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Varieties of Disagreement Answers: Sample Quiz

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Directions: 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: The Red Communists were stopped cold after a meager five mile advance.
Mary: The Russian comrades gloriously pushed forward five miles into hostile territory.

Fact at issue: How far did the Russians go?
John’s emotive significance: Negative, since John uses the words "Reds" and "meager" which are negatively slanted.
Mary’s emotive significance: Positive, since Mary uses the words "comrades" and "gloriously pushed" which are positively slanted.
Belief: The agree in belief on how far the Russians traveled.
Attitude: They disagree in attitude toward how far the Russians traveled.
How best resolved: Find the fact through the methods of science.

2. John: The Red communists carried poisons, anti-tank grenades, and missiles.
Mary: The friendly Russian troops carried no arms but transported medical supplies.

Fact at issue: What did the Russians carry with them?
John's emotive significance: Slightly negative, since John uses the word "Red" to describe the communists.
Mary's emotive significance: Positive, since Mary uses the word "friendly" to describe the communists.
Belief: John and Mary disagree over the question of what the Russians carried.
Attitude: John and Mary disagree in attitude.
How best resolved: First, one would use the methods of science to find out what was carried.  Second, rhetoric and persuasion might be used is the attitude disagreement persists.

3. John: The Russians had to destroy Kabul in order to win the war.
Mary: The Russians could have avoided Kabul altogether and concentrated on the countryside and in that way would win the war.

Fact at issue: In order for the Russians to win the war, was the destruction of Kabul necessary?
John's emotive significance: Neutral, since his language reflects the facts.  In this context, "destroy" has the appropriate literal significance.
Mary's emotive significance: Neutral, since Mary uses emotively neutral language.
Belief: They disagree about whether or not the destruction of Kabul was necessary for the Russians to win the war.
Attitude: There is no evidence of a disagreement in attitude with respect to this exchange of views.
How best resolved: The facts at issue should be found by the methods of science which, in this case, would be through the use of historical inductive arguments and expert testimony.

If you have difficulty with this quiz, you might want to review the notes on Varieties of Disagreements or you might want to review some practice exercises.

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