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Universidad de Sta.

Isabel HUM102 - LOGIC

REASONING AND ARGUMENT ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ARGUMENT Argument is a group of statements, one of which is claimed to follow from the others. a. an argument consists of at least two statements, one that is claimed to follow, called the conclusion, and at least one other, called the premise, that is claimed to support the conclusion. every argument involves at least one inference the inference from the premises to the conclusion. an argument involves a claim that one statement follows from the others, that is, an argument purports to show that something is true.

b. c.

An argument therefore is not a mere collection of propositions but contains a premiseconclusion structure. The simplest kind of argument consists of just one premise and a conclusion. Here is an example in which each is stated in a separate sentence: The investigation of supernatural phenomena lies outside the realm of science. Therefore science can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God. In the above example the premise is stated first and the conclusion second. But the order in which they are stated is not significant from the point of view of logic. An argument in which the conclusion is stated in the first sentence and the premise in the second is shown by the following example. Moreover, cutting social security will not improve the deficit problem. As the chairman of the National Economic Development Authority has noted, social security is funded by separate payroll taxes and contributes not a cent to the deficit. In some arguments the premise and conclusion are stated in the same proposition. Following is an example of a one-sentence argument whose premise precedes its conclusion. The solar system is much younger than the universe (only 4.5 billion years compared with 10 to 15 billion years), and so it must have formed from older matter that had a previous history. Sometimes the conclusion precedes the premise in a one-sentence argument, as in the following example. The budget deficit will not be brought under control because to do so would require our elected leaders in Congress to do the unthinkable act courageously and responsibly.

Universidad de Sta. Isabel HUM102 - LOGIC

As a general rule, when someone gives reasons to support a point of view, that person is usually offering an argument. Likewise when reasons are offered in an effort to persuade us to perform a specified action, we are presented with what is in effect an argument even though the conclusion may be expressed as an imperative or command. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore seek the pursuit of wisdom. Neither a borrower nor a lender be; For loan oft loses both itself and a friend. An argument is good if the conclusion follows from the premises while an argument is bad if the conclusion does not really follow although it is intended to. Identical twins who inherit the same genes have different intelligence quotient. Environment must play a role in determining intelligence. A comet appeared and the locusts came. There must be a connection between the appearance of a comet and the coming of the locusts. EXPOSING THE ARGUMENT To expose an argument is to pick out the conclusion and the premise or premises. It is easier to identify the conclusion. It is the claim being made. The premise is the reason to back up the claim. Sharks are not mammals since no fish is a mammal and sharks are fish. If the president were really doing his job, the budget deficit would be reduced. But the budget deficit has not been reduced. So the president is not really doing his job. It must be noted that a conclusion is not a mere summary of the premises. It does not simply restate the premise. The key point is inference the process by which one proposition is reached and affirmed on the basis of one or more other propositions accepted as the starting point of the process. An argument is neither just a sequence of statements nor simply a narrative of a temporal sequence of events. It is sunny today. It is also the beginning of the week. Since the time he graduated from college he has not slowed down in his effort to become financially stable and so he has been working long hours and is now reaping the fruits of his labor. It is important to distinguish conclusions from unsupported claims. Reasons must be offered for accepting a statement before we can classify it as the conclusion of an argument. Unsupported claims may be true but we will have to look elsewhere for reasons to believe them.

Universidad de Sta. Isabel HUM102 - LOGIC

PREMISES AND CONCLUSION The terms premise and conclusion denote a function. Thus no proposition taken by itself can be a premise or a conclusion. They are such only within the context of an argument. An argument may be diagrammed simply as follows: premise/s what serves as the evidence conclusion what is supposed to follow from the evidence

Premise and conclusion are relative terms. One and the same proposition can be a premise in one argument and a conclusion in another. All mammals feed their young with milk. All humans are mammals. Therefore, all humans feed their young with milk. All that feed their young with milk are mammals. All humans feed their young with milk. Therefore all humans are mammals. There are clues one can use to pick out the conclusions and premises of an argument. Certain words in our language may be used to signal conclusions or premises. They are called indicators. PREMISE INDICATORS since, as indicated by, because, for, in that, may be inferred from, as, seeing that, for the reason that, inasmuch as, given that, may be concluded from, or the reason that, due to the fact that Premise CONCLUSION INDICATORS therefore, wherefore, accordingly, we may conclude, entails that, hence, thus, consequently, we may infer that, it must be that, whence, so, it follows that, implies that Conclusion


shows that indicates that proves that entails that implies that establishes that is shown by is indicated by is proven by is entailed by is implied by is established by


Universidad de Sta. Isabel HUM102 - LOGIC

An argument is seen more clearly if it is written out in argument form. In this format, the premises are listed first, followed by a solid line separating them from the conclusion, listed at the bottom. Each statement is numbered and the form is as follows: The president, being human, is mortal, as all human beings are mortal. Premise 1 Premise 2 -------------Conclusion All human beings are mortals. The president is a human being. ---------------------------------------Therefore, the president is mortal.

God does not exist because if he did there would be no suffering and evil in the world; but obviously suffering and evil do exist. Thus, there is not God. Premise 1 Premise 2 -------------Conclusion If God existed there would be no suffering and evil in the world But obviously suffering and evil do exist. -------------------------------------------------------------------Therefore, there is no God.

RECOGNIZING ARGUMENTS Not all passages contain arguments. One aim of logic is to distinguish passages that contain arguments from those that do not. In general, a passage contains an argument if it claims to prove something. If it does not do so then it does not contain an argument. Two conditions must be fulfilled for a passage to claim to prove something. a. at least one of the statements in the passage must present evidence or reasons for something; b. there must be a claim that the evidence or reasons supports something. Because objects of art are expressive, they are a language. The proposition Objects of art are expressive is asserted as evidence or reason (premise), and the proposition They are a language is claimed as supported (conclusion) by the evidence or reason. Although every passage expressing an argument contains several propositions asserted in it, not every passage in which several propositions are asserted need contain an argument. For an argument to be present, one of the asserted propositions must be claimed to follow from other propositions asserted to be true, which are presented as grounds of, or reasons for believing, the conclusion. This claim may be either explicit or implicit. It may be made explicit by the use of premise indicators or conclusion indicators or by the occurrence of such words as must, should, ought, or

Universidad de Sta. Isabel HUM102 - LOGIC

necessarily in the conclusion. But the presence of these argument indicators is not always decisive. Since Henry graduated from medical school, his income is probably very high. Since Henry graduated from medical school, there have been many changes in medical techniques. The first is an argument but the second is not although both make use of the premise indicator since. IDENTIFYING NON-ARGUEMENTS One way to facilitate the recognition of arguments is to distinguish them from nonarguments. This is not easy especially when a passage contains no argument indicators. For such a passage could simply be a series of unsupported assertions rather than an argument. The following are typical kinds of nonarguments: a. warnings discourses aimed at modifying someones behavior. If no evidence or reason is given to prove that someone should do something or avoid doing something then there is no argument. Let everyone know that no mercy shall befall any violator of the law in this country. b. statements of belief or opinion expressions of what someone happens to believe or think at a certain time. When no evidence or reason is given to prove that what the author thinks is true there is no argument. I think a nation such as ours, with its high moral traditions and commitments, has a further responsibility to know how we became drawn into this conflict, and to learn the lessons it has to teach us for the future. [Alfred Hassler, Saigon] c. description consists of one or more statements that, taken together, cause a certain picture to appear in the mind of the reader. At Rajghat, a few hundred feet from the river, a fresh pyre had been built of stone, brick and earth. It was eight feet square and about two feet high. Long, thin sandalwood logs sprinkled with incense were stacked on it. Mahatma Gandhis body lay on the pyre with his head to the north. In that position Buddha had met his end. [Louis Fischer, Gandhi: His Life and Message for the World] d. report a group of statements that conveys information about some situation or event. 56,000 curies of radioactive tritium were accidentally released from the Savanna River nuclear weapons plant in South Carolina. A spokesman for the plant said that

Universidad de Sta. Isabel HUM102 - LOGIC

the radiation posed no health hazard to the public since it was equivalent to the amount that would be received on a 30-minute jet flight at 36,000 feet. e. expository passage It often happens that an author will begin a paragraph with a topic sentence and then go on to develop it. The authors aim is not to prove the topic sentence but merely to expand or develop it. There is a stylized relation of artist to mass audience in the sports, especially in baseball. Each player develops a style of his own the swagger as he steps to the plate, the unique windup a pitcher has, the clean-swinging and hard-driving hits, the precision quickness and grace of infield and outfield, the sense of surplus power behind whatever is done. The aim of this passage is not so much to prove that the first statement is true as it is to flesh out the notion of a stylized relation to a mass audience. f. illustration consists of a statement about a certain subject combined with a reference to one or more specific instances intended to exemplify that statement. Illustrations are often confused with arguments because many of them contain indicator words. Chemical elements, as well as compounds, can be represented by molecular formulas. Thus, oxygen is represented by 02, sodium chloride by NaCl, and sulfuric acid as H2SO4. Many scientists turn to music for rest and relaxation. Thus Albert Einstein played the violin. The above passages are not arguments because there is no claim that anything follows from evidence. The purpose of the word thus is not to indicate that something is being proved but merely to show how something is done. g. comparison compound statements that point out a similarity between two events or two instances. Just as normal men would die without water, so Jack would die without wine. h. conditional an if...then... statement. Every conditional statement is made up of two component statements. The statement immediately following the if is called the antecedent and the other following the then is called the consequent. Conditional statements are not arguments for the following reason: in an argument the premises are asserted to be true, and the conclusion, because it is claimed to follow from the premises, is also asserted to be true. In a conditional statement, on the other hand, neither the antecedent nor the consequent is asserted as true. What is asserted is that if the antecedent is true, then the consequent is true. But while no

Universidad de Sta. Isabel HUM102 - LOGIC

single conditional statement is an argument, a conditional statement may serve as either the premise or the conclusion of an argument. If cigarette companies publish warning labels, then smokers assume the risk of smoking. Cigarette companies do publish warning labels. Therefore, smokers assume the risk of smoking. Conditional statements are very important in logic because they are used to express the relationship between necessary and sufficient conditions. An event A is said to be the sufficient condition for an event B whenever the occurrence of A is all that is required for the occurrence of B. A sufficient condition for increasing ones heart rate is running 1,000 yards. On the other hand, an event B is said to be a necessary condition for an event A whenever A cannot occur without the occurrence of B. A necessary condition for watching television is opening your eyes. i. temporal sequence besides its logical sense, the premise indicator since has a temporal meaning which is sometimes mistakenly interpreted as an argument but is really a way of saying simply that in the period of time following an event several others subsequently happened. Since Marilyn Monroe died, men have walked on the moon. j. recommendation Although it uses the term therefore and similar terms, a recommendation is not an argument. It does not establish a claim but only cites basis for the action prescribed. I have no misgivings regarding the professional competence and the moral integrity of the applicant. I therefore recommend him for your favorable consideration. k. explanations Every explanation is composed of two distinct components: the explanandum and the explanans. The former is the statement that describes the event or phenomenon to be explained, while the latter is the state or group of statements that purports to do the explaining. Explanations are sometimes mistaken for arguments because they often contain the indicator word because. Yet explanations are not arguments for the following reasons: in an explanation, the explanans is intended to show why something is the case, whereas in an argument the premises are intended to prove that something is the case. The Challenger spacecraft exploded after liftoff because an O-ring failed in one of the booster rockets. The sky appears blue from the earths surface because light rays from the sun are scattered by particles in the atmosphere.

Universidad de Sta. Isabel HUM102 - LOGIC

Cows can digest grass, while humans cannot, because their digestive systems contain enzymes not found in humans. There are a number of clues to help determine whether an argument or an explanation is being offered: k.1. The conclusion of an argument is generally something regarded by the arguers in need of support while the premises are regarded as already well known. In an explanation, on the other hand, the fact being explained is generally regarded as already well established, while the explanatory factors cited are often highly speculative. k.2. When because or similar terms are used as explanation indicators, they can be replaced without change of sense with as a result of or due to. k.3. When modified by adverbs like definitely, probably, and possibly or by conjunctions like either-or or not-but, because can only be interpreted as an explanation indicator. The missing plane crashed, because an instrument malfunctioned. The missing plane crashed because the wreckage was found. DEDUCTION AND INDUCTION Arguments are traditionally divided into two different types, deductive and inductive. A deductive argument is one in which the conclusion follows necessarily from the premises; in other words, the premises support the conclusion in such a way that if they are assumed true, it is impossible that the conclusion be false. An inductive argument is one in which the conclusion follows only probably from the premises; in other words, the premises support the conclusion in such a way that if they are assumed true, then, based on that assumption, it is only probable that the conclusion be true. Three factors that bear upon the evaluation of an argument as inductive or deductive are the following: a. the occurrence of special indicator words If, in drawing a conclusion the arguer uses words such as probable, improbable, plausible, implausible, likely, unlikely, or reasonable to conclude, the evaluator may take such indicators as reason for considering the argument inductive. Neon has unstable isotopes. Therefore, since argon is similar in many ways to neon, it probably follows that argon has unstable isotopes, too.

Universidad de Sta. Isabel HUM102 - LOGIC

On the other hand, if the arguer uses words such as necessarily, certainly, absolutely or definitely, the evaluator may consider the argument deductive. If a substance is a noble gas, it is inert. Therefore, since argon is a noble gas, it necessarily follows that it is inert. b. the nature of the inferential link between premises and conclusion If this link is such that the conclusion follows necessarily from the premises, the argument is clearly deductive. To say that the conclusion follows necessarily means that the premises support the conclusion in such a way that if they are assumed true, it is absolutely impossible that the conclusion be false. All saleswomen are extroverts. Judy Wage is a saleswoman. Therefore, she is extrovert. On the other hand, if the conclusion does not follow necessarily from the premises but does follow probably, it is usually best to consider the argument inductive. The vast majority of saleswomen are extroverts. Rose Liam is a saleswoman. Therefore, Rose Liam is an extrovert. c. the character or form of argument the arguer uses Sometimes it happens that an argument contains no indicator words and the conclusion follows neither necessarily nor probably from the premises, that is, the premises provide no clear support for the conclusion. This situation points out the need for the third factor to be taken into account, which is the character or form of argumentation the arguer uses. Five such types of argumentation that are typically deductive are the following: argument based on mathematics An argument in which the conclusion depends on some purely arithmetic or geometric computation or measurement. A shopper may place two apples and three oranges into a paper bag and then conclude that the bag contains five fruits. A surveyor might measure a square piece of land and, after determining that it is 100 feet on each side, conclude that it contains 10,000 square feet. argument from definition An argument in which the conclusion is claimed to depend upon the definition of some word or phrase used in the premise or the conclusion.

Universidad de Sta. Isabel HUM102 - LOGIC


Claudia is mendacious, so she tells lies. / This paragraph is prolix, so it follows that it is excessively wordy. categorical syllogism A syllogism in which each statement begins with one of these quantifiers: all, no, some. All lasers are optical devices. Some lasers are surgical instruments. Therefore, some optical devices are surgical instruments. conditional syllogism A syllogism having a conditional statement for one or both of its premises. If quartz scratches glass, then quartz is harder than glass. Quartz scratches glass. Therefore, quartz is harder than glass. disjunctive syllogism A syllogism having a disjunctive statement (either...or) for one or both of its premises. Either breach of contract is a crime or it is not punishable by the state. Breach of contract is not a crime. Therefore, it is not punishable by the state. The following are typically inductive forms of argumentation. Inductive arguments are such that the content of the conclusion is in some way intended to go beyond the content of the premise. The premises of such an argument typically deal with some subject that is relatively familiar, and the conclusion then moves beyond this to a subject that is less familiar or that little is known about.


The premises deal with some known event in the present or past, and the conclusion moves beyond this event to some event in the relative future. Because certain meteorological phenomena have been observed to develop over a certain region in the Pacific, a storm will occur there in the next several hours.

argument from analogy

An argument that depends on the existence of an

Universidad de Sta. Isabel HUM102 - LOGIC


analogy, or similarity, between two things or state of affairs. Because of the existence of this analogy, a certain condition that affects the better known thing or situation is concluded to affect the similar lesser known thing or situation. From knowledge that his Mercedes car is an expensive car, I argue that your car, being a Mercedes, is also expensive. inductive generalization An argument that proceeds from the knowledge of a selected sample to some claim about the whole group. Because the members of the sample have a certain characteristic, it is argued that all the members of the group have the same characteristic. One may argue that because three oranges selected from a certain crate were especially tasty and juicy, all the oranges from that crate are especially tasty and juicy. argument from authority An argument in which the conclusion rests upon a statement made by some presumed authority or witness. A lawyer may argue that the criminal committed no murder because an eyewitness testified to that effect under oath. argument based on signs An argument that proceeds from the knowledge of a certain sign to knowledge of the thing or situation that the sign symbolizes. When driving on an unfamiliar highway, one might see a sign indicating that the road makes several sharp turns one mile ahead. Based on this information, one might argue that the road does indeed make several sharp turns one mile ahead. causal inference An argument that proceeds from knowledge of a cause to knowledge of the effect or, conversely, from knowledge of an effect to knowledge of a cause. From the knowledge that a bottle of wine had

Universidad de Sta. Isabel HUM102 - LOGIC


been accidentally left in the freezer overnight, someone might conclude that it had frozen. (cause to effect) Or, after tasting a piece of chicken and finding it dry and crunchy, one might conclude that it had been overcooked. (effect to cause) Although every argument involves the claim that its premises provide evidence for the truth of its conclusion, only a deductive argument involves the claim that its premises provide conclusive evidence. In the case of deductive arguments the technical terms valid and invalid are used in place of correct and incorrect. A deductive argument is valid when its premises, if true, do provide conclusive evidence for its conclusion, that is, when premises and conclusion are so related that it is absolutely impossible for the premises to be true unless the conclusion is true also. Every deductive argument is either valid or invalid. The task of deductive logic is to clarify the nature of the relation between premises and conclusion in valid arguments, and thus to allow us to discriminate valid from invalid arguments. An inductive argument, on the other hand, involves the claim, not that its premises give conclusive evidence for the truth of its conclusion, but only that they provide some evidence for it. Inductive arguments are neither valid nor invalid in the sense in which those terms are applied to deductive arguments. Inductive arguments may, of course, be evaluated as better or worse, according to the degree of likelihood or probability, which their premises confer upon their conclusions.