In paragraph form, summarize and evaluate each of the following passages, concentrating mainly on identifying fallacies. Be sure to explain and justify your answer; that is, if you say that a fallacy has been committed, show where the fallacy occurred, how the passage exhibits the characteristics of the fallacy, and explain why you think it is a fallacious argument. Note: The passages may contain more than one fallacy.

Question 1 

Higher tuition suggests superior education. These schools called superior by books that rate the quality of colleges and universities are exactly those schools that cost the most to attend. Consequently, you must either pay higher tuition or receive an inferior education.

Higher tuition permits higher salaries for professors. If professors are not kept happy by higher salaries, the quality of the teaching will suffer. The [Canadian Association of University Teachers] points out that the contented faculty member is repeatedly the same one who is rated superior by supervisors.

The point is that students have a vested interest in paying higher tuition. Those students who gripe about tuition are simply uninformed. We all know that you get what you pay for.

Adapted from Neil Browne and Stuart Keeley, Asking the Right Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking. 4th ed. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1994, p. 85.

Question 2 

Voting Rights for Children

There is a gaping inconsistency in the logic of our democracy in denying children this fundamental democratic right. Many argue that children havent the intelligence and experience to vote in a meaningful way. This argument was used years ago as a reason for denying non-male, non-white people the right to participate in elections. Nobodys intelligence or experience is of more value than someone elses. We all bring our own attributes to the ballot box when we select a candidate.

Others may say that children dont work and thus dont really contribute to society and therefore shouldnt vote. Well, school is work. And with a double digit unemployment rate and people on social assistance, this rationale is also absurd. Would we deny the unemployed the right to vote?

Some argue that parents or guardians will manipulate or force their children to vote for candidates they themselves endorse. We as adults are constantly bombarded with messages and attempt manipulation by all sorts of media and institutions. Just as we learn to sort out our own beliefs from those of others, so will our children. The issue of pressuring children to vote a particular way would be discussed and become a topic of public discourse. Thus children would come to know their rights and practice these rights in the privacy of the polling booth.

It is time we broaden and enrich our lives by realizing that childrens views merit substantial validation.

As quoted in Leo A. Groarke and Christopher W. Tindale, Good Reasoning Matters! 3rd ed. Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press, 2004, p. 285.

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