Peer Review : Argument Deconstruction

1)  Read, watch or listen to the media piece and verify the premises and conclusion of the argument to be sure your evaluatee has the structure correct and then verify the deconstruction.  If the structure seems different to you state the structure as you see it with evidence to support your claim.

2)  Are the premises evaluated properly?  Is there supporting evidence with cited sources to refute or support each premise?  Did your evaluatee convince you that the premises were either true or false based upon their evidence and citations? If there is a weakness in this part state it, and if you found something well done be sure to state that as well!

3) Is the diagnosis of validity and soundness correct? Remember all premises must be proven true for an argument to be both valid and sound.  If you agree with your evaluatee’s deconstruction congratulate them and maybe share something you learned from their work, if you do not, state your case with proof as to why you think it might be otherwise.  It might be that you can learn to balance both positive and critical comments in all cases.

Reminder:    One of the goals of this class is to improve your sophistication in being part of a critical thinking community. Your ability to deconstruct arguments and detect fallacies and then form excellent arguments is part of that, but equally important is how to be collegial, positive and polite even when in full opposition to another person’s position. In an online environment, this is referred to as “netiquette” and there are a set of rules you should adhere to in all cases. You can refer to the core rules from Colorado State University here (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..

To take this one step further we will maintain a culture of civility, equanimity and inclusivity in this class. All opinions and points of view are welcome in this class and no one will be criticized for their perspective. In discussions and peer reviews you will be asked to deconstruct and evaluate other peoples arguments and critiques and you must remember to focus on the arguments not the person making it. We will have no personal attacks or comments in any discussion forum.


I.  Write a definition for each of the following in your own words and provide an example of each.

1. Syllogism (Aristotle) means a method of judging the conclusion by conditions. It consists of three parts. Through two premises, get the conclusion in the third part. For example,

Premise 1: Mathematic is a compulsory course in school.

Premise 2: You are a student.

Conclusion: You have to learn Mathematic

2. Deduction means a way to infer a particular conclusion from general premises. If the premises are true, then the conclusion is true. Syllogism is a way of deduction.

Premise 1: Metals can conduct electricity.

Premise 2: Iron is metal.

Conclusion: Iron can conduct electricity.

3. Induction means people through part of things have the same characteristics can infer to conclusion that all things have the same characteristics. The premise can support the conclusion, but cannot make sure the conclusion is correct. For example,

Premise: The grass is green.

Conclusion: All the grass is green.

All things are characterized by the same characteristics of some things

4. Abduction means people through the conclusion to infer and get the best explanation. For example,

Truth:Snake needs to hibernate.

Inference: Snake needs to hibernate because Snake is cold-blooded animal.

Conclusion: Snake is cold-blooded animal.

 II.  Choose an argument from the Opinion/Editorial section of any news source.  Deconstruct the argument in simple terms and diagnose its soundness and validity.  Be sure to provide a link to the article and cite sources for evidence supporting or refuting the premises.

The argument: The draw of cheap oil affects the development of renewable energy.

Deconstruct: Premise 1: The low oil prices are more attractive than renewable energy.

Premise 2: The government’s economy weakens to influence the development of renewable energy.

Conclusion: The effect of the draw of cheap oil to renewable energy is negative.

Link of the news:

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