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What is an Argument?. A group of propositions made up of a conclusion together with the premises that support it . Premise. A reason offered as support for another claim . Conclusion. The claim being supported by a premise or premises . Tips for Picking Out Premises and Conclusions.

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What is an Argument?

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What is an Argument?

A group of propositions made up of a conclusion together with the premises that support it


Premise

A reason offered as support for another claim


Conclusion

The claim being supported by a premise or premises


Tips for Picking Out Premises and Conclusions


Look for indicators.

These are words or phrases that mark the beginning of either a premise or a conclusion.


Premise Indicators


Conclusion Indicators


Consider the context or the intention of the author.

  • Read the passage and ask, “What does this passage want me to believe?”

  • Then ask, “Why should I believe that?”


  • The claim (what the passage wants you to believe) is the conclusion.

  • The statements that support it are the premises.


EXERCISES ON ARGUMENTS


Sample

ASince it turns out that all humans are descended from a small number of African ancestors in our recent evolutionary past, Bbelieving in fundamental differences between the races is as ridiculous as believing in a flat earth. (2)


Answer

Premise: A

Conclusion: B


Sample

AThe Food and Drug Administration should stop all cigarette sales immediately. BAfter all, cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death. (2)


Answer

Premise: B

Conclusion: A


Sample

AWe can avert a majority of cancers by prevention efforts, even if we never get straight on the causes; Bmore research on prevention and less on cure makes increasing sense. (2)


Answer

Premise: A

Conclusion: B


Sample

ANoone has directly observed a chemical bond, Bsoscientists who try to envision such bonds must rely on experimental clues and their own imaginations. (2)


Answer

Premise: A

Conclusion: B


Sample

ALookingup at a painting is different from simply looking at a painting, Bforthere is an element of awe in the experience of looking at what is above us, particularly when it is at considerable height.(2)


Answer

Premise: B

Conclusion: A


Identify the premise/s and conclusion of each argument. Work on the exercises on your own or with a partner. Write your answers on a Size 4.


1

AOf all our passions and appetites the love of power is of the most imperious and unsociable nature, Bsince the pride of one man requires the submission of the multitude. (2)


2

ADesert mountaintops make good sites for astronomy. BBeing high, they sit above a portion of the atmosphere, enabling a star’s light to reach the telescope without having to swim through the entire depths of the atmosphere.


CBeing dry, the desert is also relatively cloud-free, which is good as the merest veil of haze or cloud can render the sky useless for many astronomical measures. (3)


3

AA good society treasures its dissidents and mavericks Bbecause it needs the creative thinking that produces new hypotheses, expanded means, a larger set of alternatives, and, in general, the vigorous conversation induced by fresh ideas. (2)


4

ASince in American schools every child is unique and of equal worth with every other child, Bacademic competition, which subverts this egalitarian and individualist creed, must be discouraged. (2)  


5

AMarried people are healthier and more economically stable than single people, Band children of married people do better on a variety of indicators. CMarriage is thus a socially responsible act…(3)


6

AAt any cost we must have filters on out Ypsilanti Township library computers. BPornography is a scourge on society at every level. COur public library must not be used to channel this filth to the people of the area. (3)


7

AThe Jews and Arabs have been fighting for centuries, and BI seriously doubt this will ever be resolved. CThe United States should get out of this never-ending fight, or the next terrorist bomb might be in Washington– and it just might be nuclear.  (3)


8

AItis a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. BInsensiblyone begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts. (2)


9

AMystery is delightful, but unscientific, Bsince it depends upon ignorance. (2)


10

ANo one means all he says, Band yet very few say all they mean, Cfor words are slippery and Dthought is viscous. (3)

Take note of the number in the parentheses.


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