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Essay 2 101 - Sarah Levy Core 101 The Implications of...

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Sarah Levy 4/28/03 Core 101 The Implications of Understanding Implications In everyday discussion, people freely use the word “imply” while knowing only a very open definition. However, there are more technical ways to define different types of implications to better understand daily discourse. Implication can be divided into three major parts: entailment, presupposition, and implicature. Entailment and presupposition rely on truth conditions, and can be used to define oppositeness and synonymy. Implicature does not rely on truth conditions, and instead is defined by a separate set of maxims created by linguists. Though logicians are not interested in language directly, logic does maintain an important role in reasoning, and especially in interpreting truth conditions. The logic of a sentence helps distinguish between good and bad reasoning patterns, and show the impact that a quantifier can have on a sentence. The two sentences, “Socrates is a man, and all men are stupid” and “Socrates is a man, and most men are stupid” only differ by one quantifier, but have two very distinct and different truth conditions. In the first sentence, one cannot logically argue that Socrates is stupid, but in the second, that argument can easily be made. Logical reasoning helps establish what kind of logical implication is being made, if there is any at all. The basic type of entailment holds the truth condition that the truth of a first phrase or sentence ensures the truth of a second. The two sentences “Fred is eating an apple” and “Fred is eating a fruit” are an example of logical implication. The truth of the first “Fred is eating an apple,” will always guarantee the truth of the sentence “Fred is eating a fruit.” However, a crucial detail must be noted: with entailment, the truth of the second does not necessarily guarantee the truth of the first. The truth of the statement “Fred is eating a fruit” does not
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guarantee the truth of the statement “Fred is eating an apple.” This insight is generated by the truth conditions associated with the meaning of “fruit” and “apple.” Entailment also exists in a stronger form called presupposition. It is decidedly a stronger type of entailment because not only does the truth of a sentence in a pair guarantee the truth of the entailment, but the falsity of that sentence also guarantees the truth of the entailment. Both the truth and falsity of the phrase “the present king of France is bald” guarantees the statement “there is a present king of France.” “The present king of France is bald” and “the present king of France is not bald” each entail the statement “there is a present king of France.” Making a statement about the present state of the king’s hairline presupposes that there is a present king at all. Presupposition can also be linked to one word. The statement, “Mark regrets that Sally dropped out of college” carries the presupposition that Sally dropped
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