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Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions
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Tutorial on arguments premises-conclusions

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  • A good complementary activity to this presentation: whaddayaknowabout.com/criticalthinking/premiseandconclusion/
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  • Thanks that is nice explanations
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  • 1. Distinguishing Arguments from Non-arguments The aim of this tutorial is to help you identify arguments and distinguish them from various kinds of non-arguments.
  • 2. <ul><li>An argument is a claim defended with reasons. </li></ul><ul><li>More precisely, a passage is an argument if and only if: </li></ul><ul><li>it is a group of two or more statements </li></ul><ul><li>(b) one of those statements (the conclusion) is claimed or intended to be supported by the other(s) (the premises). </li></ul>
  • 3. Notice three important things that follow from this definition: 1. Arguments consist entirely of statements, i.e., sentences that it makes sense to regard as either true or false. Questions, commands, exclamations, and other kinds of nonstatements cannot be parts of arguments. (Keep in mind, however, that rhetorical questions should be treated as statements.) 2. No single statement, however long, complex, or controversial, is an argument. Arguments always consist of at least two statements. 3. Nothing counts as an argument unless it is claimed or intended that one statement follows from one or more other statements in the passage. In other words, a passage is an argument only if the speaker or writer intends to offer evidence or reasons why another statement should be accepted as true.
  • 4. Five kinds of passages that are sometimes confused with arguments are: <ul><li>reports </li></ul><ul><li>unsupported assertions </li></ul><ul><li>Illustrations </li></ul><ul><li>conditional statements </li></ul><ul><li>explanations </li></ul>
  • 5. Planet Earth was much drier in the Triassic than it is now, and there were large deserts in inland areas. There were no flowering plants or grasses--they evolved much later. The most common trees were conifers, similar to today's pines. Other large plants included yews, ginkgos, and the palmlike cycads. Moisture-loving ferns and horsetails thrived by lakes and rivers. Philip Whitfield, Simon & Schuster's Children's Guide to Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Animals , 1992) <ul><li>This passage is a report. </li></ul>A report is a statement or group of statements intended simply to convey information about a subject. Keep in mind that reports of other people's arguments should be regarded as reports rather than as arguments.
  • 6. 1. Begin each day with a prayer. 2. Work hard. 3. Love your family. 4. Make light of your troubles. 5. Follow the Golden Rule. 6. Read from the Bible. 7. Show kindness. 8. Read worthwhile books. 9. Be clean and pure. 10. Have charity in your heart. 11. Be obedient and respectful. 12. End the day in prayer. These twelve rules, the &quot;Quaker Dozen,&quot; were written long ago in a family Bible. But I believe they still fit today's problems. (Adapted from Olive Ireland Theen, &quot;Grandfather's Quaker Dozen,&quot; in William Nichol, ed., A New Treasury of Words to Live By , 1959) <ul><li>This passage is an unsupported assertion. </li></ul>An unsupported assertion is a statement or set of statements in which the speaker or writer expresses his or her personal opinion, but offers no reasons or evidence to back up that opinion.
  • 7. Almost all groups agree in holding other groups to be inferior to themselves. The American Indians looked upon themselves as the chosen people, specially created by the Great Spirit as an uplifting example for mankind. One Indian tribe called itself &quot;The Only Men&quot;; another called itself &quot;Men of Men&quot;; the Caribs said, &quot;We alone are people.&quot; (Will Durant, Our Oriental Heritage , 1935) <ul><li>This passage is an illustration. </li></ul>An illustration is a passage intended to provide examples that illustrate or support a claim, not to provide convincing evidence that the claim is true. The three examples cited in this passage are clearly insufficient to support the author's claim that &quot; almost all groups agree in holding other groups to be inferior to themselves.&quot; This indicates that the passage is intended to illustrate the author's claim, rather than to prove it.
  • 8. If Hal comes to the party than Sarah will come to the party. <ul><li>This passage is a conditional statement. </li></ul>A conditional statement is an if-then statement. It is an assertion that such-and-such is true if something else is true. Conditional statements are not arguments because arguments always contain at least two statements and conditional statements consist of only a single statement: &quot; Statement A is true on the condition that statement B is true.&quot; In the passage above, the speaker or writer isn't asserting that Hal will come to the party. Nor is she asserting that Sarah will come to the party. Rather, she is asserting that Sarah will come to the party provided that Hal comes to the party. This is a single statement, and thus is not an argument.
  • 9. I speak English because my parents sent me to boarding school in London. <ul><li>This passage is an explanation. </li></ul>An explanation is a statement or set of statements that seeks to provide an account of why something has occurred or why something is the case. In this passage, the speaker or writer isn't trying to prove that he can speak English (that's obvious from the fact that he is speaking English!). Rather, he is trying to explain why he speaks English. In other words, arguments seek to provide evidence or reasons that something is the case; explanations seek to explain why something is the case.
  • 10. For the person who called and said Larry Bird was better than Michael Jordan, wake up. No one was ever better than Michael Jordan, not even Kareem in his glory and not even Dr. J (From a newspaper call-in column) <ul><li>Is this passage an argument or not an argument? </li></ul>If it is not an argument, is it a report, an unsupported assertion, an illustration, a conditional statement, or an explanation?
  • 11. For the person who called and said Larry Bird was better than Michael Jordan, wake up. No one was ever better than Michael Jordan, not even Kareem in his glory and not even Dr. J (From a newspaper call-in column) <ul><li>Non-argument (unsupported assertion). </li></ul>In this passage, the speaker simply asserts his opinion; he makes no effort to defend it.
  • 12. When a democratic society is correctly understood to be one in which the people live under constitutional government with universal suffrage and with the securing of human rights, economic as well as political, for all citizens, it must then be recognized that a democratic society is not yet fifty years old in this country (Mortimer J. Adler, The Paideia Proposal , 1984) <ul><li>Is this passage an argument or not an argument? </li></ul><ul><li>If it is not an argument, is it a report, an unsupported </li></ul><ul><li>assertion, an illustration, a conditional statement, or an explanation? </li></ul>
  • 13. When a democratic society is correctly understood to be one in which the people live under constitutional government with universal suffrage and with the securing of human rights, economic as well as political, for all citizens, it must then be recognized that a democratic society is not yet fifty years old in this country (Mortimer J. Adler, The Paideia Proposal , 1984) <ul><li>Argument. </li></ul><ul><li>The writer is giving a reason to support his claim </li></ul><ul><li>that democracy is less than fifty years old in the United </li></ul><ul><li>States. </li></ul>
  • 14. If a claim or position is being set forth and no other explicit or implicit statement is used to support it, then the spoken or written material in question is not an argument (T. Edward Damer, Attacking Faulty Reasoning , 4th ed., 2001) <ul><li>Is this passage an argument or not an argument? </li></ul><ul><li>If it is not an argument, is it a report, an unsupported </li></ul><ul><li>assertion, an illustration, a conditional statement, or an explanation? </li></ul>
  • 15. If a claim or position is being set forth and no other explicit or implicit statement is used to support it, then the spoken or written material in question is not an argument (T. Edward Damer, Attacking Faulty Reasoning , 4th ed., 2001) <ul><li>Non-argument (conditional statement). </li></ul><ul><li>The writer is simply making an if-then statement, not </li></ul><ul><li>giving reasons why some other statement should be </li></ul><ul><li>believed. </li></ul>
  • 16. Women my age know whom to blame for our own self-loathing, eating disorders and distorted body image: Barbie. So we're raising our vulnerable, body-conscious girls to beware the perpetually pointy-toed goddess with the impossible body and perfect face (Amy Dickinson, &quot;Measuring Up,&quot; Time , November 20, 2000) <ul><li>Is this passage an argument or not an argument? </li></ul><ul><li>If it is not an argument, is it a report, an unsupported </li></ul><ul><li>assertion, an illustration, a conditional statement, or an explanation? </li></ul>
  • 17. Women my age know whom to blame for our own self-loathing, eating disorders and distorted body image: Barbie. So we're raising our vulnerable, body-conscious girls to beware the perpetually pointy-toed goddess with the impossible body and perfect face (Amy Dickinson, &quot;Measuring Up,&quot; Time , November 20, 2000) <ul><li>Non-argument (explanation). </li></ul><ul><li>The writer isn't seeking to prove that women her age are raising </li></ul><ul><li>their vulnerable, body-conscious daughters to beware of Barbie; </li></ul><ul><li>rather, she's offering an explanation why they are doing so . </li></ul>
  • 18. Although you usually cannot eliminate the personal feelings that are influencing your perceptions, you can become aware of them and try to compensate for their bias. For instance, if you are asked to evaluate a group of people, one of whom is a good friend, you should try to keep these personal feelings in mind in order to make your evaluation as accurate as possible (John Chaffee, The Thinker's Way , 1998) <ul><li>Is this passage an argument or not an argument? </li></ul><ul><li>If it is not an argument, is it a report, an unsupported </li></ul><ul><li>assertion, an illustration, a conditional statement, or an explanation? </li></ul>
  • 19. Although you usually cannot eliminate the personal feelings that are influencing your perceptions, you can become aware of them and try to compensate for their bias. For instance, if you are asked to evaluate a group of people, one of whom is a good friend, you should try to keep these personal feelings in mind in order to make your evaluation as accurate as possible (John Chaffee, The Thinker's Way , 1998) Non-argument (illustration). In this passage, the words &quot;for instance&quot; signal us that the author is trying to illustrate a claim, not to prove it.
  • 20. In his book Natural Theology , which set forth the standard academic and theological wisdom of the early nineteenth century, William Paley had compared nature to a watch. If you chanced upon a watch lying alone on the ground, he wrote, and then examined its intricate structure, you could not help concluding that it had been made by an intelligent designer. It couldn't possibly be the product of mere chance. And yet, the natural world exhibits much more complex order than any watch. Thus, Paley concluded, there has to be an intelligent designer responsible for nature's fine arrangement (John F. Haught, Science and Religion , 1995) <ul><li>Is this passage an argument or not an argument? </li></ul><ul><li>If it is not an argument, is it a report, an unsupported </li></ul><ul><li>assertion, an illustration, a conditional statement, or an explanation? </li></ul>
  • 21. In his book Natural Theology , which set forth the standard academic and theological wisdom of the early nineteenth century, William Paley had compared nature to a watch. If you chanced upon a watch lying alone on the ground, he wrote, and then examined its intricate structure, you could not help concluding that it had been made by an intelligent designer. It couldn't possibly be the product of mere chance. And yet, the natural world exhibits much more complex order than any watch. Thus, Paley concluded, there has to be an intelligent designer responsible for nature's fine arrangement (John F. Haught, Science and Religion , 1995) <ul><li>[ This is the end of the tutorial ] </li></ul>X Non-argument (report). In this passage, the writer is reporting someone else's argument, not endorsing it as correct. Thus, the argument is a report rather than an argument.
  • 22. Identifying Premises and Conclusions This tutorial will give you practice in distinguishing premises from conclusions.
  • 23. <ul><li>No one under eighteen-years-old can vote. </li></ul><ul><li>Jen is under eighteen-years-old. </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore, Jen cannot vote. </li></ul>Arguments are composed of one or more premises and a conclusion . Premises are statements offered as reasons for accepting another statement. A conclusion is a statement supported by reasons. In this example, statements 1 and 2 are premises, and statement 3 is the conclusion.
  • 24. Distinguishing premises from conclusions is a skill that requires both practice and close attention to the nuances of language. Here are some tips that will help you separate premises from conclusions: <ul><li>Look for premise indicators --words like because , since , for , and given that --that provide clues when premises are being offered. </li></ul><ul><li>Look for conclusion indicators --words like therefore , thus , hence , and so --that provide clues when conclusion indicators are being offered. </li></ul><ul><li>3. If the passage contains no indicator words, try these two strategies: </li></ul><ul><li>a. Ask yourself, &quot;What claim is the writer or speaker trying to prove?&quot; That claim will be the conclusion. </li></ul><ul><li>b. Try putting the word &quot;therefore&quot; before each of the </li></ul><ul><li>statements in turn. The statement it fits best will be the conclusion. </li></ul>
  • 25. A good society treasures its dissidents and mavericks because it needs the creative thinking that produces new hypotheses, expanded means, a larger set of alternatives, and, in general, the vigorous conversation induced by fresh ideas. (Nel Noddings, Philosophy of Education , 1995) Identify the premise(s) and conclusion in this argument.
  • 26. A good society treasures its dissidents and mavericks because it needs the creative thinking that produces new hypotheses, expanded means, a larger set of alternatives, and, in general, the vigorous conversation induced by fresh ideas. (Nel Noddings, Philosophy of Education , 1995) Premise : A good society needs the creative thinking that that produces new hypotheses, expanded means, a larger set of alternatives, and, in general, the vigorous conversation induced by fresh ideas. Conclusion : A good society treasures its dissidents and mavericks. Notice the word because in this passage. This tips us off that a premise is being offered.
  • 27. Since in American schools every child is unique and of equal worth with every other child, academic competition, which subverts this egalitarian and individualist creed, must be discouraged. (Stated but not endorsed in E.D. Hirsch, Jr., The Schools We Need and Why We Don’t Have Them , 1996) Identify the premise(s) and conclusion in this argument.
  • 28. Since in American schools every child is unique and of equal worth with every other child, academic competition, which subverts this egalitarian and individualist creed, must be discouraged. (Stated but not endorsed in E.D. Hirsch, Jr., The Schools We Need and Why We Don’t Have Them , 1996) Premise 1 : In American schools every child is unique and of equal worth with every other child. Premise 2 : Academic competition subverts this egalitarian and individualist creed. Conclusion : Academic competition must be discouraged. Here the premise indicator since helps us to identify the first premise.
  • 29. Make a will. Otherwise, the state will determine who gets your stuff. (Andrew Tobias, &quot;Isn't It Time You Faced the Future?&quot; 2001) Identify the premise(s) and conclusion in this argument.
  • 30. Make a will. Otherwise, the state will determine who gets your stuff. (Andrew Tobias, &quot;Isn't It Time You Faced the Future?&quot; 2001) Premise : If you don't make a will, the state will determine who gets your stuff. Conclusion : You ought to make a will. The word otherwise often functions--as it does here--as premise indicator. Notice that both the premise and the conclusion have been rephrased slightly. The premise has been rephrased in order to make it a complete sentence. The conclusion has been restated in order to make clear that it is intended as a statement rather than as a command.
  • 31. Research universities also must aggressively support teaching. After all, a significant percentage of their students are undergraduates, and such institutions are clearly obligated to provide them a quality education. (Ernest L. Boyer, Scholarship Reconsidered , 1990) Identify the premise(s) and conclusion of this argument.
  • 32. Research universities also must aggressively support teaching. After all, a significant percentage of their students are undergraduates, and such institutions are clearly obligated to provide them a quality education. Ernest L. Boyer, Scholarship Reconsidered , 1990) Premise 1 : A significant percentage of research universities' students are undergraduates. Premise 2 : Such institutions are clearly obligated to provide undergraduates with a quality education. Conclusion : Research universities also must aggressively support teaching. Notice the phrase &quot;after all.&quot; This phrase is often used as a premise indicator.
  • 33. The Jews and Arabs have been fighting for centuries and I seriously doubt this will ever be resolved. The United States should get out of this never-ending fight, or the next terrorist bomb might be in Washington--and it just might be nuclear. (John G. Ferguson III, Letter to the Editor, USA Today , February 12, 2001) <ul><li>Identify the premise(s) and conclusion in this argument. </li></ul>
  • 34. The Jews and Arabs have been fighting for centuries and I seriously doubt this will ever be resolved. The United States should get out of this never-ending fight, or the next terrorist bomb might be in Washington--and it just might be nuclear. (John G. Ferguson III, Letter to the Editor, USA Today , February 12, 2001) <ul><li>Premise 1 : The Jews and Arabs have been fighting for centuries. </li></ul><ul><li>Premise 2 : There is serious doubt this will ever be resolved. </li></ul><ul><li>Premise 3 : If the United States does not get out of this never-ending fight, the next terrorist bomb might be in Washington--and it might be nuclear. </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion : The United States should get out of the never-ending fight between the Jews and the Arabs. </li></ul><ul><li>In this passage, there are no indicator words to assist us, however the form of the last sentence (&quot;X should do Y, or else Z will happen&quot;) is a common conclusion-premise pattern. </li></ul>
  • 35. No one who observes people can pretend that in fact they always seek anything like their own long-run advantage. If this were the case only stupidity could explain how frequently and obviously they act contrary to their own long-run advantage. People are not that stupid! ( Charles Hartshorne and Creighton Peden, Whitehead's View of Reality , 1981) <ul><li>Identify the premise(s) and conclusion in this argument. </li></ul>
  • 36. No one who observes people can pretend that in fact they always seek anything like their own long-run advantage. If this were the case only stupidity could explain how frequently and obviously they act contrary to their own long-run advantage. People are not that stupid! (Charles Hartshorne and Creighton Peden, Whitehead's View of Reality , 1981) <ul><li>Premise 1 : If people always seek anything like their own long-run advantage, then only stupidity could explain how frequently and obviously they act contrary to their own long-run advantage. </li></ul><ul><li>Premise 2 : People are not that stupid. </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion : No one who observes people can pretend that in fact they always seek anything like their own long-run advantage. </li></ul><ul><li>Here again there are no standard indicator words to assist us. However, by sticking &quot;therefore&quot; in front of each of the three sentences in turn, we can see that only the first sentence makes sense as the conclusion. </li></ul>
  • 37. Many people yearn for a return to &quot;religiousness&quot; to education, so they press for laws permitting vocal prayer in the classroom. But I cannot join them. Vocal prayer in class dictates a consensus that does not exist in our pluralistic society, and any prayer that is so vaguely worded that it sounds agreeable to all is, by my limits, no prayer at all. (Parker J. Palmer, To Know As We Are Known: Education as a Spiritual Journey , 1993) <ul><li>Identify the premise(s) and conclusion of this argument. </li></ul>
  • 38. Many people yearn for a return to &quot;religiousness&quot; to education, so they press for laws permitting vocal prayer in the classroom. But I cannot join them. Vocal prayer in class dictates a consensus that does not exist in our pluralistic society, and any prayer that is so vaguely worded that it sounds agreeable to all is, by my limits, no prayer at all. (Parker J. Palmer, To Know As We Are Known: Education as a Spiritual Journey , 1993) <ul><li>Premise 1 : Vocal prayer in class dictates a consensus that does not exist in our pluralistic society. </li></ul><ul><li>Premise 2 : Any prayer that is so vaguely worded that it sounds agreeable to all is, by my limits, no prayer at all. </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion : Although many people yearn for a return to &quot;religiousness&quot; to education, and for this reason press for laws permitting vocal prayer in the classroom, it would be a mistake to enact such laws. </li></ul><ul><li>In this argument, while it is relatively easy to identify the premises, it is tricky to accurately state the conclusion. Notice how some creative rephrasing is necessary in order to capture precisely the claim the writer wants to defend. </li></ul>
  • 39. We have good reason to believe that people will exist in the future and that they will be similar enough to us that we can have a good idea of what their well-being requires. Knowing this and knowing that our present actions can influence their future well-being, it is reasonable to conclude that future people must be given some ethical consideration by presently living human beings. (Joseph R. DesJardins, Environmental Ethics: An Introduction to Environmental Philosophy , 3rd ed., 2001 ) <ul><li>Identify the premise(s) and conclusion of this argument. </li></ul>
  • 40. We have good reason to believe that people will exist in the future and that they will be similar enough to us that we can have a good idea of what their well-being requires. Knowing this and knowing that our present actions can influence their future well-being, it is reasonable to conclude that future people must be given some ethical consideration by presently living human beings. (Joseph R. DesJardins, Environmental Ethics: An Introduction to Environmental Philosophy , 3rd ed., 2001) Premise 1 : We have good reason to believe that people will exist in the future and that they will be similar enough to us that we can have a good idea of what their well-being requires. Premise 2: We know that our present actions can influence future peoples' well-being. Conclusion : Future people must be given some ethical consideration by presently living human beings. In this passage, the conclusion indicator &quot;it is reasonable to conclude that&quot; helps us identify the conclusion. Notice that the second premise has been restated in order to make it a complete sentence.
  • 41. With what group do I belong? I am with those who would be pleased to be refuted if I should say anything that is not true, and pleased to be the refuter of anyone who should say anything that is not true--more pleased, in fact, to be refuted than to refute. I think that's a greater good, you see, insofar as it's a greater good to be relieved of a great evil than to relieve another of the same. (Socrates, in Plato's Gorgias ) <ul><li>Identify the premise(s) and conclusion in this argument. </li></ul>
  • 42. With what group do I belong? I am with those who would be pleased to be refuted if I should say anything that is not true, and pleased to be the refuter of anyone who should say anything that is not true--more pleased, in fact, to be refuted than to refute. I think that's a greater good, you see, insofar as it's a greater good to be relieved of a great evil than to relieve another of the same. (Socrates, in Plato's Gorgias ) <ul><li>[ This is the end of the tutorial ] </li></ul>X Premise: It is a greater good to be relieved of a great evil than to relieve another of the same. Conclusion : It is a greater good to be refuted than to refute. In this passage, the premise indicator &quot;insofar as&quot; helps us to identify the premise. Notice that the first two sentences aren't strictly part of the argument. Their function, instead, is to provide background or contextual information necessary to understand the argument.

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