Reasoning About Social Issues
September 7, 2011
The Nature of Logic and Reasoning I
The Nature of Reasoning or Argument:
Reasoning or argument is a type of discourse (spoken, written or signed) which tries to
support a point by support a point by appealing to evidence.
The most widely used discourse is informational discourse. A common example would
be the Internet which is an informational highway.
There are two parts of arguments:
The conclusion is the point that the argument is trying to prove
The premises is the evidence it appeals to
There is a negative connotation to the word “argument” ie. verbal aggression and/or
fighting, but that is not the kind of argument we will be looking at for this course.
Tests to determine which is the premise and which is the conclusion:
Function test: determine the role that each plays in the reasoning or argument
- premises are the evidence statements
- conclusion is the point the premises are trying to prove
Indicator word test: there are many words that give a hint whether the statement is a
conclusion or premise
Premise: if, because, since, for, in light of, in view of
Conclusion: then, consequently, as a result, thus, therefore, hence, it follows that
The first test is better because some of the words are ambiguous and mean multiple
things. “Because” and “then” are common ones.
Why study this course?
To learn how to reason well, which is a characteristic of educated people. It is one of the primary forms of discourse employed at the university. Mastery of an
academic or professional discipline requires competence in argumentative discourse.
There are many types of discourse:
Ceremonial - a method of trying to make more pleasant for other people, ie. breaking
the ice, making conversation, asking how someone is
Eucharistic - to give thanks for something that we have, be gracious
Eulogistic - praising people for what they have accomplished, to give compliments (often
about people who have deceased)
Informational - description of people, places and events
Interrogative - asking questions in order to seek out information
Hortatory - imperative discourse. It is telling you exactly what to do