Mini-Midterm on Logic and Surrogate Motherhood - Answers

Part I: True or False?  (3 points each; 36 points total)

          F      1. No valid argument is unsound.

         F       2. If the premises and the conclusion of an argument are both false, then the argument is invalid.

validity is a matter of logic, not of whether the premises are true or false.

T                3. If an argument is sound, then its premises and conclusions are true.

T                4. It is possible to produce a valid argument for a false conclusion.

this is easy.  Consider the argument that has the same sentence for its premise as its conclusion.

T                5. If an argument is valid, then at least one of its premises is false, or its conclusion is true or it is both the case that at least one premise is false and its conclusions is true.

If none of these three possibilities is true then the argument has true premises and a false conclusion and so is invalid. So if it is valid, one of these three possibilities must be true.

         F       6. Unsound arguments are not rationally persuasive.

If they are valid and all parties mistakenly believe that the premises are true, then the argument is rationally persuasive.

         F       7. If the premises in an argument are controversial, then the argument is unsound.

soundness depends on validity and whether the premises are true.  The truth may be controversial.

         F       8. Sound arguments are true arguments.

Arguments cannot be true or false.

T                9. To judge whether an argument is valid, you do not need to know whether the premises or the conclusion are true or false.

T                10. Some sound arguments are not rationally persuasive.

T                11. Some rationally persuasive arguments are unsound.

         F       12. Any argument that begs the question (such as 1. Abortion is wrong; therefore 2. Abortion is wrong) is unsound.

If the premises and the conclusion are true, then such arguments are sound.

Part II: Valid or Invalid?  (3 points each; 12 points total)

Valid                              A.      1.  All philosophy professors are men.

                                               2.  Dan Hausman is a philosophy professor.

                                     thus        3.  Dan Hausman is a man.

                  Invalid         B.         1.  Students who do not hand in all the papers in 341 will not get an A.

                                               2.  George is a student in 341 who hands in all the papers.

                                     thus         3.  George gets an A

                  Invalid         C.         1.  Most philosophy professors are men.

                                               2.  Dan Hausman is a man.

                                     thus         3.  Dan Hausman is a philosophy professor.

                  Invalid         D.         1.  All men are philosophy professors.

                                               2.  Dan Hausman is a philosophy professor.

                                     thus         3.  Dan Hausman is a man.

PART III (52 points total):  In his opinion in the Baby-M case, Judge Sorkow writes the following in response to the argument that surrogate motherhood contracts are exploitative – that they permit rich couples to exploit poor women:

The final and sixth argument suggests an elite upper economic group of people will use the lower economic group of women to "make their babies."  This argument is insensitive and offensive to the intense drive to procreate naturally and when that is impossible to use what lawful means are possible to gain a child.  This intense desire to propagate the species is fundamental.  It is within the soul of all men and women regardless of economic status.

Below are 6 possible reformulations of Sorkow's argument.

(i) Read through each and circle one of "valid" or "invalid" as well as one of "sound" or "unsound" depending on whether you judge the argument to be valid or invalid, sound or unsound – in other words, each question should have two words circled, either "valid" or "invalid" and either "sound" or "unsound." (2 points for each correct circle – 4 points maximum for each of the six arguments – for a total of 24 points)

A.        valid                                                                 unsound

1.  All people, whether rich or poor, will use every lawful and affordable means to gain a child.

2.  Surrogate motherhood is a lawful means to gain a child.

3.  Rich people can afford surrogate motherhood.

therefore

4. Rich people will use surrogate motherhood to gain a child.

B.         valid                                                                 unsound

1.  All people desire to procreate naturally.

2.  If rich people desire to procreate naturally, then they will not hire poor women to make their babies.

therefore

3.  Rich people will not hire poor women to make their babies.

C.                                 invalid                                      unsound

1. To say that rich couples will use poor women to make their babies implies that they do  not want to make their own babies.

2.  The intense drive to propagate the species is fundamental to human beings.

therefore

3. To say that rich couples will use poor women to make their babies is insulting to the rich.

D.                    valid                                                                 unsound

1.  If people can have children of their own, then they will not employ surrogate mothers.

2.  If those who employ surrogate mothers cannot have children of their own, then they are not exploiting the women they employ.

therefore

3. Those who employ surrogate mothers are not exploiting the women they employ.

a bit tricky:  1 implies that those who employ surrogate mothers cannot have children of their own.  2 then implies that they are not exploiting the women they employ.

E.                                 invalid                                      unsound

1.  People will use any lawful means to have children if they cannot have their own.

2.  If surrogate motherhood is not lawful, people will not use it.

therefore

3. Surrogate motherhood ought to be lawful.

F. valid            invalid              sound               unsound

1.  It is insulting to rich people to say that they will use poor women to make their babies.

2.  It is wrong to insult people.

therefore

3. It is wrong to say that rich people will use poor women to make their babies.

One could say either valid or invalid, depending on whether one notices and worries about the possible equivocation on "wrong".  One could argue both for and against soundness here with some plausibility.

(ii) If you believe that any of the six arguments  above is sound, identify one of the arguments you think is sound and give a one or two sentence defense of the premise in the argument that seems to you most controversial.  If you do not believe that any of the arguments is sound, give a one or two sentence demonstration that one of the six arguments above is unsound.  (12 points)

F is the best candidate for a sound argument. 

(iii) In your opinion, which of these six arguments best (most accurately and charitably) captures what Sorkow means to argue? (4 points)

D is the best answer.  Some partial credit (one point) for B, C, and F

Give a one or two sentence defense of your choice.  (12 points)

The crucial point is that Sorkow is trying to defend surrogate motherhood from a specific criticism, which D clearly does and B, C, and F to some slight extent do.  Good answers should attempt to link the reformulated argument to Sorkow's exact wording.