Argument Vs. Argument : Argument Essay

Argument Vs. Argument : Argument Essay

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At the heart of philosophy is philosophical argument. Arguments are different from assertions. Assertions are simply stated; arguments always involve giving reasons. An argument is a reasoned inference from one set of claims – the premises – to another claim – the conclusion. The premises provide reasons to believe that the conclusion is true. If the premises are true, the conclusion is more likely to be true. Arguments seek to ‘preserve truth’ – true premises will lead to a true conclusion. It is worth knowing a little bit more about arguments straightaway.
DEDUCTIVE ARGUMENT
Philosophers distinguish between two types of argument – deductive and inductive. Successful deductive arguments are valid – if the premises are true, then the conclusion must be true. In this case, we say that the conclusion is entailed by the premises. Here is a famous example:
Premise 1: Socrates is a man. Premise 2: All men are mortal. Conclusion: Socrates is mortal.
A valid deductive argument with true premises is called sound. But a valid deductive argument doesn’t have to have true premises. Here is an example:
Premise 1: There are gnomes in my house.
Premise 2: My house is in Oxford.
Conclusion: Therefore, there are gnomes in Oxford.
If the premises are true, then the conclusion must be true – so the argument is valid. But the premises aren’t both true.
There are two ways that a deductive argument can ‘go wrong’. First, it could be invalid: even if the premises are true, it is possible that the conclusion might be false. Second, it could be unsound: even though the conclusion is entailed by the premises, at least one of the premises is false.
INDUCTIVE ARGUMENT
A successful inductive argument is an argument whose conclusion is supported by its premis...


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...azor, which says ‘Don’t multiply entities beyond necessity’. Don’t put forward a hypothesis that says many different things exist when a simpler explanation will do as well. A simpler explanation is a better explanation, as long as it is just as successful. For example, the explanation that plants flower in the spring in response to an increase in light and temperature is a better explanation than saying that they flower in the spring because that’s when the fairies wake them up. The second explanation is committed to the existence of fairies – and we shouldn’t think that fairies exist unless there is something we cannot explain without thinking they exist.
2. Accuracy: a good hypothesis fits the evidence that we are trying to explain.
3. Plausibility: a good hypothesis fits with what else we already know.
4. Scope: a good hypothesis explains a wide range of evidence.

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