The young woman kept saying, “I don’t know why you corrected that because I spell it with the P in it.”



Quiz 3 PHIL 100  July 2019                 Due:   by 10:00 am, Wednesday July 24


You may print this out and write your answers to turn in at the start of class on Wednesday if you wish (be sure your name is on it!), or email your answers to me at [email protected]


Read the following article and answer the 9 questions below (27 points total)


This Helicopter Mom Raised a Daughter Incapable of Normal Business Behavior. A Warning.       By Suzanne Lucas  |


"There is no 'P' in hamster." This is not a controversial statement. Any dictionary will agree with it. Any pet store will too. But Carol Blymire overheard a conversation between a young employee with her boss, and this came up.

The boss wanted a correction. The employee insisted that the word should remain "hampster" because that was how she spelled hamster. And that was what mattered.

The young woman kept saying, “I don’t know why you corrected that because I spell it with the P in it.”

The boss said (calmly), “But that’s not how the word is spelled. There is no P in hamster.”

Young woman: “But you don’t know that! I learned to spell it with a P in it so that’s how I spell it.”
The boss (remaining very calm and professional), let’s go to  and look it up together.

The young woman insists she doesn’t need to look it up because it’s FINE to spell it with a P because that’s HOW SHE WANTED TO SPELL IT.

The boss, according to Blymire, continued calmly, bringing the employee almost to tears.

We could dismiss this as someone who just can't take feedback at all, but then we'd have to ask how you make it into your 20s without wanting to trust a dictionary, but the saga continues with the employee going back to her desk and texting her mom. Mom calls her and the employee puts her on speakerphone where mom proceeds to tell her that she should report the boss.

The mother tells her that her boss is an idiot and she [the daughter] doesn’t have to listen to [the boss] and she should go to the boss’ boss to file a complaint about not allowing creativity in her writing.

OK. Now we know the problem. This woman has received so much support and validation from her mother that she couldn't fathom that she could be wrong about something. What she wanted was more important than what the actual truth was.

Now, you can certainly argue that language evolves, and maybe in 100 years we'll all spell hamster as hampster, but your boss gets to decide what evolves and what doesn't in the workplace. (And I seriously doubt this is where English is going.)

Learning how to take negative feedback is a critical part of being an adult. Learning how to say, "Oops, you're right. I was wrong," is a valuable life skill. There are times when you should stand your ground, but not when it comes to spelling. The dictionary wins every time. And if the dictionary says there are multiple correct spellings, the boss gets to choose which one you use in the office. 

This mother, in trying to help and support her daughter, made her very difficult to work with. And as Blymire points out, teachers and professors undoubtedly bowed to the mother's whims rather than do battle. All of them did her no favors. Hopefully, she'll figure it out soon enough, but until then, her poor boss.


Published on: Jul 15, 2019

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of



Question 1 (3 pts):  Identify a fallacy committed by the young employee, and explain why this is an example of that type of fallacy.


Question 2 (3 pts): Identify a fallacy committed by the employee’s mother, and explain why this is an example of that type of fallacy.


Question 3 (2 pts):  Identify the author’s main conclusion.


Question 4 (4 pts): What claims or premises does the author give to support this conclusion? (You may list premises, diagram the argument, &/or describe the support).


Question 5 (2 pts):  Identify a causal claim in the author’s position.


Question 6:  (3 pts):  Discuss the relevance of the evidence or assumptions the author gave.


Question7: (3 pts): Discuss the adequacy of the evidence or assumptions the author gave.


Question 8 (2 pts): Did the author commit any fallacies we have studied? If so, please identify the fallacy and explain why it is an example of that type of fallacy.


Question 9 (5 pts):  Overall, how persuasive is the author’s argument in supporting the conclusion? Explain your answer.

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