What is an argument?

What is an argument?
Argument Clinic Clip
• What is the video suggesting about good and
bad arguments?
• What makes a strong argument?
• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQFKtI6gn
Argument and Persuasion
• The process to discover a
truth using evidence and
• Argument, as a form of
persuasion, relies on
reason, logos (“word” or”
• The process to convince
or move others from
conviction to action.
• To persuade is to win
over, whether by giving
reasons, or by appealing
to the emotions pathos
(“feeling” and “suffering”), or
establishing credibility
and high moral character
with the audience, ethos
• A series of statements and reasons that support a
conclusion, often formulated so that the
conclusion is deduced from premises [reasons].
• Claim: A statement or assertion of something to
be true.
• Premise: A statement or reason offered as
support of another claim.
• Conclusion: A statement or claim supported by a
premise or premises [reasons].
Syllogisms: Deductive Reasoning
Major Premise: All human beings are mortal.
Minor Premise: Socrates is a human being.
Conclusions: Socrates is mortal
“Letter from Birmingham Jail” by
Martin Luther King Jr.
• “You assert that our actions, even though
peaceful, must be condemned because they
precipitate violence.”
• Syllogism:
– Society must condemn actions (even if peaceful)
that precipitate violence.
– This action (though peaceful) will precipitate
– Therefore, society must condemn this action.
Premise must be true.
Syllogism must be valid.
•The whale is a large fish.
•All large fish have scales.
•Therefore, whales have scales
Tips for finding premise/conclusion
• Look for clues.
– Premise Indicators: Since, because, for, as ,
follows from, as shown by, in as much as, as
indicated by, the reason that, may be inferred
from, given that
– Conclusion Indicators: Therefore, hence, so,
accordingly, consequently, proves that, as a result,
thus, for this reason, for these reasons, it follows
that, I conclude that, which shows that, which
means that, which entails, which implies that
Identifying Argument from Explanation
The premise of an argument answers the
question, “Why should I accept this
An explanation takes the conclusion as an
assumed truth or fact, and then explains, or
states why something is the case.