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Recognizing Arguments

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Matthew Flummer

on 9 January 2015

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Transcript of Recognizing Arguments

Recognizing Arguments
Two conditions :
1. At least one of the statements must claim to present evidence or reasons.
2. There must be a claim that the alleged evidence supports or implies something--that is, a claim that something follows from the alleged evidence or reasons (14).
Number 1 expresses a factual claim

Number 2 expresses what is called an inferential claim
Most factual claims fall outside the domain of logic.
So in this class, we'll be focusing on the inferential claims.
Inferential claims are either explicit or implicit.
Explicit inferential claims are usually asserted by premise or conclusion indicator words.
In implicit inferential claims, there won't be indicator words.

Mad cow disease is spread by feeding parts of infected animals to cows, and this practice has yet to be completely eradicated. Thus, mad cow disease continues to pose a threat to people who eat beef.
Explicit (uses 'thus')
The genetic modification of food is risky business. Genetic engineering can introduce unintended changes into the DNA of the food-producing organism, and these changes can be toxic to the consumer.
Implicit. (No indicators)
Argument or not?
Whatever you do, never confide personal secrets to Blabbermouth Bob.
(This is a Warning)
You should keep a few things in mind before buying a used car. Test drive the car at varying speeds and conditions, examine the oil in the crankcase, ask to see service records, and, if possible, have the engine and power train checked by a mechanic.
Not. (This is a piece of advice)
My granny once told me that all pigs can fly. I know of this pig named Wilbur. It must be that Wilbur can fly.
Yes. Explicit (it must be that)
"I tell you what, I ain't opposed to body piercin'. It gives you a quick way to tell if someone ain't right just by lookin' at 'em." Hank Hill, King of the Hill
No. Statement of opinion
"Not to honor men of worth will keep the people from contention; not to value goods that are hard to come by will keep them from theft; not to display what is desirable will keep them from being unsettled of mind." Lau-Tzu
No. Loosely associated statements.
The period of 1648-1789 was one of competition among the primary monarchs of Europe. Wars among the great powers were frequent but limited. France made major efforts to become paramount, but the balance of power operated to block French expansion.
No. Report.
There are three familiar states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas. Solid objects ordinarily maintain their shape and volume regardless of their location. A liquid occupies a definite volume, but assumes the shape of the occupied portion of its container. A gas maintains neither shape nor volume. It expands to completely fill whatever container it is in.
No. Simple expository passage.
Skin and mucous membranes lining the respiratory and digestive tracts serve as mechanical barriers to entry by microbes. Oil gland secretions contain chemicals that weaken or kill bacteria on skin. The respiratory tract is lined by cells that sweep mucus and trapped particles up into the throat, where they can be swallowed. The stomach has an acidic pH, which inhibits the growth of many types of bacteria.
Yes! This one is both expository and an argument.
Expository passage: a kind of discourse that begins with a topic sentence followed by one or more sentences that develop, or explain the topic sentence.

Keep in mind that sometimes expository passages attempt to prove the topic sentence. So they can sometimes be arguments.
Chemical compounds can be represented by molecular formulas. Thus, water is represented by "H20" and salt by "NaCl"
No. This is an illustration. Don't let the conclusion indicator, 'thus', fool you.
An explanation is an expression that purports to shed light on some event or phenomenon. (20)
For example:

Golf balls have a dimpled surface because the dimples reduce air drag, causing the ball to travel farther.
Explanations are composed of two components: explanandum and explanans.

Explanandum: the statement that describes the thing being explained

Explanans: the statement or statements that do the explaning.
Accepted facts
Claimed to prove
Claimed to shed light on
Accepted fact
Conditional statements are "if...then..." statements.
If all pigs could fly, then Wilbur would be able to fly.
1. A single conditional statement is not an argument.
2. A conditional statement may serve as either a premise or a conclusion.
3. The inferential content of a conditional statement may be reexpressed as an argument.
Necessary and sufficient conditions:

X is a sufficient condition for Y whenever the occurrence of X is all that is needed for the occurrence of Y.

B is a necessary condition for A whenever A cannot occur without the occurrence of B.
1. The presence of oxygen is a ____ condition for human life.
2. Being human is a ___ condition for being a mammal.
3. Sunlight is a ___ condition for plants to grow.
4. Being green is a ___ condition for being colored.

Arguments come in 2 forms: deductive and inductive.

Deductive arguments are supposed to guarantee the conclusion.

Inductive arguments, however, only show that the conclusion is probable.

1. All Frenchmen are cheese-eating surrender monkeys.
2. Pierre is a Frenchman.
3. Therefore, Pierre is a cheese-eating surrender monkey.

1. Most former NBA players are taller than me.
2. Larry and Wilt are former NBA players.
3. Therefore, they are probably taller than me.

Validity and Soundness:

In a valid deductive argument, if the premises are true, then it is impossible for the conclusion to be false.

In an invalid deductive argument, it is possible for the conclusion to be false if the premises are true.

Sound = valid + truth

1. All banks are financial institutions.
2. Wells Fargo is a bank.
3. Therefore, Wells Fargo is a financial institution.

1. All mammals are warm-blooded.
2. Algernon is a mammal.
3. Therefore, Algernon is warm-blooded.

Weak and strong inductive arguments:

Strong inductive argument: if the premises are true then it is improbable that the conclusion is false.

They are weak when it is not improbable that the conclusion is false if the premises are true.

Cogent = strong + truth

1. Every crow ever seen has been black.
2. Therefore, the next crow that I see will probably be black.

1. Billy Bob is from Alabama, he likes to fish and he is a redneck.
2. Matt is from Alabama and he likes to fish.
3. Therefore, he's probably a redneck too.

Types of deductive arguments:

1. Categorical syllogism
2. Hypothetical syllogism
3. Disjunctive syllogism

Types of Inductive arguments:
1. Prediction
2. Analogy
3. Generalization
4. Authority
5. Signs
6. Causal Inference
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