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Arguments, premise, conclusion, inference indicators, simple/complex.

2nd class
by

Paul Taylor

on 29 January 2013

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Transcript of Arguments, premise, conclusion, inference indicators, simple/complex.

Class 2: Argument: Deconstructed To give an argument is to make a claim and to offer other claims as reasons for its acceptance. An argument will always consist of two basic parts: A Conclusion and a set of Premises. A conclusion is a claim meant to be supported by reasons offered in the argument.

A premise is a claim put forth as a reason for a conclusion. For example:
Since all men are mortal and Socrates is a man, Socrates is mortal. What are the Premises and what is the conclusion? P1: All men are mortal.
P2: Socrates is a man.

What is the conclusion? Therefore: Socrates is mortal. Implication: The first two premises implies the conclusion.
Inference: We infer from the two premises that Aristotle is mortal. It is not always clear what is being implied by the a set of propositions.

So we need to be aware of inference indicators: These are words that the author of an argument uses to indicate which propositions are the premises and which proposition is/are the conclusion/s. Conclusions are usually indicated by:

therefore
so
thus
which proves that
which shows that
from which it follows that
consequently
which leads to
which is why
What follows from this is obvious. Premise indicators are usually phrases like:

because
due to the fact that
is based on
is proved by
is shown by
which follows from
is a consequence of
since
for
There are two reasons for this.
First, . . . We will be learning; the basic structure of an argument; How to recognize the components of an argument; How to identify an Argument vs a Non-Argument; how to identify a Simple vs Complex argument. And the difference between a Good and Bad Argument. Worksheet! A Simple Argument vs A Complex Argument Simple arguments;

Only has one conclusion but can have multiple premises: The simplest argument will have at least two premises (implied or stated), and only one conclusion. Complex arguments:

When the conclusion of one sub-argument is used as a premise for another argument.
This takes the form of: P1,P2,Therefore C1; C1, P4, Therefore C2. Criterion #1: A good argument must have true premises
This means that if we have an argument with one or more false premises, then it is not a good argument. The reason for this condition is that we want a good argument to be one that can convince us to accept the conclusion. Unless the premises of an argument are all true, we would have no reason to accept to accept its conclusion. Criterion #2 : A good argument must be either valid or strong
Is validity a necessary condition for a good argument? Certainly many good arguments are valid. Example:
All whales are mammals.
All mammals are warm-blooded.
So all whales are warm-blooded But it is not true that good arguments must be valid. We often accept arguments as good, even though they are not valid. Example:
No baby in the past has ever been able to understand quantum physics.
Kitty is going to have a baby soon.
So Kitty's baby is not going to be able to understand quantum physics. Criterion #3 : The premises of a good argument must not beg the question
Notice that criteria #1 and #2 are not sufficient for a good argument. First of all, we certainly don't want to say that circular arguments are good arguments, even if they happen to be sound. Suppose someone offers the following argument:
It is going to rain tomorrow. Therefore, it is going to rain tomorrow. Criterion #4 : The premises of a good argument must be plausible and relevant to the conclusion
Here, plausibility is a matter of having good reasons for believing that the premises are true. As for relevance, this is the requirement that the the subject matter of the premises must be related to that of the conclusion. Some criterion for a good argument.
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