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Arguments (conti…)

Q. How many books can you put in an empty bag?


Ans : Only One, after that the bag is not empty.

Q. How can you make 7 even?


Ans: By removing ‘s’ from ‘seven’

Purpose of Arguments
 To Convince or Persuade
 Arguments are statements that are true or false -- which are offered for a specific purpose,
namely to convince or persuade a listener or reader.
Examples of some convincing Activities
 Parents and friends try to convince us to take better care of our health
 advertisers try to convince us to buy their products
 political candidates attempt to persuade us on how to vote.
While arguments are intended to convince, this does not mean that all attempts to convince are
arguments.

What is not an Argument?


 Reports
 Unsupported Assertions
 Conditional Statements
 Illustrations
 Explanations

1. Reports
 Purpose of report is simply to convey information about a subject.
Example
Sweeping changes occurred in demographic, economics, culture, and society during the last
quarter of the 20th century. The nation aged, and more of its people gravitated to the Sunbelt.
Sprawling “urban corridors” and “edge cities” challenged older central cities for commercial, as
well as residential, development. Rapid technological change fueled the growth of globalization
industries, restructuring the labor force to fit a “postindustrial” economy.
Author’s Aim :
 to narrate and inform
 Not to offer a reason why statement should be accepted on the basis of others

2. Unsupported Assertions
 These are statements about what a speaker or writer happens to believe.
 They are parts of arguments only if the speaker or writer claims that they follow from, or
support, other claims.
Example
“I believe that it is not dying that people are afraid of. Something else, something more
unsettling and more tragic than dying frightens us. We are afraid of never having lived, of

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coming to the end of our days with the sense that we were never really alive, that we never
figured out what life was for.”

 Because there is no claim that any of these statements follow from, or imply, any other
statements, this is not an argument.

3. Conditional Statements
 A conditional statement is an if-then statement.
Examples
 If it rains, then the picnic will be canceled.
 You must speak French if you grew up in Quebec.
 If at first you don’t succeed, don’t try skydiving.
Conditional statements are made up of two parts.
Viz.
a. The statement(s) following the word if, is called the Antecedent.
b. The statement(s) following the word then, is called the Consequent.
Although conditional statements are not arguments, some do involve a process of reasoning.
Example
If Rhode Islands were larger than Ohio,
and Ohio were larger than Texas,
then Rhode Islands would be larger than Texas.
 Assertion : if first two statements are true, the third statement must also be true.
 But there is NO Claim that any of these statements are true.
 Hence there are NO Premises to any Conclusion.
Exception (Chain Arguments)
 Chain Arguments are composed entirely of conditional statements.
 Such Arguments are called Chain Arguments because the Antecedent (the if part) of first
statement is linked to the consequent (the then part) of the last statement by chain.
Example
If tech scores on this play, then I’ll eat my hat.
If I eat my hat, then I’ll have a bad case of indigestion.
So, if tech scores on this play, then I’ll have a bad case of

4. Illustrations
 Illustrations are intended to provide examples of a claim, rather than prove or support the
claim.
Example
Many wildflowers are edible. For example, daisies and day lilies are delicious in salads.

5. Explanations
 An explanation tries to show why something is the case, not to prove that it is the case.
Example
 Titanic sank because it struck an iceberg.
 Capital punishment should be abolished because innocent people may be mistakenly
executed.

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Parts of Arguments
 purpose of arguments (true/false) is reflected in the relationship of their parts.
 argument is comprised of : a claim, or conclusion, and at least one reason for accepting
the claim or conclusion i.e. Premises.
 The statements in an argument are inferentially related.
i.e. one or more of the statements are intended to establish the truth of the main statements or
conclusion.
Example
"You should stop smoking. It's bad for your health,"
conclusion, is "You should stop smoking,“
premise, is "It's bad for your health."

Identifying
Arguments, Conclusions, and Premises
 If asked to determine whether a set of statements is an argument or not.
ask yourself the questions,
Viz.
 "Is this passage trying to convince me of something.?“
Ans: yes.
 "What claim or conclusion is the passage intended to convince me to accept?"
After identifying the conclusion
 "What reasons are given for me to accept this conclusion?"
Remember that so long as you have a conclusion and at least one reason or premise, the passage
is an argument.

Conclusion indicators and premise indicators


Indicators : Key-words, which, if used properly, indicate a conclusion or a premise.
Common Conclusion Indicators
 Therefore…
 Consequently…
 Hence...
 So…
 Thus…
 In conclusion…
 Accordingly…
 It follows that…
 As a result…
Common Premise Indicators
 Because…
 Since…
 In light of…
 Whereas…
 Given that…
 For the reason that…

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 For…

Identify Premises & Conclusion


Example
1. You do want to find a good job. So you should be hardworking.
Premise: You do want to find a good job.
Conclusion: So you should be hardworking.

2. Doctors earn a lot of money. I want to earn a lot of money. I should become a doctor.
Premise 1: Doctors earn a lot of money.
Premise 2: I want to earn a lot of money.
Conclusion : I should become a doctor.

3. You cannot step twice in the same river, for others waters are ever flowing on to you.
Premise: You cannot step twice in the same river,
Conclusion: for others waters are ever flowing on to you.

4. Many just persons are affiliated in this world, which is unjust. Therefore not in every work of
God are justice and mercy.
Premise: Many just persons are affiliated in this world, which is unjust.
Conclusion: Therefore not in every work of God are justice and mercy.

5. There is no definitive way to prove any one set of religious beliefs to the exclusion of all
others. For that reason religious freedom is a human right.
Premise: For that reason religious freedom is a human right.
Conclusion: There is no definitive way to prove any one set of religious beliefs to the exclusion
of all others.

6. Since pain is a state of consciousness, a “mental event,” it can never be directly observed.
Premises: pain is a state of consciousness, a “mental event
Conclusion: it can never be directly observed.

7. Business is the art of growth. Growth is the essence of life. And so business is the art of life.
Premise 1: Business is the art of growth.
Premise 2: Growth is the essence of life.
Conclusion: business is the art of life.

8. Science is based on experiment, on a willingness to challenge old dogma, on an openness to


see the universe as it really is. Accordingly, science some-time requires courage - at the very
least the courage to question the conventional wisdom.
Premise: Science is based on experiment, on a willingness to challenge old dogma, on an
openness to see the universe as it really is.
Conclusion: science some-time requires courage - at the very least the courage to question the
conventional wisdom.

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9. Do not play your sound system loudly as you may not be able to hear warning sirens from
emergency vehicles. In addition, hearing damage from loud noise is almost undetectable until it’s
too late.
Premise 1: you may not be able to hear warning sirens from emergency vehicles
Premise 2: hearing damage from loud noise is almost undetectable until it’s too late.
Conclusion: Do not play your sound system loudly

10. You know how I know animals have souls? Because on average the lowest animal is a lot
nicer and kinder than most of the human beings that inhabit this earth.
Premise: the lowest animal is a lot nicer and kinder than most of the human beings that inhabit
this earth.
Conclusion: animals have souls

11. There is nothing wrong with burning crude [oil] like crazy. Oil isn’t helping anyone when it
sits in the ground. so long as there’s a plan for energy alternatives when the cheap oil runs out.
Premise: oil isn’t helping anyone when it sits in the ground
Conclusion 1: There is nothing wrong with burning crude [oil] like crazy.
Conclusion 2: so long as there’s a plan for energy alternatives when the cheap oil runs out.

12. It’s a part of human nature to be angry at God when bad things happen, there is no point in
doing so. If we encourage each other to blame God for injustices, then aren’t we giving the evil
or dark side a victory by keeping God’s precious children away from his loving arms?
Premise: If we encourage each other to blame God for injustices, then aren’t we giving the evil
or dark side a victory by keeping God’s precious children away from his loving arms?
Conclusion: It’s a part of human nature to be angry at God when bad things happen, there is no
point in doing so.

13. Has it ever occurred to you how lucky you are to be alive? More than 99% of all creatures
that have ever lived have died without progeny, but not a single one of your ancestors falls into
this group!
Premise 1: More than 99% of all creatures that have ever lived have died without progeny
Premise 2: not a single one of your ancestors falls into this group
Conclusion: you how lucky you are to be alive

14. When the universe has crushed him man will still be nobler than that which kills him,
because he knows that he is dying, and of its victory the universe knows nothing.
Premise 1: Man knows that he is dying
Premise 2: of its victory the universe knows nothing.
Conclusion: When the universe has crushed him man will still be nobler than that which kills
him

15. How can anyone in his right mind criticize the state police for the speed traps? If you’re not
speeding, you don’t have to worry about them. It could save your life if some other speeder is
stopped.
Premise 1: If you’re not speeding, you don’t have to worry about speed traps.
Premise 2: A speed trap could save your life if some other speeder is stopped.

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Conclusion: No one in his right mind criticize the state police for the speed traps.

16. If a man says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar: for he that love not his brother
whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen.
Premise: he that love not his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not
seen.
Conclusion: If a man says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar

17. Our nation protests, encourages, and even intervenes in the affairs of other nations on the
basis of its relations to corporations. But if this is the case, how can we dissociate ourselves from
the plight of people in these countries?
Premise: Our nation protests, encourages, and even intervenes in the affairs of other nations on
the basis of its relations to corporations.
Conclusion: how can we dissociate ourselves from the plight of people in these countries?

18. There is no definitive way to prove any one set of religious beliefs to the exclusion of all
others. For that reason religious freedom is a human right.
Premise: Religious freedom is a human right.
Conclusion: There is no definitive way to prove any one set of religious beliefs to the exclusion
of all others.

19. Global currency markets alone involve the daily exchange of over two trillion dollars, and
since these markets largely determine the value of any national currency, they contribute
significantly to the inability of governments to control the economic policy.
Premise 1: Global currency markets alone involve the daily exchange of over two trillion dollars
Premise 2: Global currency markets largely determine the value of any national currency
Conclusion: Global currency markets contribute significantly to the inability of governments to
control the economic policy.

20. Democracy has at least one merit, namely, that a Member of Parliament cannot be stupider
than his constituents, for the more stupid he is, the more stupid they were to elect him.
Premise: The more stupid he (a member of Parliament) is, the more stupid they (democracy)
were to elect him.
Conclusion: Democracy has at least one merit, namely, that a Member of Parliament cannot be
stupider than his constituents.

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Example
"Mr. Jones has served in the U.S. Senate for twelve years and has extensive experience in foreign
affairs. You should support him for President."
Q. Develop several formulations of the set of propositions with different conclusion and
premise indicators to determine which formulation makes sense.
Ans :
Possibilities
 “Since you should support Jones for President, therefore he has served in the U.S. Senate
for twelve years and has extensive experience in foreign affairs."
 “Since Jones has served in the U.S. Senate for twelve years and has extensive experience
in foreign affairs, therefore you should support him for President."
Supplying these premise and conclusion indicators make it clear that the second formulation is
the most sensible.
Sensible Statement:
"Since Jones has served in the U.S. Senate for twelve years and has extensive experience in
foreign affairs, therefore you should support him for President."
conclusion :
"You should support Jones for President"
Premise :
"Jones has served in the U.S. Senate for twelve years and has extensive experience in foreign
affairs"

You must be careful in relying on these indicators.


 Unfortunately, these terms do not always serve as indicators.
Example:
Consider the word "since." When it is used to indicate a time.
i.e.," Since I came to university, I have had many friends."
 In this case, "since" refers to the time that I came to university.
Moreover,
 writers and speakers do not always use these words to introduce their conclusions and
premises,
 and sometimes when people use these term, they use them incorrectly.
 Hence (Note, I've used a conclusion indicator), these terms do not offer infallible guides
to identifying premises and conclusions.

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