Identify the Argument

In the following examples, identify the conclusion that that author is trying to defend, and the reasons he/she gives for that conclusion. Sketch out their relationship, if you can. Do you think the argument is successful? Why or why not?

1

As humans have moved into totally artificial environments [in our cities, for example], our direct contact with and knowledge of the planet has ben snapped. Disconnected, like astronauts floating in space, we cannot know up from down or truth from fiction. Conditions are appropriate for the implantation of arbitrary realities. Television is one recent example of this, a serious one, since it greatly accelerates the problem. Because of the necessary artificiality of television, we should consider fundamentally altering its form, or even eliminating it entirely, to minimize its effect on us and on our children. Those that say that the benefits of television (like education, for example) outweigh the potential problems forget that television is much more insidious than they believe, and that it reshapes our view of reality more thoroughly and faster than we realize.

[Adapted from Gerry Mander,
Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television]


2

We should treat drug taking in the same way we treat speech and religion, as a fundamental right. No one has to ingest any drug they do not want, just as no one has to read a particular book. Insofar as the state assumes control over such matters, it can only be in order to subjugate its citizens - by protecting them from temptation as befits children, and by preventing them from exercising self-determination over their lives as befits slaves.


3

What's wrong with cheating on final exams? Most students resort to cheating only because they realize that the system is rotten to the core. The exam has become a farce in the eyes of the student, because they are required to mechanically regurgitate stuff they crammed at the last minute anyway. Exams are just a ritual inflicted for no reason. That is not education. Real education is ecstasy, the peak experience. It is thinking your own thoughts, rather than those of someone else. Cheating means that you care about the quality of your education.