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Lecture 3

01:730:103 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Soundness, Amoco


Department
Philosophy
Course Code
01:730:103
Professor
T Sider
Lecture
3

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Exercise 03 .... (For-Credit: 5 points) (*)
(a) Determine whether each of the two arguments is sound
or unsound respectively; and
(b) Explain your answers by referring to the two
constituent properties of soundness.
[03.1] 1. George Washington is one of the Founding Fathers.
2. George Washington crossed the Delaware.
3. Therefore, George Washington is the first President.
This argument is unsound. Soundness is truthfulness + validity, and these premises are invalid. In this
argument, one of the premises is that “George Washington is the first President”. This is not a good inference
from the given argument and premises. This makes the conclusion invalid, resulting in the entire argument
being unsound. You cannot draw a conclusion about the truth or falsify of the premises or conclusion, so it is
invalid.
[03.2] 1. Man is immortal.
2. Socrates is a man.
3. Therefore, Socrates is immortal.
The following argument is unsound. Although it is valid, the premises are not all true, therefor is it cannot be
sound. In order for an argument to be sound, all of the premises must be true. A sound argument is valid with
all true premises. This argument is unsound because although valid, the premise is false.
1. soundness as the overall ideal of good argument is
comprised of the two constituent properties, that is,
(1) "truth" of the premises (to begin with)
(2) "validity" in the inference process (through which
the presumed truths of the premises are transferred
to the conclusion, thereby becoming true)
2. these two constituent properties of soundness are
"independent" of each other, i.e., one of the two
properties doesn't come along with the other (in other
words, mutually exclusive) although they are "jointly"
required for soundness, i.e., absence of any one of the
two properties makes an argument in question unsound.
The 1st one on George Washington ... unsound; while the
premises are true (and the conclusion as well), it has no
valid inference whereby the conclusion follows from the
premises.
The 2nd one on Socrates ... also unsound; this time the other
way around: while the validity is present (the conclusion does
follows from the premises), the 1st premises is false. Again
be careful with the independence between these two constituent
properties of soundness.
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