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Analysis - Intro to Arguments

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Analysis - Intro to Arguments

  1. 1. Analysis: Argumentative Discourse
  2. 3. Objectives <ul><li>Distinguish arguments from non-arguments (reports, illustrations, unsupported assertions, conditional statements and explanations) </li></ul><ul><li>Recognise when an argument is made and identify premises and conclusions </li></ul><ul><li>Identify argumentative strategies used e.g. deductive or inductive </li></ul><ul><li>Construct arguments </li></ul>
  3. 4. WHAT IS AN ARGUMENT? <ul><li>When people hear the word argument, they usually think of some kind of quarrel or shouting match. In critical thinking, however, an argument is simply a claim defended with reasons. </li></ul><ul><li>Arguments are composed of one or more premises and a conclusion. </li></ul>
  4. 5. Premises and Conclusion <ul><li>Premises: statements in an argument offered as evidence or reasons why one should accept another statement. </li></ul><ul><li>The conclusion: Statement in an argument that the premises are intended to prove or support. </li></ul><ul><li>The conclusion: the statement that the premises support / prove. </li></ul><ul><li>An argument, is a group of statements, one or more of which (called the premises) are intended to prove or support another statement (called the conclusion). </li></ul>
  5. 6. IDENTIFYING PREMISES AND CONCLUSIONS <ul><li>In identifying premises, and conclusions, we are often helped by indicator words . Indicator words or phrases that provide clues that premises or conclusions are being put forward. </li></ul><ul><li>Premise indicators indicate that premises are being offered, and conclusion indicators indicate that conclusion are being offered. </li></ul>
  6. 7. Premise Indicator <ul><li>Because </li></ul><ul><li>As </li></ul><ul><li>For the reason that </li></ul><ul><li>For </li></ul><ul><li>Given that </li></ul><ul><li>Since </li></ul><ul><li>Assuming that </li></ul>
  7. 8. Conclusion Indicator <ul><li>Therefore </li></ul><ul><li>Thus </li></ul><ul><li>Follows that </li></ul><ul><li>It must be that </li></ul><ul><li>So </li></ul><ul><li>Entails that </li></ul><ul><li>Consequently </li></ul><ul><li>Hence </li></ul>
  8. 9. THE FOLLOWING EXAMPLES ILLUSTRATE THE USE OF PREMISE INDICATORS: <ul><li>Judging from Adrianne’s comment, she is not going to give up so soon. </li></ul><ul><li>Since you are not attending the dinner, I will go with Michael instead. </li></ul>
  9. 10. EXAMPLES ILLUSTRATE THE USE OF CONCLUSION INDICATORS: <ul><li>Wayne Gretzky is retired, that is why he is not playing anymore. </li></ul><ul><li>Frankie is having food poisoning, therefore he can’t come to work. </li></ul>
  10. 11. HOWEVER, MANY ARGUMENTS CONTAIN NO INDICATOR WORDS AT ALL. <ul><li>Example: </li></ul><ul><li>I can’t be completely responsible for my life. After all, there are many factors outside my control, people and forces that create obstacles and undermine my efforts. And we are subject to pressures and influences from within ourselves: feelings of greed, fear of death, altruistic impulses, sexual compulsions, need for social acceptance, and so on. </li></ul>
  11. 12. SO WHERE IS THE CONCLUSION? <ul><li>ANSWER: </li></ul><ul><li>“ I CAN’T BE COMPLETELY RESPONSIBLE FOR MY LIFE .” </li></ul>
  12. 13. TIPS ON FINDING THE CONCLUSION OF AN ARGUMENT: <ul><li>Find the main issue and ask yourself what position the writer or speaker is taking on that issue. </li></ul><ul><li>Look at the beginning or end of the passage; the conclusion is often (but not always) found in one of those places. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask yourself, “What is the writer or speaker trying to prove?” That will be the conclusion. </li></ul><ul><li>Try putting the word therefore before one of the statements. If it fits, that statement is probably the conclusion. </li></ul><ul><li>Try the “because trick.” That is, try to find the most appropriate way to fill in the blanks in the following statement: The writer or speaker believes _____ (conclusion) because _____ (premise). The conclusion will naturally come before the word because. </li></ul>
  13. 14. SO WHAT IS NOT AN ARGUMENT? <ul><li>REPORTS </li></ul><ul><li>UNSUPPORTED ASSERTIONS </li></ul><ul><li>CONDITIONAL STATEMENTS </li></ul><ul><li>ILLUSTRATIONS </li></ul><ul><li>EXPLANATIONS </li></ul>
  14. 15. REPORT <ul><li>Reports: statements made to convey information. </li></ul><ul><li>The purpose of a report is simply to convey information about a subject. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ More people moved to the south this year.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Oil prices dropped today, thus so did gas prices.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Notice that, even though there is a conclusion indicator, this is still a report. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Example – The Malaysian Government has cancelled its Jambatan Indah Project in Johor Bahru. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  15. 16. UNSUPPORTED ASSERTIONS <ul><li>Unsupported assertions are statements about what a speaker or writer happens to believe. Such statements can be true or false, rational or irrational. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Example : I believe that it is not dying that people are afraid of. Something else, something unsettling and tragic than dying is frightening us. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  16. 17. Unsupported Assumptions <ul><li>Unsupported Assumptions: when someone puts forth what they believe but does not intend for any of their statements to support another. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>People aren’t afraid of dying; they are afraid of not living. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People like this course because of the professor. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Notice the presence of a premise indicator, but not a premise </li></ul></ul></ul>
  17. 18. CONDITIONAL STATEMENTS <ul><li>A conditional statement is an if -then. Here are several examples: </li></ul><ul><li>If you fail, you won’t proceed to Year 2 </li></ul><ul><li>If it rains, the picnic will be cancelled </li></ul><ul><li>You must speak Portuguese if you grew up in Lisbon </li></ul><ul><li>If at first you don't succeed, don't try skydiving </li></ul><ul><li>Most common forms: If A then B ; B if A . </li></ul>
  18. 19. Conditional Statements <ul><li>Antecedent: Usually, the part that directly follows “if.” </li></ul><ul><li>Consequent: Usually, the part that follows “then” </li></ul><ul><li>But conditionals don’t always have “if” or “then” </li></ul><ul><li>e.g., In the event of rain, the picnic will be cancelled. </li></ul>
  19. 20. More on Conditional Statements <ul><li>Conditionals are not arguments, but they can look like them. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Conditional: If I was taller I would play basketball. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Argument: I am tall, so I would make a good basketball player. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>If Rhode Island was larger than Ohio, and Ohio was larger than Texas, then Rhode Island would be larger than Texas. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This is a conditional statement; “If the first two things are true, then the third is true.” </li></ul></ul>
  20. 21. More on Conditional Statements <ul><li>If Bob is taller than Chris then Bob is taller than Ann. If Bob is taller than Ann, then Bob is taller then Lori. Thus, if Bob is taller than Chris then Bob is taller than Lori. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This is an argument. The latter follows from the two former statements. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Chain arguments: consist of conditional statements. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If A then B. If B then C. Therefore, if A then C. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>e.g., If Allen moves I will be all alone. If I am all alone then I will be sad. So if Allen moves I will be sad. </li></ul></ul>
  21. 22. ILLUSTRATIONS <ul><li>Illustrations are intended to provide examples of a claim, rather than prove or support the claim. </li></ul><ul><li>Example: Many wildflowers are edible. For example, daisies and day lilies are delicious in salads. </li></ul>
  22. 23. Illustrations <ul><li>Be careful. Some arguments can look like illustrations because they use “counter examples.” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Many people think that all Star Trek fans are zit faced nerds. But that is not true. For example , Christian Slater is a Star Trek fan and he is not a zit faced nerd. </li></ul></ul>
  23. 24. EXPLANATIONS <ul><li>An explanation tries to show why something is the case, not to prove that is the case. </li></ul><ul><li>Example: Princess Diana died because she was involved in a fatal car accident. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Usually offers up a causal explanation for something that is already accepted as true. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Titanic sank because it struck an iceberg. (explanation) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Capital Punishment is wrong because it is murder. (argument) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  24. 25. Arguments vs Explanation (how to tell the difference) <ul><li>The Common-Knowledge Test </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If it points at something that is common knowledge, it is probably an explanation. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Most people don’t present arguments for things people already believe. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Example: “TV is very influential in society because most people watch it.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Past-Event Test </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If it points at a past event, it is probably an explanation. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Usually people don’t argue “X occurred.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Example: “The US entered WWII because of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor.” </li></ul></ul>
  25. 26. Arguments vs Explanation (how to tell the difference) <ul><li>The Author’s Intent Test: Ask if the person making the statement is trying to “prove” something or explain why something is true. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You want a college degree because you want a better life. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Principle of Charity Test: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Principle of Charity: interpret generously (give the author of the statement a break). If what he said would be a bad argument, but it could be interpreted as an example (or explanation) assume it is not an argument. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Test: If you have a choice between interpreting a statement as a “bad argument” or an “unsatisfactory explanation,” do the latter. A bad argument is a worse mistake. </li></ul></ul>

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