Critical Thinking Philosophy

  1. William Paley’s design argument from Natural Theology is one of the most famous arguments from analogy ever devised. Evaluate its strength, both on its own terms and in view of the subsequent evidence introduced into the discussion by Darwin’s evolutionary theory (see instructor’s lecture and pp. 1-17 of Natural Theology).
  2. David Hume’s critique of cause/effect reasoning and observations on the circularity of the justification for induction constitute an important challenge to inductive reasoning. Describe as thoroughly as you can in your own words how he sees these problems. Do you agree or disagree that we are ‘skating on thin ice’ here? Why or why not? (see instructor’s lecture and pp. 50-54 of A Treatise of Human Nature.)
  3. The use of stare decisis in Roe v. Wade and J. J. Thomson’s analogical thought experiments concerning abortion as a legal/moral issue (see instructor’s lecture) show the practical import of analogical reasoning in both legal and moral contexts. Analyze the strengths and any weaknesses of the presented arguments and be sure to defend your position.