Make your own free website on Tripod.com
Ch. 2 Tricks for Tough Cases

When we have passages that do not easily fit into the categories just presented, we need
    some additional strategies.

1) We need assistance in sorting out all the different things that might be indicated ‘because.’

2) We need to be able to distinguish four different roles played by consequences.

3) We need to implement your ability and discretion to combine points of the same kind under one instance.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

1) We need assistance in sorting out all the different things that might be indicated ‘because.’

Human action might require evaluation.

We talk of not only what was done, but what should be done.

To understand this distinction, we need to have a slightly different treatment of the distinction between
explanation and inference.

‘Reason’ tends to be ambiguous in human affairs.

“When we give a reason for something we did, it is sometimes simply an explanation [em] of the
action and sometimes a justification [s]. Sometimes it will be trying to justify and sometimes simply
to explain.” 60

The trick is to notice in “MP because SP” whether the MP is descriptive or evaluative.
In other words, does the MP describe an action or does it say it is a good or a bad idea.

They blew up the car because it was full of anthrax.

Descriptive:
 MP: They blew up the car.
 [em] SP: It was full of anthrax.

They were right to blow up the car because it was full of anthrax.

Evaluative:
 MP: They were right to blow up the car.
 [s] SP: It was full of anthrax.

This rule is most helpful when a passage describes a person or a group offering a proposal
    or a recommendation.

“We may summarize this section in a simple rule: if the passage is normative look for an
argument ([s] or [ri]). When the ‘should’ or other normative term is in the MP followed by ‘because’,
the subordination will be [s]. If it is in the SP preceded by so, it will be [rI].

For example,

We ought to help her because her car won’t start.

MP: We ought to help her.
 [s] SP: Her car won’t start.

Her car won’t start so we should call her a mechanic.

MP: Her car won’t start.
 [rI] SP: We should call her a mechanic.

Distinguishing Etiologies from Qualifications ([e] from [q])

[q] covers explaining things about the MP other than why it occurred. This includes explaining
who was involved in the MP, or what kind of thing it was, or how it compare with similar cases.
Explanatory [q]’s will often be introduced by our multipurpose subordinator ‘because’
but distinguishing between [q] and [e] should be relatively clear.

The car runs poorly because the timing is off.

For example,
MP: The car runs poorly.
 [ec] SP: The timing is off.
The SP explains how the MP came about.

The car runs poorly because it can’t even climb Kellogg Hill.
 MP: The car runs poorly.
 [q] SP: It can’t even climb Kellogg Hill.

The SP describes the way the MP runs.

When ‘Because’ Might Be Either [q] or [s].

To distinguish between [s] and [q] in cases such as this, we must pay special attention to indirectness:
whether the author is using the SP as indicator of something further or just giving us a particular way
or sense in which the MP description fits. As a rule if there is no indirectness a ‘because’ that can be
paraphrased  ‘in that’ will be [q].

For example,

The car runs poorly because it can’t even climb Kellogg Hill.

The car runs poorly in that it can’t even climb Kellogg Hill.

Therefore the SP, It can’t even climb Kellogg Hill, is a [q].

A case where there is indirectness.

The car will be difficult to fix because we can’t get parts.

MP: The car will be difficult to fix.
[s] SP: We can’t get parts.

The only way we know the MP--difficulty is through not having the SP--available parts,
    thus it is indirect and signals an [s].

2) The Various Roles of Consequences

Talking about the consequences of actions and events can play four different roles in structuring
exposition: when an SP is (or concerns) a consequence of the MP,
the subordination may be [re], [rI], [ep], and [s].

Clues to the Role of Consequence
[re]—SP an event or action, FT—So, caused
The car was on fire which caused it to blow up.

[rI]—SP treated as a statement, FT—So, must, probably
The car was on fire, so it probably blew up.

[ep]—MP is a human action, FT—So that, to, in order to
She called on the phone in order to set an appointment.
++SP explains the action

[s]—MP is a recommendation, FT—Should, right to
I should call her back because it is the right thing to do.
++SP gives an argument

Comment and Explanation

Recall that the function of a dependent SP is to say something about the MP, to comment on it.
IF we are careful, we may think of all of these comments as explanations in a VERY
BROAD SENSE. The etiologies expressed in [e] are very special kinds of explanation.
All of the categories can be thought of as explaining something or other.

[s]—explains how we can tell the MP is true (how we can tell it happened, if it is an event).

[e]—explains why the MP happened, what brought it about.

[re]—explains what effect the MP had, what it caused.

[ri]—explains what we can tell from knowing the MP, what it implies.

[q]—explains other things about the MP, such as the kind of thing it is, the sense in which it fits
the description given, how it might be understood, who was involved, and all the other things
on the list on p. 59.

3) Combining [s]’s and [q]’s

Sometimes combining makes the structure more clear or straightforward.

MP: There was a fire in the Sears tower yesterday.
[q] SP: It was smoky.
[q] SP: It was a gas fire.
[q] SP: It was on the 30th floor.

So the structure is:
MP
  SP
  SP
  SP

Instead of having three SP’s here because they are all directly subordinate to the MP,
we could combine the content like the following.

MP: There was a fire in the Sears Tower yesterday.
[q] SP: It was smoky, it was a gas fire and it was on the 30th floor.

The same can be done with [s] as long as they are directly subordinate to the MP

MP: She should have helped.
 [s] SP: It was her mother.
 [s] SP: No one else was there.

This would become,
MP: She should have helped
 [s] SP: It was her mother and no one else was there.

****When not to combine, when your have SP’s that support other SP’s.

MP: An AIDS epidemic in Africa has killed 1 million.
 [q] SP: Most victims are over 14.
  [ec] SP: AIDS is transmitted sexually.
  [ec] SP: AIDS is transmitted through transfusions.
[q] SP: Africa has millions of people.

If you combine the [q]’s here, the causal claims would not support both [q]’s so for the sake
of clarity and order, they should not be combined.