# Lecture 2.1 INTRO TO LOGIC/ ARGUMENTS. Recognize an argument when you see one (in media, articles, people s claims).

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1 TOPIC: You need to be able to: Lecture 2.1 INTRO TO LOGIC/ ARGUMENTS. Recognize an argument when you see one (in media, articles, people s claims). Organize arguments that we read into a proper argument outline. Identify characteristics of an argument: premise, conclusion, assumptions, and consequences, conditional statements. KEY TERMS/ GOALS: Definitions: Argument Proposition Premise Conclusion Conditional statement (including antecedent and consequent. ) READING: Download: Monty Mython s Argument Clinic at: (there is a written transcript under Handouts folder if you want to read the script). Perry, Logical Toolkit p Vaughn, Chapter 2 (on E-reserves) Reasoning Tutorial (under Handouts folder). You only need to read one or two. You will be asked to summarize one of these articles on the exam. CONTENT: Welcome to the most technical and probably difficult week in this class. Logic and critical thinking may come easy to some of you, but it might be frustratingly difficult for others. The important thing to note is that the lectures for this week are atypical of the material we will be studying for the rest of this class, so do not panic if you do not feel like you understand. Being able to recognize and outline arguments in deductive and inductive forms take practice. To foreshadow, we will be examining different types of arguments: Deductive and Inductive arguments are the general kinds of arguments. Then there are a number of common types of arguments, and we will look at authors that employ Inference to the Best Explanation and Reductio ad Absurdum arguments in the course of the semester. The next lecture (2.2) focuses on Deductive arguments and you will be able to identify the difference between valid and invalid forms of deductive arguments. Next time we will also look at Inductive arguments. In

4 Let s take another example. Suppose I say: Lecture 2.1 INTRO TO LOGIC/ ARGUMENTS. It is good to take a philosophy class. It gets you up in the morning. I am trying to persuade you that it is good to take a philosophy class. Now for the premises, or the reasons why you might be persuaded that the conclusion is true. My reason is that It gets you up in the morning. So we can outline the argument as follows: Premise: Taking philosophy classes gets you up in the morning. Conclusion: It is good to take a philosophy class. The premise is used as evidence for the conclusion. In this case, the evidence is from empirical observation. Empirical evidence is based on observing things in the world. The reason we know that taking philosophy classes gets you up in the morning is because we (lot s of people) have seen that people get up in the morning to take philosophy classes. Notice, too, that it is not entirely clear why the conclusion follows from the premise. That is because we are missing an inference proposition which is a statement that connects the premise to the conclusion. We must fill in the inference which I put as the first premise, namely It is good to get up in the morning. I marked the premise as an unstated assumption, because although it is implied in the argument, the author did not explicitly state it. I hope you can see that it is an assumption to think that it is good to get up in the morning. I am assuming it, otherwise I would not try to persuade you that taking classes is good because it gets you up in the morning. If I did not think it was good to get up in the morning, then I would not persuade you to take philosophy classes for the reason that it gets you up. Here is our final outline of my argument: Premise 1: It is good to get up in the morning. (Unstated Assumption) Premise: Taking philosophy classes gets you up in the morning. (Empirical evidence) Conclusion: It is good to take a philosophy class. It is a good idea to mark where unstated assumptions are, but you don t have to mark whether premises are by empirical evidence. Vaughn gives an excellent list of indicator words that you should look for in articles. Indicator words signal when an argument is being made. Indicator words for conclusions: Consequently Thus Therefore As a result

5 Hence Indicator words for premises: --because --since --for --given that --the reason being For example, if you hear I don t like this gum because it takes like dirt, then you know the conclusion is the proposition that follows the word because, and the premise is at the beginning. Thus: Premise: My gum tastes like dirt. (Empirical evidence) Premise: I don t like anything that tastes like dirt. (Unstated assumption) Conclusion: I don t like this gum. Do not get premises and conclusions mixed up in your explanations of arguments. What are conditional statements? I talked about inference statements, which are premises that connect the premises to the conclusion. The easiest way you can connect them is by saying that if the premise is true, then the conclusion is true. Conditional statements are If-then propositions, namely statements that claim that if some cause happens, then some effect will happen. In the argument above, I can say that If my cat s dinner is old, then she will throw it up. This statement makes sense, and it connects a conclusion ( my cat threw up ) with the premise ( her dinner was old ). Let s take another proposition: All cats are grey. We can translate this statement into a conditional by adding if-then connectors: If it is a cat then it is grey. Notice that the two sentences mean the same thing. There are two parts to a conditional, an antecedent, and a consequent. The antecedent is the proposition of the if clause, and the consequent is the proposition of the then clause. You can think of the antecedent as the cause, and the consequent as the effect. The antecedent to the sentence above is it is a cat and the consequent is it is grey. Without the ability to do conditional reasoning, we could not, for example, create computer programs that rely on if-then instructions. We also would not be able to reason about the future. Consider when someone says, don t stick your fingers in the light socket, otherwise you d electrocute yourself. We can change this into a

7 write this summary for the logic exam. You only need to read one of these files, but you may want to read more to develop your critical thinking skills. (It s food for the mind as Russell says.) DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Once you start noticing arguments, you will find them everywhere. List a few arguments that you come across, say, from your friends, commercials, radio, newspaper, etc. See if you can detect some good arguments from some bad ones. Perry (in the logic toolkit ) talks about PERSUASION as an indicator that an argument is good. That is, an argument succeeds if the person is able to persuade someone to believe it. Do you think persuasion is a good criteria for what counts as a good argument?

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