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Recognizing Arguments

Week 1 Critical Thinking
by

Katherine Ward

on 22 January 2016

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Transcript of Recognizing Arguments

Arguments
simple and complex
An argument is:
a set of
claims
one of which is
meant to be supported
by the others
Claim:
Doug Kammerer predicted 30 inches of snow
this weekend.
Claim:
Doug Kammerer is the best meterologist in D.C.
Don't you know that no decent poetry has been written since T.S. Eliot died, and even he wasn't in the same class as Yeats? How can you possibly say that poetry is getting better?
Premise(s)
and
Conclusion
inference
In this class we are using the word “argument” in a technical sense. Though we commonly refer to any verbal altercation or dispute as an argument (“Neighbors called the police because the newlyweds were having a terrible argument.”), in this class “argument” is narrowly defined as...
argument vs. dispute
Dogs require a lot of attention and care. John works a lot and cannot provide the care a dog would require. Therefore, John should not get a dog.
Premise 1: Dogs require a lot of attention and care.
Premise 2: John works a lot and cannot provide the care a dog would require.

Conclusion: John should not get a dog.
She's armed, so she's dangerous.
Premise: She's armed.

Conclusion: She's dangerous.
By the end of September in New England, the leaves are already changing to beautiful browns and reds. The nights are cooler, and the days are noticeably shorter. Some inhabitants begin to feel a sense of dread as they think of the long winter to come.


No Argument
Martha has eight speeding tickets, has been in four fender benders, and once ran over her own mailbox while backing out of the driveway. Obviously she’s a bad driver.
Premise 1: Martha has eight speeding tickets.
Premise 2: She has been in four fender benders
Premise 3: She once ran over her own mailbox while backing out of the driveway.
Conclusion: Martha is a bad driver.
Inference Indicators
Dogs require a lot of attention and care. John works a lot and cannot provide the care a dog would require.
Therefore
, John should not get a dog.
Martha has eight speeding tickets, has been in four fender benders, and once ran over her own mailbox while backing out of the driveway.
Obviously
she’s a bad driver.
Conclusion Indicators
Therefore Hence
Thus Which shows that
Consequently We may conclude
It follows that This entails that
So Here are some of the reasons why...
Premise Indicators
Since The reason is that
For For the reason that
Seeing as As implied by
Because On account of the fact that
Now read: "The Why Test"
Juan is a bad cat. He always tries to steal food from the table. He bullies the other cat Butters. He even poops on my pillow when he’s mad.
Premise 1: Juan always tries to steal food from the table.
Premise 2: Juan bullies the other cat Butters.
Premise 3: Juan poops on my pillow when he’s mad.
Conclusion: Juan is a bad cat.
1 or more premises + 1 conclusion = argument
An argument that has an implicit premise or conclusion
Enthymeme
"Socrates is mortal because he's human."
Premise: All humans are mortal. (assumed)
Premise: Socrates is human. (stated)
Conclusion: Therefore, Socrates is mortal. (stated)
"Abortion takes a life. So it's murder."
Premise: Abortion takes a life. (stated)
Premise:
Conclusion: So it's murder. (stated)
All taking of life is murder. (assumed)
How do you know if there is an implicit premise?
- it must be a premise for the argument to make sense
- it is obvious or a piece of common sense (so it need not be stated explicitly)
How can you tell if the conclusion is implicit?
- Sometimes the premises are extremely leading...
- But sometimes it’s the context...
“The victim’s car was last seen driving down Green Street at 10 P.M.; Smith left the pool hall at about that time; the murder took place after that time.”
Argument =
one or more
premises +
only one
conclusion
It is not difficult to program computers so that they “learn” from their mistakes.
Thus, computers will soon exceed the abilities of humans at complex games such as chess or bridge.
That makes it obvious that computers think.
obvious
Thus
Two Possibilities:
two conclusions can be drawn from the same premise (there are two different arguments sharing a premise)
there is a smaller sub-argument as a component of a larger argument
Erlich forgot to pay his gas bill again.
Obviously the poor guy is obsessed with finishing the novel he has been writing.
Anyway, he sure will be cold this winter.
Premise:
Conclusion:

Conclusion:
Have at least one
Intermediate Conclusion
, which is argued for and then becomes a premise for...
the
Final Conclusion
, the final point of the argument.
Premise:

Intermediate Conclusion:

Final Conclusion:
Complete:

Worksheet A


(It's only 6 questions, but some of these are tricky. So take your time!)
Claim:
We should expect 30 inches of snow.
For the next few slides, try to identify the premises and conclusion of the argument, then click through to see the solution.
Read through Chapter 1 of the Munson and Black text before you continue.
(It's short and easy to read!)
One more...
Not a claim:
Snow trips taken away go!
(This is gibberish)
Not a Claim:
Did Doug Kammerer predict 30 inches of snow this weekend?
(this is a question -- not a claim)
Not a claim:
No Doug! Stop it Doug! Damn Doug!
(All these are exclamations)
STOP
(It's only 1 page!)
(this has two conclusion'indicator words'!!!)
Full transcript