 pm

Only_Humean wrote:You can think of a technological development that we couldn't/didn't know the ramifications of that was either not radical, or created no disruptions, or neither.


Okay, I think I'm kind of grasping it now. Would the case of smallpox be sufficient to falsify the premise? Because at that time smallpox was a new technological development and people didn't know all the potential ramifications of it but it turned out to not cause disruptions but instead was helpful in eradicating the disease?

Would the smallpox example be sufficient to falsify the premise and make the argument unsound? If not, can someone provide another example please?

Thanks again.
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Re: Some questions on critical reasoning & genetic engineeri

Postby Only_Humean » Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:57 pm

ags01 wrote:
Only_Humean wrote:You can think of a technological development that we couldn't/didn't know the ramifications of that was either not radical, or created no disruptions, or neither.


Okay, I think I'm kind of grasping it now. Would the case of smallpox be sufficient to falsify the premise? Because at that time smallpox was a new technological development and people didn't know all the potential ramifications of it but it turned out to not cause disruptions but instead was helpful in eradicating the disease?

Would the smallpox example be sufficient to falsify the premise and make the argument unsound? If not, can someone provide another example please?

Thanks again.


Vaccination against smallpox, you mean? If you take "disruption" as negative, then yes, I think there's a good argument you could make there. :)
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Re: Some questions on critical reasoning & genetic engineeri

Postby ags01 » Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:54 am

Only_Humean wrote:
Vaccination against smallpox, you mean? If you take "disruption" as negative, then yes, I think there's a good argument you could make there. :)


Yes, thank you for pointing that out, I meant to say vaccination against smallpox.
Are there any other examples that would falsify the premise? I'm having a brain freeze and unable to think of any at the moment.
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Re: Some questions on critical reasoning & genetic engineeri

Postby Moreno » Thu Aug 02, 2012 4:38 am

ags01 wrote:
Only_Humean wrote:
Vaccination against smallpox, you mean? If you take "disruption" as negative, then yes, I think there's a good argument you could make there. :)


Yes, thank you for pointing that out, I meant to say vaccination against smallpox.
Are there any other examples that would falsify the premise? I'm having a brain freeze and unable to think of any at the moment.

Why not start small...

like with 'the comb'.
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Re: Some questions on critical reasoning & genetic engineeri

Postby ags01 » Thu Aug 02, 2012 4:54 am

Moreno wrote:
ags01 wrote:
Yes, thank you for pointing that out, I meant to say vaccination against smallpox.
Are there any other examples that would falsify the premise? I'm having a brain freeze and unable to think of any at the moment.


Why not start small...

like with 'the comb'.


:lol: Good point but I meant more of like an example similar to something medical related.
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Re: Some questions on critical reasoning & genetic engineeri

Postby Only_Humean » Thu Aug 02, 2012 8:41 pm

ags01 wrote:
Only_Humean wrote:
Vaccination against smallpox, you mean? If you take "disruption" as negative, then yes, I think there's a good argument you could make there. :)


Yes, thank you for pointing that out, I meant to say vaccination against smallpox.
Are there any other examples that would falsify the premise? I'm having a brain freeze and unable to think of any at the moment.


Antibiotic development seems a significant one (unless you count MRSA as a disruption). Or the ability to collide large hadrons - so far, no black holes have sprung up to suck the Earth into themselves.
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Re: Some questions on critical reasoning & genetic engineeri

Postby Moreno » Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:09 pm

ags01 wrote:
Moreno wrote:
ags01 wrote:
Yes, thank you for pointing that out, I meant to say vaccination against smallpox.
Are there any other examples that would falsify the premise? I'm having a brain freeze and unable to think of any at the moment.


Why not start small...

like with 'the comb'.


:lol: Good point but I meant more of like an example similar to something medical related.
The stethoscope. The tongue depressor. The little knee reflex hammer thingy. Etc. You have to get creative to demonstrate those disrupted society. I could do it, but....
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