PHIL151 Practical Reasoning – Topic 1 – Answers 1
PHIL151 Practical Reasoning
Exercise Set One - Answers
Topic 1: Introduction to Deductive and Inductive Logic
The main point of these questions was to get you thinking about the difference
between the surface nature of what is said, and what is done in saying (that is, what
it is used to do).
(i) Where is the tutorial room?
What we have here is a question, and in almost all contexts it would be used to
request information. But think about contexts in which it might, e.g., be used to
make a sarcastic comment.
(ii) You don’t expect me to believe that, do you?
This is a question, and in most contexts it is being used to make a statement
(something like: ‘What you’re claiming is unbelievable’). Normally we refer to
such uses as ‘rhetorical questions’. Note however that the correct analysis of
rhetorical questions is contentious and there is room to move here.
(iii) The conduct of the war was probably illegal, and certainly immoral.
This is an indicative, and it is used to make a compound statement. The two
contained statements are: ‘The conduct of the war was probably illegal’; and
‘The conduct of the war was certainly immoral’.
This is a greeting, normally used to greet. But in the right context it might be a
greeting used to threaten, or warn.
(v) Will you open that door?
This is a question. The ‘that’ suggests that it is being used to issue an order (to
open the door), but depending on tone and context it might be best understood
as a request (to open the door).
(vi) Can you pass me the salt?
Again, a question, used to request action.
(vii) I would be really pleased if someone decided to turn down the air conditioning.
This is an indicative, used to make a request, or (again, it’s a matter of tone and
context) issue an order.
(viii) Joanne and Tim have ridden their bikes from Sydney.
An indicative, used to make two statements (that Joanne has ridden her bike