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By Dr. El Mithra M. Delacruz

PROPOSITIONS AND ARGUMENTS Arguments are expressed through propositions. An expressed idea or concept through a proposition may be analyzed as either true or false. Analysis of each proposition will help and guide us in our analysis of the entire argument. An argument is either valid or invalid. Analysis of which is based on the relationship of each proposition within an argument. But an argument should not be misconstrued as having a dispute, or hostile physical or verbal attack upon another. It is simply composed of propositions which may either be true or false that would lead one to evaluate whether there is logical coherence between and among propositions within an argument, and, assess whether the conclusion logically follows from a proposition or series of propositions. Judgments are expressed in the form of a proposition or series of propositions. Usually, one proposition provides a reason or explanation to support a judgment made. A proposition expresses an idea, feeling or emotion. It must articulate a complete thought. Remember that a proposition is either true or false while an argument is either valid or invalid.

perhaps. its list of strengths or its advantages to consumers. This may be tantamount to the analysis and interpretation of a work of art. To sustain the argument is to present. A person’s ability to evaluate an argument as valid or invalid.” these propositions are non-argumentative.” Hence. or. On the other hand. one has to be on guard all the time concerning the language we use and at the same time. If a person simply says that “I love red color” or asserts that “There is a new mall. asserting a proposition as true or false would be highly dependent on the person’s knowledge and understanding of the matter. one . one person talks about the impact of EVAT to consumers.Standard Categorical Proposition TRUE PROPOSITION FALSE VALID ARGUMENT INVALID One of the essential things that one has to consider is the meaning that an author intends to convey against another person’s interpretation. Yet. For instance. be extra wary about the content of what we are saying. one can argue against it. An individual may see something in what an artist portrays that is far from what the artist is trying to “say.

The examples below are false propositions: 1. Some pens are not writing materials. 2. Every existentialist is an atheist. All judgments are either acceptable or unacceptable. Mall of Asia is not in Ayala Avenue. 5. 4. Most children are in dire need of attention. No telephone operator is a college graduate. 4.Standard Categorical Proposition says that “Death penalty is a justifying circumstance for a heinous crime” is argumentative. Look at the given examples. No child is walking into my optical store at this time. . before we go any further on argumentation. All questions are complex. The following are examples of true propositions: 1. 3. But. Not all business presentations are clear. 2. 5. 3. An average Filipino is six feet tall. let us first have the basic working knowledge on how to treat and analyze propositions.

There is usually a quantifier before the subject term. ELEMENTS OF A STANDARD-FORM PROPOSITION A predicate term tells or describes something about the main idea (or subject term) in a proposition. It is very easy to identify these elements. symbol and quantity of the predicate. A subject term is the point under discussion.Standard Categorical Proposition Whether a proposition is true or false is of great concern in the analysis of the entire argument. No involuntary act is a conscious act. Although in some cases.” There are four standard forms of categorical propositions that can be stated in the following examples: All government officials are natural-born citizens. Generally.” This can be restated in its standard form as “Some people are enjoying horror movies. a proposition may not be declared in its standard form using the verb “to be.a subject term. Not all commentators are objective. it is the central focus or the main idea or the content in a proposition. A copula is the connector between the subject term and the predicate term. Every proposition has the following elements -. quantity of the proposition.” An example of which is “Some people enjoy horror movies. it is the verb “to be” that is displayed or used as the copula in a proposition. quality of the proposition. Each proposition may be analyzed in accordance to its elements. . a predicate term and a copula. Several movie directors are passionate.

or singular. whenever.” “none. University of Santo Tomas. Nouns. personal pronouns. The quantity of a proposition is universal if it implies each and every member of a class or if it signifies general expressions and ideas. A proposition can be categorized as either universal.” and “commentators. for instance.” “involuntary act. “UST is one of the oldest universities” it implies that “Every class or category of UST is one of the oldest universities. the subject term in each of the propositions given above are “government officials.” QUANTITY OF THE PROPOSITION One easy way to determine the quantity of the proposition (or extension of the proposition) is to check the quantifiers seen in each proposition.” “passionate.Standard Categorical Proposition In terms of its elements.” The quantity of a proposition is singular if it refers to something definite or refers to only one.” “movie directors.” “nothing.” “whomever.” “wherever. In such cases where the proposition is singular. when you encounter a proposition.” “conscious act.” and “objective.” “whatever. say. collective nouns and nouns modified by adjectives in the superlative degree are examples of singular quantifiers.” “whoever. it means that it is categorized as a class of one. or particular.” “every.” “whichever.” “no one.” This can be further illustrated through the proposition “They are active participants in the discussion.” The predicate terms in each of the propositions are “naturalborn citizens. Hence.” “no.” The personal pronoun “they” may be attributed to the universal proposition “All (they) of them are active participants in .” “nobody. Common universal quantifiers are “all.

almost all. several. the quality of the proposition is negative. It follows that based on the given examples above.” and the second and the last propositions are “negative. part. It is based on whether the entire class or a part of it is affirmed or denied. Hence. therefore. QUALITY OF THE PROPOSITION The copula of the proposition is actually that which should be checked to determine the quality of the proposition. the first and the third propositions are “affirmative. one can already determine the symbol because it is where the symbol of a proposition is grounded.” The universal and singular propositions have. most. the first two propositions are universal in quantity and the last two propositions are particular. the same extension. The use of indefinite pronouns is the most commonly used particular quantifiers such as many. The use of numbers also signifies that the quantity of a proposition is particular. etc. or something indefinite. not all. from the given examples above. . The quantity of a proposition is particular if it pertains to a part of a whole. the quality of the proposition is affirmative. Whenever the predicate term accepts something of the subject term. If the predicate term rejects or denies something of the subject term.Standard Categorical Proposition the discussion.” Once the proposition has already been analyzed based on its quantity and quality. or less than the whole. some. few.

This is the reason why they have the same symbols.affirmative. “nEgO” which means negative. A is affirmative and E is negative. and O symbols came from the Latin words “AffIrmo” which means affirmative. Notice that A and E propositions are universal or singular in quantity but different in quality. while E and O propositions share the same quality which is negative. they are different in quality. But. Determine now the symbol of the propositions given above. to negate or to deny.negative. The propositions symbolized by I and O are both particular in quantity but. The proposition “All government officials are natural-born citizens” is symbolized as A since the quantity is universal and the quality is affirmative.Standard Categorical Proposition SYMBOLS OF PROPOSITIONS If it is universal or singular . I. the symbol is A and if the proposition is universal or singular . Of course these symbols are not vowels as seen in the English language! A. The third proposition “Several movie directors are passionate” is symbolized as I because the quantity is particular and the quality is affirmative. The fourth proposition “Not all commentators are . be reminded that in terms of extension. A and I propositions share the same quality which is affirmative. to affirm or to agree. the universal and singular propositions have the same extension. “No involuntary act is a conscious act” is symbolized as E since the quantity is universal and the quality is negative. and. E. the symbol is E.

whether affirmative or negative. if the quality of the proposition is negative. in order to determine the quantity of the predicate. hence. You might be misled to believe that since you see the word “all” therefore. particular or singular.Standard Categorical Proposition objective” is symbolized as O because the quantity is particular and quality is negative. the quantity of the proposition is universal. Take note of that. Do not be confused with this particular quantifier “not all” with a universal quantifier. The following guidelines are applied: 1. if the quality of the proposition is affirmative. . the quantity of the predicate is automatically universal. you have to assess the quantifier used. Just remember that whenever the quantity of the proposition is analyzed. However. Such quantifier “not all” is the same or equivalent to “some are not” which means that the quantifier “not all” is particular and not universal. is the point of reference. it could be universal. the quantity of the predicate is automatically particular 2. the quality of the proposition. QUANTITY OF THE PREDICATE The quantity of the predicate is entirely different from the quantity of the proposition.

the quantifier “most” is an indefinite pronoun. Most ideas were not expressed. Affirmative Particular 2. the quantity of the predicate has nothing to do with the quantity of the proposition. It has no relation with the quantity of the proposition. . Therefore. When we say “most” it means that a particular statement is being referred to. In some cases. the proposition is particular in quantity. While in the second example. This modern technology is the solution to our problem. the quantity of the proposition is singular. the quantity of the predicate is automatically universal.Standard Categorical Proposition Take note of the following examples: 1. the quantity of the predicate is particular. Negative Universal You must have noticed that in the first example. But since the quality of the proposition is affirmative. Since the quality of the proposition is negative. In the first place. the quantity of the proposition may be the same or different from the quantity of the predicate.

The same principle is used in the second and fourth examples given above. No involuntary act is a conscious act. The analysis of a proposition can now be summarized as follows based on the given: SUBJECT TERM Government officials Involuntary act Movie directors Commentators PREDICATE TERM Natural-born citizens Conscious act Passionate Objective All government officials are natural-born citizens. Not all commentators are objective. Several movie directors are passionate. the quantity of the predicate “passionate” in the proposition “Several movie directors are passionate” is particular since the quality is affirmative and the quantity of the predicate “objective” in the proposition “Not all commentators are objective” is universal because the quality is negative. The predicate term “natural-born citizens” in the proposition “All government officials are natural-born citizens” has a particular quantity because the quality of the proposition is affirmative. let’s go back to the four examples of standard form categorical propositions stated above. QUANTITY OF PROP Universal Universal Particular Particular QUALITY OF PROP Affirmative Negative Affirmative Negative A E I O SYMBOL QNTY Particular Universal Particular Universal OF PREDICATE . The quantity of the predicate “conscious act” is negative since the proposition “No involuntary act is a conscious act” has a negative quality.Standard Categorical Proposition Now. Thus.

In the first two examples. quality of the proposition and the symbols. The same symbols are used if the quantity is singular. the quantity of the propositions is universal. so the symbol is E. Universal Affirmative A E I O Particular Negative . E and O propositions are both negative in quality. You can have your own distinct way to remember how to analyze propositions. While the second example: “No involuntary act is a conscious act” has a negative quality. Universal propositions are symbolized as either A or E.Standard Categorical Proposition You will notice that the propositions symbolized by A and E are both universal in quantity but they are different in quality. so the symbol is A. The first example: " All government officials are natural-born citizens” has an affirmative quality. A and I propositions are both affirmative in quality. The propositions symbolized by I and O are both particular but they are also different in quality. Perhaps you can best remember the four standard-form of categorical propositions using the diagram below. Take note of the relationship and connection of the quantity of proposition.

” In order to achieve this goal. PARTICULAR PROPOSITIONS Many people are gifted. Here are a number of examples: A E UNIVERSAL PROPOSITIONS All astronauts are pilots. Everyone is entitled to his own opinion. Millions of people were waiting for Pope Benedict XIV. None of the animals were hurt in the film. Every individual is a special creation. Almost all his dogs were trained to track down. Not everyone was prepared for the strong typhoon. Several shoppers are not excited about the new mall.Standard Categorical Proposition Remember that “Practice leads you to perfection. Whoever is an entrepreneur is resourceful. Twenty percent of the taxpayers are not tax evaders. The four standard forms of categorical propositions can be stated in various ways. Not all the students were able to submit their portfolio. I . Everything is in proper order. At least 5 children were rushed to the hospital. Few journalists were murdered. Whoever is below 25 is not a candidate in this job. Some diseases are not contagious. No brute animal is a human being. it takes a simple technique to remember certain tips on how to best analyze propositions. David is not one of the disciples of Christ. You can see different ways and means to express oneself though language and it is crucial to comprehend the essence of each proposition. Nothing was done.

Standard Categorical Proposition .

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