1. An ‘intellectual virtue’ can be defined as a habit of cognitive activity that is conducive to the acquisition of true belief. Read the excerpt in the text box below and identify one intellectual virtue from the selection, relating your answer to the text selection and explaining why it fits the definition of an intellectual virtue.
When we consider either the history of opinion, or the ordinary conduct of human life, to what is it to be ascribed that the one and the other are no worse than they are? Not certainly to the inherent force of the human understanding; for, on any matter not self-evident, there are ninety nine persons totally incapable of judging of it for one who is capable; and the capacity of the hundredth person is only comparative; for the majority of the eminent men of every past generation held many opinions now known to be erroneous, and did or approved numerous things which no one will now justify. Why is it, then, that there is on the whole a preponderance among mankind of rational opinions and rational conduct? If there really is this preponderance which there must be unless human affairs are, and have always been, in an almost desperate state it is owing to a quality of the human mind, the source of everything respectable in man either as an intellectual or as a moral being, namely, that his errors are corrigible. He is capable of rectifying his mistakes, by discussion and experience. Not by experience alone. There must be discussion, to show how experience is to be interpreted. Wrong opinions and practices gradually yield to fact and argument; but facts and arguments, to produce any effect on the mind, must be brought before it. Very few facts are able to tell their own story, without comments to bring out their meaning. The whole strength and value, then, of human judgment, depending on the one property, that it can be set right when it is wrong, reliance can be placed on it only when the means of setting it right are kept constantly at hand. In the case of any person whose judgment is really deserving of confidence, how has it become so? Because he has kept his mind open to criticism of his opinions and conduct. Because it has been his practice to listen to all that could be said against him; to profit by as much of it as was just, and expound to himself, and upon occasion to others, the fallacy of what was fallacious. Because he has felt, that the only way in which a human being can make some approach to knowing the whole of a subject, is by hearing what can be said about it by persons of every variety of opinion, and studying all modes in which it can be looked at by every character of mind. No wise man ever acquired his wisdom in any mode but this; nor is it in the nature of human intellect to become wise in any other manner. The steady habit of correcting and completing his own opinion by collating it with those of others, so far from causing doubt and hesitation in carrying it into practice, is the only stable foundation for a just reliance on it: for, being cognisant of all that can, at least obviously, be said against him, and having taken up his position against all gainsayers—knowing that he has sought for objections and difficulties, instead of avoiding them, and has shut out no light which can be thrown upon the subject from any quarter—he has a right to think his judgment better than that of any person, or any multitude, who have not gone through a similar process.
2. Read the excerpt from a student essay in the text box below. State the main point of the paragraph. Is the paragraph providing an argument or an explanation or neither? Provide reasons for your answer.
Common law jurisdictions, including Canada, the United States, and England, use adversarial legal systems (hereinafter: AD). In this system, the investigation of some case and presentation of evidence at trial is in the hands of the parties (i.e., lawyers for the prosecution, and representatives of the person accused of some crime). Further, AD lawyers actively engage in the questioning and subsequent cross-examination of witnesses. The testimonial accounts of witnesses are shaped by the questions of the parties in examination-in-chief and crossexamination intended to produce evidence in support of the questioning party’s case strategy (Drier, 2012). Both prosecutors and defence lawyers have a professional responsibility to act as zealous advocates for their respective parties. According to the Rules of Professional Conduct from the Law Society of Ontario (RPCLS), as zealous advocates lawyers are to “raise fearlessly every issue, advance every argument, and ask every question, however distasteful, that the lawyer thinks will help [their party’s] case and to endeavour to obtain…the benefit of every remedy and defence authorized by law” (5.1). From Boucher v. The Queen, , the role of the prosecution “is not to obtain a conviction; it is to lay before a jury what the Crown considers to be credible evidence relevant to what is alleged to be a crime” (p.23). Entrusted with the great power of deciding whether or not to pursue an indictment, the prosecutorial role “…excludes any notion of winning or losing…[and] is to be efficiently performed with an ingrained sense of the dignity, the seriousness and the justness of judicial proceedings.” (Ibid., p.24) Pertaining to defence lawyers, there is a duty “…to protect [their] client as far as possible from being convicted, except…upon legal evidence sufficient to support a conviction for the offence with which the client is charged.” (Ibid., 5.1). All evidence is in the control of the parties.
3. a. Read the excerpt in the text box below. Is the text providing an argument or an explanation or neither? Provide reasons for your answer. [Office worker to a co-worker after his employer’s announcement:] The company lost a lot of money last year; that is why we are not getting a wage increase this year.
b. Read the excerpt in the text box below. Is the text providing an argument or an explanation or neither? Provide reasons for your answer. Religion is nothing but superstition. Historians agree that it had its beginnings in magic and witchcraft. Today’s religious belief is just an extension of this.
4. For each of the following passages (a through h), state whether it does or does not contain an argument. If the passage does contain an argument, indicate the conclusion of the argument.
a. People normally believe what others tell them unless there is a reason to be suspicious. This reliance on other people is called depending on testimony.