Argumentation in Philosophy
The philosopher is above all someone who tests the reasonableness of beliefs especially those
concerning vexing questions, ex- what makes a person’s actions right or wrong?
In so far as such questions are difficult, the philosopher relies on her reasoning to try to answer
them. And to reason is to argue. Argumentation is therefore at the core of philosophical practice.
Reasoning and rationality go together
An argument (to paraphrase Monty Python) can be defined as: an intellectual process which consists
in a series of statements intended to establish a definite proposition (claim). In other words, it is a
set of premises aimed to support a particular conclusion
Elementary Process of Reasoning-
To say that one claim, r, is deduced from some others, ex- p and q, is to say that if we hold p and q
true then r must also be accepted as true, that is, one is rationally obliged to accept r as true.
Deduction is all or nothing in the sense that one has no choice but to accept that the conclusion is
true if one accepts that the premises are true, so long, that is, as the argument is valid.
An argument is valid when its conclusion must follow from its premises. However, the conclusion of
a valid argument does not have to be true. Validity is only a measure of the arguments logical virtue.
Concerned with the possible truth, either true or false. The argument is valid but what is told is
Ex- For arguments A and B the conclusion is validly inferred from the premises. Again, so long as
the premises of a valid argument are true its conclusion will have to be true.(overruled) Any good
argument has to be valid; otherwise we are not rationally obliged to accept the conclusion even
when its premises are true.
There are a variety of ways to argue. Most common are:
1. Argument by Deduction
Ex- Sherlock Holmes deducted that violet smith is a cyclist cause of the bottom of her
shoes are worn in a way that is invariantly caused by pedalling, the belief that she must
be a cyclist
2. Argument from Experience
Ex-Holmes observed mark M on shoes of every cyclist he has met, can construct an
argument with premise with 1 as its conclusi