12 Angry Men – 2 Arguments with fairly explicit reasoning.
Target Claim: that the old man in the apartment below couldn't (with certainty) have
heard the boy shout "I'm going to kill you."
1.The woman across the street saw the stabbing through the last two cars of the El.
2. The shout was heard one second before the stabbing.
3. The El takes 10-12 seconds to pass a given point, such as the old man's window.
So, 4., The El was going by at the time of the shout. (1, 2, 3)
5. The El is really loud when it goes by.
6. The window to the old man's apartment was open
So, 7., the old man would have heard the shout against the background of the really
loud El (4, 5, 6)
8 We can't be certain of what we hear when there is other, loud, noise.
So, 9., the old man couldn't have (with certainty) have heard the boy shout (7, 8)
Target Claim: that the woman living across the tracks couldn’t (with certainty) have
seen the boy stab his father.
1. The woman had marks on her nose.
2. Such marks can only be made by glasses.
So, 3., the woman wears glasses. (1, 2)
4. No one wears glasses to bed.
5. The woman was in bed when she witnessed the killing.
So, 6., she was not wearing her glasses at the time she witnessed the killing. (3, 4, 5)
7. People who wear glasses usually (sunglasses would be an exception) have poor
eyesight without glasses.
So, 8., the woman's eyesight was poor when she witnessed the killing. (6, 7)
9. The killing was witnessed under difficult circumstances: it was night, and a train was
10. The killing was witnesses only very briefly – the lights went out immediately.
11. Testimony from eye-witnesses who have poor eyesight, and witness the event only
briefly and under difficult circumstances is dubious.
So, 12., the woman's testimony – that she saw the boy stab his father – is dubious. (8, 9,