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Published by: Rolando Almeida on Feb 14, 2013
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06/23/2014

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Appendix A: Learning the Logical Lingo

A statement or proposition is a sentence that can either be true or false. A conditional statement is a sentence that can be either true or false and has two parts: the antecedent and the consequent. A conditional statement generally has the form of an “If . . . , then . . . ” statement. An argument is a set of statements with at least one premise and one conclusion. The premises provide reasons or evidence for the truth of the conclusion. A deductive argument has premises that guarantee the truth of the conclusion. An inductive argument is an argument where the premises provide reasons that the conclusion is probably true. An argument is a deductively valid argument if and only if it is impossible for the conclusion to be false if the premises are true. An argument is called “sound” when it is deductively valid and the premises are in fact true. An unsound argument is either invalid, or valid with at least one false premise. A strong argument is an inductive argument where the premises sufficiently support that the conclusion is probably true. The strength of an inductive argument is a matter of degree, and describing an argument as such does not imply that the premises are true. Inductive arguments that are not strong, having unlikely conclusions given the premises, are therefore called “weak” arguments. A cogent argument is a strong argument in which all the premises are in fact true. An uncogent argument is either weak or strong, with at least one false premise.

Just the Arguments: 100 of the Most Important Arguments in Western Philosophy, First Edition. Edited by Michael Bruce and Steven Barbone. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Published 2011 by Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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