LECTURE #2, Extracting premises and conclusions

LECTURE #2, Extracting premises and conclusions - LECTURE...

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LECTURE #2: IDENTIFYING PREMISES AND CONCLUSIONS - last week we learned what arguments were, and the names for the parts of an argument. - quick review: what is a premise? What is a conclusion? - tonight we’re going to learn how to identify premises and conclusions within simple and complex arguments. - obviously, before we can begin to criticize an argument, we must understand it. - part of this is knowing a) what it is trying to prove and b) how it goes about proving it, in other words the conclusion and premises. - first we’re going to learn how to distinguish arguments from non-arguments, then look at some techniques for identifying premises and conclusions, and finally consider the standard form for writing arguments. Distinguishing arguments from non-arguments: - we speak and write for various reasons. - a piece of prose can be an explanation, it can be an announcement, it can be a command, it can be for the purpose of expressing an opinion or feeling. - the purpose of an argument is to persuade someone of the truth of a position. - note that there are various ways to persuade someone. - you can persuade by issuing a threat: give me all your money or I’ll shoot you. - you can persuade by means of an enticement: if you stop crying, I’ll give you a cookie. - you can persuade through emotional pressure: if you really love me, you’d have sex with me. - argument differs from these other methods of persuasion in a number of respects. - argument is not mere persuasion but what we call rational persuasion. - rational persuasion means we persuade by giving reasons. - we’re not manipulating or bullying: we are trying to get the other person to agree, not merely to accede. - this distinction is worth looking at: what does it mean to agree? - we agree when we take up someone’s position as our own. - now what does it mean to accede? - to accede means to give in, to capitulate, to go along with someone despite the fact that we don’t want to or don’t think that they’re right. - an argument is a matter of persuading someone that our position or viewpoint is a good one, not merely a matter of getting them to go along with us. - ultimately, what we aim at in argument is not merely to persuade, but to arrive at the truth. - or, failing that, at least the best-supported position on any given issue. - for this reason, all forms of trickery or deceit are antithetical to argument. - many of the common problems with arguments, or fallacies, that we’ll be looking at over the next couple of weeks are forms of trickery or deception. - this is why they’re fallacies. - if you employ fallacies, you may succeed in persuading someone, but you haven’t made a good argument. - using fallacies to persuade someone is a bit like lying, and it is objectional for the same reasons. - in addition, it leads to sloppy thinking.
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LECTURE #2, Extracting premises and conclusions - LECTURE...

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