ERIC Number: ED469174
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
On Testing for Assumption Recognition. Statistical Report. LSAC Research Report Series.
Plumer, Gilbert E.
This paper proposes criteria for determining necessary assumptions of arguments. In their book Evaluating Critical Thinking, S. Norris and R. Ennis (1989) state that although it is tempting to think that certain assumptions are logically necessary for an argument or position, they are not. Many writers of introductory logic texts and the authors of various highly visible tests, such as the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and the Graduate Record Examinations, presume that the Norris-Ennis view is wrong; the presumption is that many arguments have (unstated) necessary assumptions, and that readers and test takers can reasonably be expected to identify such assumptions. This paper proposes and defends criteria for determining necessary assumptions of arguments, bring both theoretical and empirical considerations to bear. The main criterion advocated and explained is the gap-filling criterion, which suggests that a necessary assumption fills a gap in an arguments reasoning or inferential structure such that if the assumption is presumed to be false, the logical cogency of the argument is undercut. The criteria are applied to actual disclosed questions from the LSAT. (Contains 1 table and 28 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Law School Admission Council, Newtown, PA.