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discussion hw 1 3

When a premise talks about what a lot of people believe in order to try to establish the truth of that belief, then the argument has committed the fallacy known as appeal to general belief (or practice). As we said in the lesson: It’s true that millions of people believe that Barack Obama was not born in the United States. But does that make the conclusion likely? No it doesn’t, because whether people believe something is not the same question as whether it’s true. Another example: millions of people used to believe that the Earth was flat. That had no bearing on whether the Earth really was flat.

But suppose we change the argument to this. A majority of Americans believe that abortion is sometimes morally okay. Therefore, it is sometimes morally okay.

Do you think that this argument commits the fallacy of appeal to general belief (or practice)?

If you don’t think so, explain why.

If you do think it commits the fallacy of appeal to general belief (or practice), explain why. Then answer this question: do you think there is a way of establishing/proving whether abortion is ever morally okay? In other words, if a moral statement can’t be supported by just appealing to what most people think, then what is the correct way to support a moral statement? How can we best come to know which moral views are correct and which aren’t?

Regardless of your answer, read the two Notes below.


1 – to clarify your thinking on this DQ, you may want to ask yourself this: Do you think that the majority can be wrong about a moral issue? There was a time when a majority of people believed that slavery was morally okay. Were they right?

2 – recall from Lesson 1 that a statement must be true or false — one or the other but not both. If moral sentences are statements, this applies to them too — and to moral beliefs or opinions. Take a look back at your response to DQ 1 (on whether conflicting opinions on eating meat can both be right), and at your Instructor’s response to you. Use what you learned from it.

When you respond to a fellow student’s response, you need to dispute some point that another student made, and to give reasons for your response. Don’t just say something like “I disagree with his or her response.” Be respectful: the goal is to have an enlightening debate

The other students post is in the file to respond toPlease answer the questions above for the discussion question then respond to the other student from in the file upload

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