Introducing Logic and Critical Thinking

The Skills of Reasoning and the Virtues of Inquiry


5. Virtues of Intellectual Dependence

Exercise 5.1

A. Evaluating Trust

For each of the following examples, make a case for why the character or characters do or do not display trust. If a character exhibits a vice that is contrary to trust, identify the vice. Cite relevant material from the text in section 5.1 in defense of your view.

  1. An ethics professor gives an argument to her students that they should give away massive amounts of their income to help the poor. A student replies, “But you don’t do that, do you?”
  2. A lawyer says to a friend that the best way to stop corporate greed is to tax corporations way more. The friend responds, “Why do you think taxing them more will stop their greed?” The lawyer responds, “I made the assertion; I don’t need to justify it. The burden of proof is on you to disprove it.”
  3. Women who work for a corporation notice that in company meetings the men ignore their suggestions. They decide to ask some men to echo their statements in the next meeting. When the men echo their statements, they find that their suggestions are taken seriously.
  4. A homeowner is watching an infomercial and sees a man in a lab coat reporting that Shark vacuum cleaners have the greatest suction power of any vacuum. The homeowner believes him, in large part because he’s wearing a lab coat.
  5. An Apple employee listens to a Samsung earnings call in which Samsung’s CEO says that Samsung makes the best phones in the business. The Apple employee is worried and thinks: I thought we made the best phones in the business. The Apple employee asks some colleagues whether Samsung in fact produces the best phones.
  6. A logic student reads a textbook about intellectual vices. The student thinks that the author of the textbook is wrong and that what the author says is a vice is, in fact, not a vice.
  7. Someone watching a political debate hears a politician make a bold claim. She visits the opponent’s website to see what the opponent’s staff has to say about the claim.
  8. A tech company executive is about to lay off dozens of employees, on the recommendation of his vice presidents. He notices that slightly more of the employees to be laid off are women, but slightly more of the company’s employees are men. He thinks that perhaps the percentage of women in each group is unequal due to an implicit gender bias of the vice presidents. He decides to flip the numbers in the opposite direction.
  9. Chris’s friend Sally says that he sounds angry. Chris immediately dismisses Sally’s comment, because he thinks he’s better at figuring out how he sounds.
  10. LeBron sees a news article that one of his friends posted on Facebook. It claims that the United States is about to go to war. He thinks about posting it, but first he goes to Snopes and Google to see whether the article is correct.

Exercise 5.2

A. Evaluating Charity

For each of the following examples, make a case for why the character or characters do or do not display interpretive charity. If a character exhibits a vice that is contrary to interpretive charity, identify the vice. Cite relevant material from the text in section 5.2 in defense of your view.

  1. Cortana says to Renauld that lethal injection is always wrong because, she says, “Killing an innocent person is okay only when it’s done in self defense.” Renauld thinks that Cortana also believes that lethal injection is never done in self-defense.
  2. An employee, Renita, says to a colleague that her boss has some habits that are really annoying and irksome. The colleague reports to human resources that Renita finds her boss to be an annoying and irksome person.
  3. A mayor of a large city says that the city is currently over budget but it is taking steps to cut expenditures to stay in the black. Someone who is vying for the mayor’s position makes a public statement: “Our city is not only over budget and losing money but the current mayor will also remove funding for some of your favorite programs.”
  4. Roger, a political candidate, says that the arguments given by his opponent, Rosa, are unmotivated and could lead to harmful outcomes if accepted. A newspaper reports that Roger made damning allegations against Rosa—he claimed that she should not be accepted because she’s harmful and unmotivated.
  5. A father says to his teenage daughter, “No, you can’t go out tonight.” The daughter responds, “You don’t understand me!” The father responds, “So you think that if I understood you, I’d let you go out tonight?”
  6. An atheist argues in a debate that God is not good because God allows so much suffering. After the debate, an audience member asks, “So you don’t think the only all-good being is good? You believe a contradiction then?”
  7. Someone says to their partner, “I don’t mean to blame you for this, but our bathtub has gotten really dirty, and one of us needs to clean it.” The partner responds, “Why are you always accusing me of being the dirty one?!”
  8. A professor presents an argument in class for the thesis that we, human persons, are animals. A student responds, disgusted, “So you think we can do anything that any other animal does?”
  9. A philosophy professor publishes an article in which she argues that if someone thinks that personhood requires being able to value their lives, infants are not persons and so do not have rights associated with personhood. A blog post represents the professor’s article as claiming that infants do not have rights, and it cites laws against infanticide as arguments against the professor’s article.
  10. As Bea and Callista are walking through a fair together, Callista notes that there aren’t many food vendors in the area. Bea says, “But you said you were having a good time. If you weren’t, you should have said so!”

Exercise 5.3

A. Evaluating Empathy

For each of the following examples, make a case for why the character or characters do or do not display intellectual empathy. If a character exhibits a vice that is contrary to intellectual empathy, identify the vice. Cite relevant material from the text in section 5.3 in defense of your view.

  1. A student is reading an article by a famous ethicist in which the ethicist argues that when we are considering whom to care for, we should consider not only those near to us but those in areas across the globe. He argues that distance should not influence whether we have obligations to someone. The reader remembers that the same ethicist argues that those with severe mental disabilities do not have a life worth living. She closes the book and decides not to consider what she has read.
  2. Someone who is a vegetarian for moral reasons encounters a conservative who says that it does not matter whether animals suffer; they’re not like us. The vegetarian calls the conservative a monster and storms away.
  3. A pro-life advocate argues that since fetuses are innocent humans, they have the right to life. A pro-choice activist accuses the pro-life advocate of being anti-women.
  4. The pro-life advocate accuses the pro-choice advocate of caring more about their personal comfort than another’s life.
  5. A well-off business executive on his way to lunch sees a street vendor in cut-off jean shorts. The street vendor asks the executive if he would like a cigarette. “Do you think I’m like one of you?” he asks.
  6. A woman leaves her CrossFit class to begin her shift as a waitress. An obese man at her restaurant orders a soda. She suggests he order a water “because,” she says, “perhaps you didn’t know it, but soda is not healthy.”
  7. A daughter asks her mother whether there are any fish with legs besides frogs. Her mother laughs and calls her daughter silly.
  8. An atheist mocks some Christians for believing “the ridiculous claim that God will punish them but chose to create another human to punish instead, as if justice works like that.”
  9. A Christian reads a news report about a pastor who has just purchased a jet “for ministry purposes.” The Christian reading the news report stops reading and thinks: that’s absurd; God could never want anyone to have such extravagant wealth.
  10. A governing body voted to remove a poverty assistance program. Without inquiring further into why they did so, several citizens commented on Facebook, “Our government is founded on Biblical principles but has removed help for the poor. That’s not what Jesus would have done. He was all about the poor.”