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Lecture 1

PHIL 2020 Lecture 1: PHIL 2020 Unit 3 Lecture 1

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PHIL 2020
Sean Meslar

PHIL 2020 Unit 3: Lecture 1 Argument Structure A way of putting into concrete terms the means by which an argument supports its conclusion with its premises Example o All men are mortal; Socrates is a man; therefore, Socrates is a mortal Interdependent because they are only relevant when taken together o Tom took the cookies from the cookie jar. I saw him do it, and Billy told me that he saw him take them, too. Independent; they are both relevant regardless of whether the other is true. o Important to know the difference in order to evaluate the strength of an argument Reading Arguments Finding the conclusion is the first step to reading arguments Methodology 1. Read the whole passage once. Reflect on whether there is a persuasive tone to it (i.e., whether it is an argument or not). 2. If not, commit to the flames, for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion. If so, ask yourself, What is the author trying to convince me of? Answer to the question is the conclusion. 3. Reread the passage. For each statement, reflect on its potential relevance to the conclusion. If its being true (or its being true along with some other premise identified in this step) makes the conclusion more likely to be true, then the statement is a premise. Keep up with your notation for each of these statements so as not to have to reread the same statements throughout this process. ***If up to this point, these steps address every statement, then you are done.*** 4. For every premise you identified in step 3, repeat step 3, only now use the premise as the conclusion. (Well call the premises you find at this level subpremises) 5. Repeat step 3 for every subpremise, continuing to lower levels until you identify everything of argumentative relevance. 6. For any remaining statements (or nonstatements, for that matter), commit them to the flames, for they can contain nothing but sophistry, illusion, helpful examples, much needed clarifications, etc. But they dont contribute to the structure of the argument, and so are not relevant to the evaluation thereof. An easy way to keep track of this step is the strikethrough. 7. If you followed all of these steps, you have addressed all the content of the passage, and should understand the argument (assuming you understand the terminology employed therein). [From this equality of ability, ariseth equality of hope in the attaining of our ends.] And therefore And hence it comes to pass that where an invader hath no more to fear, than another mans single power; if one plant, sow, build, or possess a convenient seat, others may probably be expected to come prepared with forces united to dispossess, and deprive him, not only of the fruit of his labour, but also of his life, or liberty. And the invader again is in like danger. Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (1651)
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