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

  • 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.

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

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 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 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 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 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

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 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 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 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.”


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


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 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 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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