Uploaded by Walter Willis


Dictionary definitions
Argument: [ahr-gyuh-muh nt] noun (just the most common 4 are listed)
1. an oral disagreement; verbal opposition; contention; altercation:
2. a discussion involving differing points of view; debate:
3. a process of reasoning; series of reasons:
4. a statement, reason, or fact for or against a point:
Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
The word “argument” can be used to designate a dispute or a fight, or it can be used more
technically. The focus of this article is on understanding an argument as a collection of truth-bearers (that is, the things that bear truth and falsity, or are true and false) some of
which are offered as reasons for one of them, the conclusion. This article takes propositions rather than sentences or statements or utterances to be the primary truth bearers. The reasons
offered within the argument are called “premises”, and the proposition that the premises are offered for is called the “conclusion”. This sense of “argument” diverges not only from the
above sense of a dispute or fight but also from the formal logician’s sense according to which an argument is merely a list of statements, one of which is designated as the conclusion and
Arguments, as understood
in this article, are the subject of study in critical thinking and informal logic courses in which
students usually learn, among other things, how to identify, reconstruct, and evaluate
arguments given outside the classroom.
the rest of which are designated as premises regardless of whether the premises are offered as reasons for believing the conclusion.
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
The commonly preferred internet resource on philosophy. They do not offer one general discussion of
the definition of argument. Instead you will see the writings of philosophers discussing the issue.
The most important of these is Aristotle. One of Aristotle’s most significant works was titled
“Rhetoric” In modern times we view rhetoric as the art of persuasion, not argument.
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP) (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aristotle-rhetoric/)
Aristotle's Rhetoric has had an enormous influence on the development of the art of rhetoric. Not
only authors writing in the peripatetic tradition, but also the famous Roman teachers of rhetoric, such as Cicero and Quintilian, frequently used elements stemming from the Aristotelian
doctrine. Nevertheless, these authors were interested neither in an authentic interpretation of the Aristotelian works nor in the philosophical sources and backgrounds of the vocabulary that
Aristotle had introduced to rhetorical theory. Thus
, for two millennia the interpretation of Aristotelian rhetoric has
become a matter of the history of rhetoric, not of philosophy. In the most influential manuscripts and editions, Aristotle's Rhetoric was surrounded
by rhetorical works and even written speeches of other Greek and Latin authors, and was seldom interpreted in the context of the whole Corpus Aristotelicum. It was not until the last few
decades that the philosophically salient features of the Aristotelian rhetoric were rediscovered
: in construing a general theory of the
persuasive, Aristotle applies numerous concepts and arguments that are also treated in his
logical, ethical, and psychological writings. His theory of rhetorical arguments, for example, is
only one further application of his general doctrine of the sullogismos, which also forms the
basis of dialectic, logic, and his theory of demonstration. Another example is the concept of emotions: though
emotions are one of the most important topics in the Aristotelian ethics, he nowhere offers
such an illuminating account of single emotions as in the Rhetoric. Finally, it is the Rhetoric, too,
that informs us about the cognitive features of language and style.
Discipline Centered Approaches to defining argument.
National Science Teachers Association, “Scientific Argumentation in Biology, 2013” p.ix
We define scientific argumentation as an attempt to validate or refute
a claim on the basis of reasons in a manner that reflects the values of the scientific community
(Norris, Philips, and Osborne 2007). A claim, in this context, is not simply an opinion or an idea; rather, it is a
conjecture, explanation, or other conclusion that provides a sufficient answer to a research
question. The term reasons is used to describe the support someone offers for a conclusion.
The term evidence is often used to describe the reasons used by scientists, especially when the
support is based on data gathered through an investigation. Yet reasons do not have to be based on measurements or observations
Scientific argumentation is an important practice in science.
to be viewed as scientific. Charles Darwin, for example, provided numerous reasons in The Origin of Species to support his claims that all life on Earth shares a common ancestor, biological
evolution is simply descent with modification, and the primary mechanism that drives biological evolution is natural selection. Some of the reasons that Darwin used were theoretical in nature,
such as appealing to population theory from Malthus and the ideas of uniformitarianism advocated by Lyell, while others were more empirical in nature, such as the appeals he made to the
data that he gathered during his voyage to Central and South America. What made “Darwin’s one long argument” (Mayr 1964, p. 459) so convincing and persuasive to others, however, was
the way he was able to coordinate theory and evidence in order to validate his claims.
It is also important for teachers and students to
understand how an argument (i.e., a written or spoken claim and support provided for it) in science is different than an
argument that is used in everyday contexts or in other disciplines such as history, religion, or even
politics. In order to make these differences explicit, we use the framework illustrated in Figure 1 (p. x). In this framework, a claim is a conjecture, conclusion, explanation, or a descriptive
statement that answers a research question.
Blacks Law Dictionary, http://thelawdictionary.org/argument/
ARGUMENT? In rhetoric and logic, an inference drawn from premises, the truth of which is
Indisputable, or at least highly probable. The argument of a demurrer, special case, appeal, or other
proceeding involving a question of law, consists of the speeches of the opposed counsel; namely, the
“opening” of the counsel having the right to begin, (q. v.,) the speech of his opponent, and the “‘reply”
of the first counsel. It answers to the trial of a question of fact. Sweet. But the submission of printed
briefs may technically constitute an argument. Msilcomh v. Hamill. 65 How. Prac. (X. Y.) 500; State v.
California Min. Co., 13 Nev. 209.
What is
Why are these definitions of argument important? None of this exactly describes a debate
1) The goal of a debate argument is to persuade a JUDGE, and different types of judges are going to
be persuaded by different types of arguments.
2) As you progress in debate, you will find that there is something to be learned from each of these
definitions of argument.
In all forms of competitive debate, an argument must have two components:
2.1 The Claim is the point you are making. Often this is referred to as the tag, or tagline.
2.1 The Warrant is the proof of the claim. This consists of analysis and evidence. Sometimes
evidence alone is insufficient. Sometimes there must also be analysis that connects the evidence
to the claim.
Claim: Men are smarter than Women
Brittain’s National Health Service, 2014 (NHS Choices, February 14, 2014,
It found that
on average men had larger overall brain volumes than women. They also found differences between men and
women in the volume of many different regions. These included regions previously associated with different mental health conditions. For example, men tended to have larger
volumes in brain regions associated with survival instincts, memory and learning, while women tended to have larger volumes in areas of the brain dealing with language and
In this example, the evidence alone is insufficient to support the claim. It might seem logical that
since intelligence is rooted in the brain, then larger brains would prove greater intelligence—but that is
an extra analytical step. If you were making this argument you would need to add analysis that connects
the evidence to the claim.
1. Language of logic; argumentation is the language of logic. In logic, one deals with arguments.
2. What is an argument? Claim (Tagline, something one is trying to prove), Warrant (Proof or evidence),
Impact (reason why the argument matters)
Hidden/Unstated Premises (assumptions); break down the assumptions your opponent’s case;
An argument is a premise(s) (reason for the argument) and a conclusion (inference of the
o Example: (1) Food security violates people’s negative rights and governments must
respect only negative rights and not positive rights, therefore a legitimate government is
not obligated to ensure food security.
o Cue words indicate an argument. (Since, because, in so far as, for the reasons,etc)
3. The importance of logic:
(1) Being able to know what is wrong with an argument is crucial.
(2) Allows you to make solid logical offensive arguments.
(3) Allows you to make better arguments.
(4) Allows you to make more arguments.
(5) Especially, transitional judges love logic.
4. Analytical thinking: is the process of analyzing and braking down concepts. Analytical and Conceptual
thinking can be used simultaneously.
Necessary Conditions: is something that is essential to explaining the concept.
Sufficient Conditions: is something sufficient to explaining the concept; fully explains the
concept; think of something that is the same as the concept.
o Example: A shape with 3 sides in which the interior angels add up to 180 degrees.
What is Life? There is no absolute consensus of what this means.
Is a dolphin a person? Yes, Dolphins are individuals with emotions and intelligence.
5. Critical thinking: being skeptical or thinking outside of the box. Fallacy of Appealing to Authority just
believes in what someone told you to believe in.
Being critical is not the same as criticizing something; logic is all about the truth.
If you cannot explain your opponent’s argument effectively, then you do not deserve to criticize
their beliefs.
Critical thinking means being open to the possibly one is wrong.
6. Truth vs. Validity
Truth is something that actually happened.
An argument can be true but not valid and an argument can be valid but not true.
Validity refers to the structure of arguments; validity is an argument that is valid when there are
no counter examples. In logic, we deal with validity not truth. Soundness, arguments that is valid
and true.
7. Deduction vs. induction
(1) Deduction: is when one moves from the general to the particular. [Example: All people in this room
are debater, Lamarcus is in this room, and therefore Lamarcus is a debater. (Syllogisms)]
(2) Induction: is when one moves from the particular to the general (something is probably going to
happen; likely). Ex: The Sun is outside today; therefore it is likely to appear tomorrow.
8. Principle of logic: (1) the principle of identity, which states “a thing is what it is.”(2) The principle of
the excluded middle; either something is or is not. (3) The principle of sufficient reason; there is a
sufficient reason for everything; or principle of causality, not correlation. (4) The principle of
contradiction, something cannot be true and false at the same time.
9. Syllogisms, (first person to implement them were Aristotle)
Three parts to syllogisms: (1) Major premise (2) Minor premise (3) Conclusion
(1) Premise one: Tyler C is King (2) Premise two: Kings are gods. Therefore, Tyler C is a god.
(1) Premise one: Tyler C is 23 (2) Premise two: The Sun is big. Therefore, Tyler C is in Texas.