Here are some questions from the 1998 midterm. (Individual test takers answered 1,3,5, 7 and any other three of the following for a total exam length of less than eight bluebook or typed pages.)



1)     What is the difference between circumstantial and abusive ad hominem?  Give one example of each.

2)     Give an example of the fallacy of complex question.  If all questions involve presuppositions, what makes complex question fallacious? Defend your answer.

3)     Give an example of straw person argumentation and explain what's wrong with it.

4)     Give an example of a bad argument from authority.  How could you change it to make it a good one? 

5)     What do you take to be important causes of fallacious reasoning?  How would you try to remedy these?

6)     List phonetic equivalents for the numbers 1-10.  Convert the following number into its phonetic equivalent:  901-91-28590.  What is the numerical equivalent of “chocolate cake”? 

7)     On the basis of your group's understanding of section 14 of the Butler essay and any other information you can bring to bear on this, who is Butler's audience?  Why?
What is Butler’s thesis?  How does Butler argue for her thesis?  What methods or techniques is she using?

8)     In Plato's Apology, who is Socrates' audience?  Who are his opponents?  Why do you think so?  Give at least two reasons.  Who are Plato's opponents?  Are they the same as Socrates' opponents?  Why or why not?

9)     Exercise:  Arguments, of course, are not the only works which have audiences.  But, it is worth considering the possibility of an underlying argument for any work addressed to a general or specific audience.  Name a poem, play, movie or novel you think is making an argument to a specific audience.  Explain why you think so.

10)  Give an example of a self-defeating persuasion attempt.  Describe it in enough detail to support the claim that it is self-defeating. .

11)  What rule of thumb does circumstantial ad hominem rely upon?  Why is it generally reliable?

12)   What is the fallacy of straw person? After defining, give an example.

13)   What is the fallacy of equivocation? After defining, give an example.

14)   You may ask a question of your own choosing, explain why it's a good question for this exam, then sketch your answer.

Michael Kagan