"Intellectual notes" focus only on intellectual concerns, which concern the truth and falsity of what the claims made and the arguments for and against various claims. This was explained on the notes handed out in class. Recall these words at the top:
These notes are guided by these intellectual concerns:
· Understanding what the author means when he says something that is not clear.
· Asking whether specific claims the author makes are true or false and why.
· Asking what arguments (i.e., reasons) are or could be given in favor of a claim (or conclusion) and whether these arguments are sound or not.
Here are responses that will be avoided entirely because they are irrelevant to intellectual concerns:
· Speculations on the author’s emotions: irrelevant to the quality of the arguments, truth or falsity of claims made, etc.
· Speculations on the author’s motives: irrelevant to the quality of the arguments, truth or falsity of claims made, etc.
· Reports on whether we like or dislike what the author says, and how we “feel” about the writing, unless this relates to the intellectual quality of the arguments.
“PRINCIPLE OF CHARITY = TRY TO READ AND INTERPRET IN A WAY THAT MAKES THE AUTHOR MAKE THE MOST SENSE. DON’T QUICKLY DISMISS PEOPLE’S CLAIMS IF THEY CAN BE “FIXED” A LITTLE BIT TO MAKE MORE SENSE.
“Begging the question”
· assuming a (controversial) claim without given reasons for it: assuming the claim that is being debated;
· responding to someone’s reasoning, i.e., given premises, in favor of some conclusion, “But that conclusion is not true,” but failing to give any reasons why anyone should think that or trying to show how the person’s reasons were not good reasons.
This is a way to fail in engaging a discussion by failing to give reasons and responding to reasons.