Simple Vs. Complex Arguments
An argument is complex if it contains a sub-argument, that is, if one of the
premises for the main conclusion is also the conclusion for the other
premise for the main argument.
One premise of an argument is related to another premise in the argument
in a premise/conclusion relationship.
Radiation can cause cancer. (therefore) Nuclear power plants can be
harmful to humans. (therefore) We should shut down all nuclear power
1. Use the “therefore” test and your intuitions to discover the main
conclusion of the passage (and its premises).
2. Then use the “therefore” test to see whether one of the premises of the
main argument is the conclusion of a sub-argument.
Summer is the best time of year. You can go kayaking in the summer.
School is out.
Sunspots can interfere with Earth’s magnetic fields. Many types of
communications depend on Earth’s magnetic fields. Sunspots can cause
poor communications.
The stock market influences the confidence that people have in the
economy. When the stock market is high, people feel wealthier. An
interest rate decrease will improve the stock market. The Federal Reserve
Board should lower interest rates.
Sacramento appears to be on track for a “soft landing”. Sacramento has
decent job growth. There will probably be an increase in job hiring by the
state government. There are signs of stabilization in the housing market.