Argument tactics
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Argument Tactics. Correctly and incorrectly applied. About Logical Arguments. Arguments are made up of premises and conclusions. Premise: If A is true, then B is true. Premise: A is true. Conclusion: Therefore, B is true. About Logical Arguments. An argument can be valid, but not sound.

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Argument Tactics

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Argument tactics

Argument Tactics

  • Correctly and incorrectly applied


About logical arguments

About Logical Arguments

Arguments are made up of premises and conclusions.

Premise: If A is true, then B is true.

Premise: A is true.

Conclusion: Therefore, B is true.


About logical arguments1

About Logical Arguments

An argument can be valid, but not sound.

Valid: If boa constrictors bite their prey, it dies.

A boa constrictor bit my dog; therefore, my dog is dead.

Sound: If boa constrictors get ahold of their prey, they squeeze it to death.

A boa constrictor got ahold of my dog; therefore, my dog is dead.


A few types of arguments

A Few Types of Arguments

Ad Absurdum

“Some argue that marijuana is a gateway drug to heroin and cocaine. Will popping Reeses Pieces lead to popping ecstasy?”

-Caitlin Niman


A few types of arguments1

A Few Types of Arguments

Modus Ponens

If A is true, then B is true.

A is true; therefore, B is true.

“If the dam broke, the valley would flood.

The dam broke; therefore, the valley flooded.”


A few types of arguments2

A Few Types of Arguments

Obviously, this can be switched around and elaborated.

If and only if A is true, then B is true.

B is true; therefore, A is true.

“If and only if the dam broke, the valley would flood.

The valley has flooded; therefore, the dam broke.”


A few types of arguments3

A Few Types of Arguments

Argument by Analogy

“Parents look out for their children;

so, teachers should look out for their students.”

“An argument, just like a house, needs

a solid structure.”


A few types of arguments4

A Few Types of Arguments

Mentioning things by not mentioning them

(This isn’t so much an argument as a tactic.)

“I won’t even mention her clothes.”

“There’s no need to recount the Senator’s past indiscretions.”


Some logical fallacies

Some Logical Fallacies

Post hoc ergo propter hoc: “After it, therefore because of it.

“I only caught a cold after I shook hands with you.”

“Kennedy was assassinated because the CIA failed to kill Castro.”


Some logical fallacies1

Some Logical Fallacies

Ad hominem: “At the person”

“I don’t think Sarah Palin’s qualified to be president.”

“That’s because you’re sexist.”

“It was just one dance!”

“Only a man would say that.”


Some logical fallacies2

Some Logical Fallacies

Begging the question

Misused: “This new evidence begs the question of whether he can be trusted.”

It actually looks like this: “O.J. Simpson did not kill his wife, because he is a world-class football player, not a murderer.”


Some logical fallacies3

Some Logical Fallacies

The slippery slope

“If we legalize gay marriage, the institution of marriage is going to deteriorate everywhere.”

“If I let you do that, I have to let everyone do it.”


Argument tactics

But, don’t be fooled: “fallacies” aren’t always fallacious.


Non fallacious uses

Non-Fallacious Uses

Post hoc ergo propter hoc: “After it, therefore because of it”

“I only caught a cold after I shook hands with you.”

“My computer only crashed after I dropped it.”

“He only stole my bike after I broke his Xbox.”


Non fallacious uses1

Non-Fallacious Uses

Ad hominem: “At the person”

“I don’t think Sarah Palin’s qualified to be president.”

“That’s because you’re sexist.”

“The senator broke all of his campaign promises.”

“Politicians always lie during campaigns.”


Non fallacious uses2

Non-Fallacious Uses

The slippery slope

“If we legalize gay marriage, the institution of marriage is going to deteriorate everywhere.”

“If we set a precedent with this case, more extreme rulings will follow.”


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