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Lecture 4

CGSC170 Lecture 4: CGSC170 arguments and validity

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University of Delaware
Cognitive Science
Andreasen Robin

CGSC170 Arguments and Validity What is an Argument? Argument: An argument is a proposition or set of propositions used to support a conclusion. Premises (P): The premises of an argument offer reasons for thinking that the conclusion is true. Conclusion (C): The conclusion of an argument is the proposition that one is trying to defend. Ex.: Premise 1 (P1): All humans are mammals. Premise 2 (P2): Fred Adams is a human. Conclusion (C): Fred Adams is mammal. The line between P2 and C marks the distinction between the premises and the conclusion. Though this argument is not very interesting; the point is for you to see the structure of an argument. Good Arguments A good argument is more than just a convincing argument. Bad arguments can sometimes be persuasive. A good argument is persuasive, has true premises, and premises are related in right way to conclusion Ex.: Advertising or Political Campaigns Two Features of a Good Argument: 1. The premises must be true. can be true by definition (ex: Pythagorean theorem) can be common knowledge can be broadly accepted, substantiated by science, or agreed upon by culture 2. The truth of the premises must provide solid reasons in explaining how the premise is true Needs to make sense Three Types of Arguments: 1. Deductive Argument: Aims to prove that the truth of the conclusion necessarily follows from the truth of the premises. = if the premises are true then the conclusion must be true. 100 certainty, cannot possibly be false. 2. NonDeductive Arguments: a. Inductive Argument: Aims to prove that the truth of the premises makes the truth of the conclusion probable. a. Abductive Arguments or Inference to the Best Explanation: Argues for the likelihood of a conclusion (confirmation of hypothesis) by claiming that it does a better job than its competitors (competing hypotheses) at explaining the data. Three Types of Good Arguments: Good Arguments
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