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Evaluating an Argument Essay

In Gary Bauslaugh’s essay “Zero Tolerance”, there were five (5) arguments leading to the overall impact of the work. To begin with, Bauslaugh states, “The current trend for public officials to talk of “zero tolerance” has arisen because it seems to express public frustration with the lack of justice in the world. It seems to say ‘we are fed up and aren’t going to take it anymore. ’ It tells the world that our resolve, in the face of some problem, is absolute. ” Second, he proceeds stating, “Unfortunately, unmitigated determination, as suggested by the idea of zero tolerance, can be real threat to justice.

It is too vulnerable to abuse. It can be used as a device to justify the thoughtless and undiscriminating application of rules. Zero tolerance expresses a demand for immediate results. ” Third, Bauslaugh stated, “Justice is complex and elusive; it requires insight and the delicate balancing of interests and principles; it is achieved only through thoughtful and fair processes. ” Fourth, he stated, “Many thousands of Americans, mostly young people, are sitting in jails because of the zero tolerance policy in the so-called war on drugs. Most of these are not real criminals or hard-core drug users.

Some of them are addicts, but they need the best and most sensitive care if they are to have hope of being cured. The brutality of prison sentences will not help any of them, nor will it help make a better society for the rest of us. ” And lastly, Bauslaugh stated, “Zero tolerance is not about protecting the public. It is about making politicians sound tough and it is about helping bureaucrats avoid difficult decisions. It is, indeed, a really bad idea, and we should no longer be fooled by it. ” In analyzing the arguments stated above their standard forms come about as follows:

Argument number 1: 1. The current trend for public officials to talk of “zero tolerance” has arisen 2. It seems to express public frustration with the lack of justice in the world. 3. It seems to say ‘we are fed up and aren’t going to take it anymore. ’ Therefore, it tells the world that the public officials’ resolve is absolute whenever faced with some problem Argument number 2: 1. Unmitigated determination is too vulnerable to abuse. 2. It can be used as a device to justify the thoughtless and undiscriminating application of rules. 3.

Zero tolerance expresses a demand for immediate results. Therefore, unmitigated determination can be real threat to justice as suggested by the idea of zero tolerance. Argument number 3: 1. Justice requires insight and the delicate balancing of interests and principles. 2. It is achieved only through thoughtful and fair processes. Therefore, justice is complex and elusive. Argument number 4: 1. Many thousands of Americans, mostly young people, are sitting in jails because of the zero tolerance policy in the so-called war on drugs. 2.

Most of these are not real criminals or hard-core drug users. 3. Some of them are addicts, but they need the best and most sensitive care if they are to have hope of being cured. Therefore, the brutality of prison sentences will not help any of them, nor will it help make a better society for the rest of us. Argument number 5: 1. Zero tolerance is not about protecting the public. 2. It is about making politicians sound tough. 3. Iit is about helping bureaucrats avoid difficult decisions. Therefore, it is a really bad idea and we should no longer be fooled by it.

(3) Evaluate the argument using Govier’s ARG In the first argument, the condition A does not pass for the first statement cannot be proven true with its present words alone. It is considered as a posteriori synthetic as the subject of the statement which is “trend” cannot be clearly defined by “arisen” alone. How can one prove that there is really a trend of “zero tolerance” among public officials? There must either be a testimony from the officials themselves or even a statement mentioning/hinting it as a common knowledge.

Both the second and the third statement, however, passes as true as these are both a priori analytic proven by the defining zero tolerance to be “an expression of public frustration with the lack of justice in the world” and “a statement saying ‘ we are fed up ad aren’t going to take it anymore. ’” The R condition, on the other hand passes. Statements one to three have all the essential evidence to support G. Bauslaugh first introduces “zero tolerance” in the first statement, and then defines it with the succeeding two premises. These support how the public officials display an absolute resolve whenever faced with a problem.

The G condition has failed in a minor scale for the statement could’ve been concluded in a better way. The author could’ve stated, “It tells the world whenever the public officials are faced with some problem their resolution is absolute. ” The confusion of who the “our” were in the statement is cleared out. In the second argument, condition A passes for the premises have been proven true. The first statement is classified as a posteriori analytic and is proven true by “common knowledge”. Unmitigated or absolute determination as far as everybody knows is vulnerable to abuse.

Concentrating that power like that will eventually corrupt the person and he/she may use it for personal will. The second statement is classified as a priori analytic and is proven true by the “law of excluded middle”. The statement is neither true nor is it false. That makes it viable to pass for condition A. On the other hand, the third statement is classified as a priori analytic and is proven true by “the law of identity”. “Zero tolerance” was defined as “something which demands immediate results”. Surely, a man without patience acts on whim to get the job done.

All the while, the R condition fails for the evidences lack strength in supporting the conclusion. The first statement does not relate to the other two and clearly it cannot support the conclusion on its own. The following two statements on the other hand are linked but cannot provide the support for the current conclusion form. Subsequently, the G condition fails as well for the R failed. It wasn’t supported well enough by the premises. The third argument passes all the ARG condition. The first statement is proven true by the logic’s “law of identity” while the second statement is proven by “common knowledge”.

It is known to people that justice can truly be achieved by the fairness of the court and justice is defined as balancing the interests and principles. Both statements are harmonized to give support to the conclusion; thus fulfilling the R condition and the G condition. Due to the variety of qualities needed to implement justice, it is proven to be complex and vague. In the fourth argument, the condition A fails in a great scale. All of the statements are a posteriori synthetic and can be proven only by testimony by the authority. The R condition passes if they are seen as a whole.

Individually, they cannot support the conclusion. The inductive pattern contributes greatly into the developing the strong conclusion. The G condition passes as well. The R condition was structured well and has provided sufficient evidence to highlight the conclusion. In the last argument,the A condition passes for all the statements are proven by logic, more specifically the “law of excluded middle”. They are not considered true or false. Such premises are derived only from the author’s essay and do not have testimony from authority nor are they considered as common knowledge.

Regardless, they are also speculated and are not proven to be fallacies. The R condition passes for the statements are constructed greatly. It pointed out how the zero tolerance is harmful to people then to about how this “makes politicians sound tough” and hoe they can use this to “avoid difficult decisions”. Truly, a magnificent inductive reasoning. The G condition passes on a minor note but it could’ve been constructed in a more precise way. It could go like, “Zero tolerance, with all the injustices laid down, truly is bad for us. We must avoid it! ”


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