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Argument

I.

What is argument?
An argument is any discourse, whether oral or written, in which some statements are used as reason, justification or
evidence in order to support, the claim of another statement. The claim of the statement maybe something true, false or
probable; something good/bad, right/wrong, desirable/undesirable. The part of the discourse used to support a claim is
called premise and the part of the discourse supported by a claim is called conclusion. Acuna
Argument is any group of propositions which one is claimed to follow from the others which regarded as providing
support or grounds for the truth of that one. It is also a structured group of propositions reflecting an inference. Copi
Inference is a process of linking propositions by affirming one proposition on the basis of one or more propositions.

Making an Inference

You make an inference when you use clues to figure out something that the author doesn't tell you.
When you make an inference, you must be able to identify the clues that you used.

Example:
Pete called Ted Tuesday afternoon and invited him to come to his house after dinner to watch a movie. It had been a long, boring day,
and Ted was excited to have something to do. After dinner, he hopped on his bike and pedaled over to Pete's house. The house was
dark, and when he rang the bell, there was no answer. Ted turned around, hopped back on his bike, and rode home.
Questions:
1. What had Ted concluded?
II.

2. What clues in the story helped you to make this inference?

What is the purpose of an Argument?


The practice of argumentation is teleological. Argumentation clearly serves to help us achieve many different goals, among
them persuasion, justification, inquiry, belief maintenance, decision making, project proposal and etc.

III.

How do we assess whether a passage contains an argument?


A. The argument contains premise/reason and conclusion. The following steps are suggested by Anne Thomson.
1.

Look for conclusion/premise indicators. Examples are:

Premise Indicators
Indicators
Since
as indicated by
Because
For
in that
as (noncomparison)

2.

3.
4.

owing to
may be inferred from
given that
seeing that
for the reason that
inasmuch as

Conclusion
therefore
wherefore
accordingly
we may conclude
entails that
hence
thus
consequently

we may infer
it must be that
It means that
so
it follows that
implies that
as a result
whence

If there is no conclusion indicator word, analyze each sentence and ask does the rest of the passage give any extra
information which tells me why I should believe this? If the answer is NO then this sentence is not a conclusion. If the
answer is YES then the sentence is a conclusion.
If none of the sentences in a passage is a conclusion, then the passage is not an argument: No conclusion, no argument.
When you found the conclusion in a passage, rewrite the passage with the conclusion at the end, introduced by SO. Read
the re-written passage to check if it makes sense. If it does, the passage is an argument.

B. Assessing non-argument: The passage is not argument if it is a piece of advice, statements of belief, statements of
opinion, loosely associated statements, reports, expository passages, illustrations, explanations and conditional
statements.