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Argument Basics

Getting to
Accept - Reject - Suspend Judgment

Argument
An argument is an attempt to convince
someone (possibly yourself) that a
particular claim, called a conclusion, is
true,
The rest of the argument is a collection of
claims called the premises, which are
given as the reasons for believing the
conclusion is true.
The conclusion is sometimes called the
issued that is being debated.

Argument Basics

Premises
1)Acceptable
2)Relevant

Conclusion

About Premises
May be stated or unstated

About Premises
May be stated or unstated
Thelawsofnatureandmorallawareoneandthesame.
[Humanbeingscanunderstandthelawsofnature.]
[Humanbeingsmustfollowthelawsofnature.]
So,thehumancommunityischargedwiththetaskof
orderingitslifeaccordingtothesamekindofobjective
principlesbywhichthecosmositselfisordered.
AdaptedfromTheAmericanSoul,byJacobNeedleman

About Premises
May be stated or unstated
May be dependent or independent

About Premises
May be stated or unstated
May be dependent or independent
Dependentpremisesneedatleastoneotherpremise
toprovidesupportforaconclusion.

About Premises
May be stated or unstated
May be dependent or independent
Dependentpremisesneedatleastoneotherpremise
toprovidelogicalsupportforaconclusion.
Independentpremisesprovidesomesupportforan
argumentsconclusionwhetherornotanyother
premisesarepresent(givenreasonable
assumptions).

About Premises
May be stated or unstated
May be dependent or independent
Ineveryfreesociety,whichtheU.S.intendstobe,there
mustbeoppositepartiesandviolentdissensions.
Generally,onepartymustprevailovertheothers.
Afreesocietycannotbepreservedifthepartiesdonot
committoremainingunitedeveniftheydontprevail.
So,adurablyfreeAmericamustincludebothstrong
dissentandcommitmenttopreservetheunion.

AdaptedfromThomasJefferson

About Premises
May be stated or unstated
May be dependent or independent
Ineveryfreesociety,theremustbeoppositepartiesand
violentdissensions.
Afreesocietycannotbepreservedifthepartiesdonot
committoremainingunited.
So,afreeAmericacanbeexpectedtoincludeboth
strongdissentandcommitmenttopreservetheunion.

About Premises
May be stated or unstated
May be dependent or independent
May be indicated by lead-in words or
phrases
Indicator Words

About Premises
May be stated or unstated
May be dependent or independent
May be indicated by lead-in words or
phrases

Since

Forthereasonthat

For

Inviewof

Because

Thisisimpliedby

Inasmuchas

Giventhat

Supposethat

Itfollowsfrom

Itfollowsfrom

Dueto

About Premises
May be stated or unstated
May be dependent or independent
May be indicated by lead-in words or
phrases
May need support or explanation

About Premises
May be stated or unstated
May be dependent or independent
May be indicated by lead-in words or
phrases
May need support or explanation
Thisisusuallyprovidedinasupportingor
explanatoryparagraphorinmoredetailed
discussion.

About Premises
May be stated or unstated
May be dependent or independent
May be indicated by lead-in words or
phrases
May need support or explanation
May be surrounded by irrelevancies

About Conclusions
May be stated or unstated

About Conclusions
May be stated or unstated
Religiousfreedomisthefirstfreedomguaranteedinthe
BillofRights.
Itwasalsothesinglemostimportantreasonwhythe
earliestsettlersintheColoniesleftthesafetyand
relativecomfortoftheirhomestostartnewliveshere.
ThebedrockfreedomsofAmericancivilizationwill
alwaysneedtobeprotectedandinterpretedforthe
times.

So

About Conclusions
May be stated or unstated
Religiousfreedomisthefirstfreedomguaranteedinthe
BillofRights.
Itwasalsothesinglemostimportantreasonwhythe
earliestsettlersintheColoniesleftthesafetyand
relativecomfortoftheirhomestostartnewliveshere.
ThebedrockfreedomsofAmericancivilizationwill
alwaysneedtobeprotectedandinterpretedforthe
times.

So,wemuststillinterpretanddefendreligiousfreedom.

About Conclusions
May be stated or unstated
May be controversial

About Conclusions
May be stated or unstated
May be controversial
Madonnasproductionsfrequentlycontainreligious
themesandsymbolism.
Herworkhasbeenthetopicofseriousstudyby
respectedscholarsofreligion.
So,Madonnaswork,evenherhighlysexualmaterial,
mustbeprotectedasreligiousexpressionbytheFirst
Amendment.

About Conclusions
May be stated or unstated
May be controversial
May be indicated by lead-in words or
phrases

About Conclusions
May be stated or unstated
May be controversial
May be indicated by lead-in words or
phrases

Thus

Therefore Thisshowsthat

So

Accordingly...Thisimpliesthat

Hence

ConsequentlyThisprovesthat

Ergo

ItfollowsthatThissuggeststhat

About Conclusions
May be stated or unstated
May be controversial
May be indicated by lead-in words or
phrases
Must contain only terms found in the
premises (or their equivalents)

About Conclusions
May be stated or unstated
May be controversial
May be indicated by lead-in words or
phrases
Must contain only terms found in the
premises (or their equivalents)
Thepresenceofnewtermsinaconclusionis
strongevidenceofunstatedpremises.

About Arguments
Valid Arguments: Argument is valid if
it is impossible for the premises to be
true and the conclusion false (at the
same time; otherwise it is invalid.

About Arguments
Strong and Weak Arguments: Invalid
arguments are classified on a scale
from strong to weak. An argument is
strong if it is very unlikely for the
premises to be true and the conclusion
false (at the same time); an argument is
weak if it is likely for the premises to be
true and the conclusion false.

In any of these ways is the


conclusion false?
WaysThePremisesCouldBeTrue
NO=VALID
EveryWayThePremises
CouldBeTrue
TheConclusionisTrue

YES=INVALID

VeryUnlikely
STRONG

NotsoLikely
WEAK

What are the Claims in the


Argument?
The Standard a Poors index rose 4%
today. Dick has $2,000 in an S&P index
mutual fund. So Dicks mutual fund
account went up $80 today.

What are the Claims in the


Argument?
The Standard a Poors index rose 4% today.
Dick has $2,000 in an S&P index mutual fund.
So Dicks mutual fund account went up $80
today.
Premise 1: The S&P index rose 4% today.
Premise 2: Dick has $2,000 in an S&P index
mutual fund.
Conclusion: Dicks mutual fund account went up
$80 today.

What are the Claims in the


Argument?
The Standard a Poors index rose 4% today.
Dick has $2,000 in an S&P index mutual fund.
So Dicks mutual fund account went up $80
today.
Is this a valid argument?
Analysis: This is a valid argument: It is
impossible for the premises to be true and the
conclusion false.
Whether it is a good argument depends on
whether its premises are true.

Tests for an Argument to be Good


The premises are plausible
The premises are more plausible than
the conclusion
The argument is valid or strong

What are the Claims in the


Argument?
Seora Vez is an economics professor. All
economics professors are socialists. So
Seora Vez is a socialist.

What are the Claims in the


Argument?
Seora Vez is an economics professor. All
economics professors are socialists. So
Seora Vez is a socialist.
Premise 1: Seora Vez is an economics
professor
Premise 2: All economics professors are
socialists
Conclusion: Seora Vez is a socialist

What are the Claims in the


Argument?
Seora Vez is an economics professor. All
economics professors are socialists. So
Seora Vez is a socialist.
Is this a valid argument?
Analysis: This is a valid argument: It is
impossible for the premises to be true and the
conclusion to be false.
Is it a good argument? NO! The second
premise is false.

Deductive and Inductive Arguments

Onewayofconceptualizing
argumentsisbythedegreeof
confidenceoneissupposedto
haveintheconclusionifthe
premisesaretrue.

Deductive and Inductive Arguments


Deductiveargumentsare
constructedwiththe
intentionofsupporting
theirconclusions
perfectly,thatis,with
premisesthat,iftrue,
guaranteethetruthof
theconclusion.

Deductive and Inductive Arguments


Deductiveargumentsare Inductiveargumentsare
constructedwiththe
constructedwiththe
intentionofsupporting
intentionofproviding
theirconclusions
thestrongestpossible
perfectly,thatis,with
supportforthe
premisesthat,iftrue,
conclusion,even
guaranteethetruthof
thoughtheyareunable
theconclusion.
toguaranteethetruth
oftheconclusion.

Explanations
Why is this claim true?
An inferential explanation is a collection of
claims that can be understood as
Something Happened
because of
A
B
C

Explanation
We call A, B, and C the explanation.
Something Happened is the claim
being explained.

When is an explanation good?


The claim is highly plausible.
The explanation addresses the correct
claim.
The explanation is plausible.
The explanation is valid and strong.
The explanation is not circular.