Notes from the underground
barang dot sg
Updated 2 December 2023
2. Another example

Our second example is from the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins.

That’s not him in the picture, but here’s what he said in an old interview many years ago:
Just because something is natural it does not follow that we should do it, else we should not wear clothes.
Dawkins obviously means to be “arguing” for something with these words and a little reflection shows that the structure of his reasoning is this:

Not wearing clothes is natural
If everything natural should be done, then we should not wear clothes It is false that we should not wear clothes
Not everything natural should be done

As you can see, it isn’t easy to extract the diagram from the passage, which is why this is a good test of logical ability!

Click here to temporarily hide the diagram if you’d like to try to reproduce it yourself from the original passage.

As mentioned, in this kind of exercise, one is not required to decide if the given argument is good or bad. The challenge is only to lay out its logical structure. These two skills should be distinguished because the test covers only one of them.