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What are the Reasons?

Chapter 3
What are Reasons?
- are beliefs, evidence, metaphors, analogies and other statements
offered to support or justify conclusions.
- they are statements that together form the basis for demonstrating
the credibility of a conclusion.
- they are explanations or rationales for why we should believe a
particular conclusion. They are what is offered as a basis for why
we should accept the conclusion.

What is an Argument?
- is a combination of two forms of statements, a conclusion and the
reasons allegedly supporting it. The partnership between reasons
and conclusion establishes a person’s argument.
Reasons + Conclusion = Argument
What is an Argument? (continued)
- thus when a communication lacks reasons, it is neither an argument
nor an example or reasoning. Consequently, only arguments and
reasoning can be logically flawed because a reason by itself is an
isolated idea, it cannot reflect a logical relationship.
Several characteristic of arguments grab our attention:
* They have an intent. Those who provide them hope to convince us
to believe certain things or act in certain ways. Consequently, they
call for a reaction. We can imitate the sponge or the gold prospector
but we ordinarily must respond somehow.
* Their quality varies. Critical thinking is required to determine the
degree of merit contained in an argument.
* They have two essential visible component - a conclusion and
reasons. Failure to identify either component destroys the
opportunity to evaluate the argument. We cannot evaluate what we
cannot identify.
Initiating the Questioning Process:
- the first step in identifying reasons is to approach the
argument with a questioning attitude and the first question ask
should be a Why question. If a statement does not answer the
question then it is not a reason. In order to function as a reason
a statement or group of statements must provide support for a

(1) Is the cost of hospital care outrageous? (2) A recent survey by the
American Association of Retired Persons offers reliable evidence on this
issue. (3) Independent audits of the bills of 2,000 patients found that
hospitals overcharge their patients by an average of 15 percent. (4) In
addition, exit interviews with 400 patients revealed high amounts of
dismay and anger when the patients were informed about the size of their
total hospital bill. (5) In short, the costs of hospital care are higher than the
services provided warrant.
Words that identify Reasons:
- there are certain indicating words that typically indicate that a reason
will follow. The structure of reasoning is this, because of that. Here’s
a list of indicator words for reasons:
* as a results of * for the reason that
* because * in addition
* since * in light of
* first,… second * in view of the fact that
* for * is supported by
* for example * since the evidence is
* for one thing * the study found that
Kinds of Reasons:

- for those descriptive conclusion, the answer to the why question will
be typically be Evidence. The conclusion should be supported by
specific information or furnish a proof that something claimed is true.
This includes facts, research findings, examples from real life,
statistics, appeals to experts and authorities, personal testimonials,
metaphors and analogies.
- for those prescriptive conclusion, the reasons are typically either
General, Prescriptive Statements or they are Descriptive
Keeping the Reasons and Conclusions Straight:
- in reading critically, one must keep track on the reasons and
conclusions so as to have a clear focus on the subject matter. Generally,
reading complicated essays it is difficult to keep track on all important
point straight in mind and to overcome this here’s some useful tip’s:
A. Circle indicator words
B. underline the reasons and conclusion in different colors of ink or
highlight the conclusion and underline reasons.
C. Label the reasons and conclusion in the margin.
D. After reading long passages, make a list of reasons at the end of the
C. For especially complicated reasoning, diagram the structure using
numbers to refer to each reason and conclusion and arrows to designate
the direction of their relationships. Sometimes this technique is most
effective if all reasons and conclusion are first paraphrased in the
margins then numbered.
Keeping the Reasons and Conclusions Straight:
(1) Do physicians have a moral obligation to provide free medical care for
those who cannot pay? (2) Yes, they do. (3) First, society has restricted most
practice to physicians, resulting in a medical monopoly that has obvious
benefits. (4) Thus, it seems reasonable that the profession acknowledge its
collective responsibility to provide care even to those who cannot pay.
(5) Second, the moral obligation of individual physicians to provide free care
derives from an understanding of their special role. (6) Physicians should not
be compared to plumbers or car mechanics, or to other craftsmen who repair
inanimate objects. (7) Unlike automobile repairs, the health problems of people
are not deferrable or negotiable. (8) That doctors help some people without pay
is essential if doctors are to remain doctors and medical services are not to be
regarded as just another form of profit-seeking business activity.
Reasons First, then Conclusion:
- your strongest conclusions follow your reflection about the reason
and what they mean. Be your own censor. Try to avoid reverse logic
or backward reasoning. Remember, reasons are the tool by which
conclusions are shaped and modified.

“Fresh” reasons and your growth:

- Pay attention to “fresh” reasons, those that we have not previously
- Our existing beliefs can be an obstacle to our listening and learning.
- There are thoughtful reasons that we have not yet encountered. For
our own personal growth we have to give “fresh” reasons a real
chance to speak to us.
Reasons and Effective Writing:

Begin your work in outlining and diagramming your reasoning

* First is the rule of Grouping, keep reasons for the same conclusion
together. Keep the grammatical structure parallel and use
appropriate indicator words.
* Second is the rule of Direction, after your have developed the
sequential order of reasons such that reasons relates to succeeding
ones. Be sure that your reasons move in a single direction.
* Third is the rule of Keeping reasons that bear similar
relationship to the conclusion in close proximity to one another
so that their relationship is easily seen. Do not mix them with
reasons that are quite different considerations.
Practice Exercise 1
Divorce is on the increase, and we’re worried. Finally, psychologist have identified a key
cause of divorce. Noticing that certain families have multiple divorces, they found that
inherited genes play a major role in causing divorces.
Although the overall divorce rate is 20%, psychologists discovered that a twin has a 45%
rate of divorce if the identical twin has already experienced a divorce. Additionally
confirming evidence for genes as a primary cause stems from looking at the divorce rate
of twin’s parents. If these parents have divorced, each twin has a 10% higher risk of
Practice Exercise 2
Speedy, colorful waterscooters are gaining popularity. Waterscooters can travel anywhere
a small boat can and are typically popular with young people. The rising popularity of the
craft has raised the question of waterscooter regulation. In this case, the argument for
strict regulation is compelling. Waterscooters are a particularly deadly form of water
For example, two women were vacationing in Longboat Key. While they were floating in
a raft along the shore, a waterscooter crashed into them and killed them. Also,
waterscooter operators have been killed or seriously injured in collisions with other water
craft. Others have been stranded at sea when their scooters either failed or sank far from
shore. Many waterscooter operators are inexperienced and ignorant of navigational rules,
increasing the potential for accidents. The increasing popularity of the scooter has
exacerbated the problem, providing more water vehicles to compete for the same space.
Crowded waterways are simply an open invitation to disaster.
In addition to the inherent operational hazards of waterscooters, they are proving to be an
environmental nuisance. Beach residents complain of the intrusive noise of the scooters.
The Pacific Whale Foundation on the West Coast expressed concern that the scooters are
frightening away endangered humpback whales that migrate to Hawaii for breeding.
Regulations stipulating minimum operating age, restricted operating areas, and mandatory
classes in water safety are essential. Without such regulations, tragedies involving
waterscooters are sure to multiply, rendering many beaches unsafe for recreation.