Thinking about values

I argued above that Australia is a good country in which to live', a claim that is obviously making a value judgment. Let us assume, for a moment, that my initial thought as to why this claim is true was Australia permits freedom of religious expression. The mistake here of just having one premise is compounded by the fact that this premise does not make an explicit value judgment and thus suggests something is very wrong with my thinking. Returning to the example above, we can see that part of the job done by the claim 'Countries that permit freedom of religious expression are good places to live' is to place in the premises a claim that, like the conclusion, also asserts a value judgment.

Here is another example concerning value judgments:

1. Ian will be imprisoned.

2. Ian has been convicted of defrauding Michael.

3. The penalty for someone convicted of fraud is imprisonment.

In this analytical structure, the conclusion does not make a value judgment—it does not explicitly state that lan should or should not be imprisoned. It simply predicts the future based on the premises given. But imagine the argument is concluding 'It is right that Ian should be imprisoned': the premises 2 and 3 do not, in this case, support the conclusion because there is no value judgment there. We would have to add a premise such as 'The penalty of imprisonment for the crime of fraud is a good penalty' to make the structure logical. Of course, the value of being accurate like this is to expose the need for an argument to support this added premise. While it is probably not necessary, in most everyday arguments, to prove lan's conviction, or that the penalty is imprisonment mainp -

(these claims, while not self-evident, are reasonably straightforward), I can imagine some situations in which we might want to dispute the rightness of that penalty.

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