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Philosophy 103: Introduction to Logic
Language Exercises

Abstract: Examples illustrating emotive significance and the varieties of disagreements of disputants should refine the ability to understand the difference between the literal and emotive dimensions of the language use.

  1. Restate each of the following emotively neutral descriptions of personality traits by (1) a positively slanted description and (2) a negatively slanted description. Be careful not to change the denotation or literal significance of the word or phrase.
    The senator is a A friend is
    +   +  
      government official talkative
    --   --  

     

    Smith's house is A research fellow is
    +   +  
    quite large careful
    --   --  

     

    The movie was This class is
    +   +  
    different, unconventional, atypical hard

    -- 

    -- 


  2. In each of the following disputes (1) state the fact at issue, (2) identify the emotive significance as being positive, neutral, or negative, (3) identify the kinds of agreement or disagreement present, and (4) tell how the dispute might best be resolved.

  1. John: Mr. Smith is a tenacious bureaucrat who does not have the tact to know when to give up.
    Mary: No, Mr. Smith is an enthusiastic public servant who always goes the extra mile.

    Fact at issue: 

    John’s emotive significance: 

    Mary’s emotive significance: 

    Belief: 

    Attitude: 

    How best resolved: 


  2. John: In the last election Mr. Smith failed to receive the number of votes he predicted--he fell short.
    Mary: Well, Mr. Smith thought he would receive 56% of the vote and he came within 1%.

    Fact at issue: 

    John’s emotive significance: 

    Mary’s emotive significance: 

    Belief: 

    Attitude: 

    How best resolved: 


  3. John: Like most politicians, he is a braggart and is a dishonest man.
    Mary: Mary:  In my opinion, he is a modest gentleman is is incorruptibly honest.

    Fact at issue: 

    John’s emotive significance: 

    Mary’s emotive significance: 

    Belief: 

    Attitude: 

    How best resolved: 


If these exercises seem difficult to you, review the notes and then try the quiz on Varieties of Disagreements.


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