Argument Types

Argument Types
Rypcord
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Posted Jan 6, 2010 - 6:04 PM:
Subject: Argument Types
Looking for a list of argument components.

Things like: A priori / ad hominum / straw man / etc.

I'd like to see a (hopefully as huge as possible) list with a definition by each.

Thanks.
Rypcord
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Posted Jan 7, 2010 - 12:50 AM:

Ok, thanks for the move.
mayor of simpleton
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Posted Jan 7, 2010 - 1:05 AM:

The following is a bit boring, but exactly what I had to deal with when studying philosophy at the University. Not much has changed. I'm sure you can find the same as this and perhaps a more detailed examples somewhere in the internet.

1. The first type of argument is a deductive argument. A deductive argument is an argument in which it is claimed that the conclusion necessarily follows from the premises. Examples of deductive arguments are geometric proofs and other mathematical facts.

2. The next type of argument is an inductive one. An inductive argument is an argument in which it is claimed that the premises make the conclusion highly probable. For instance, pharmaceutical drugs that have been tested extensively may be concluded safe even though there is no guarantee from dangerous side effects that may not have been discovered yet.

3. Next is the valid argument. A valid argument is an argument is which it is impossible for the premises to be true and the conclusion false. With a valid argument, if the premises are true, then the conclusion must be true. However, that is not to say that a valid argument will always have true premises. Therefore, there are cases where a valid argument is not always true. However, if the premises are true, this obviously is the best type of argument for it cannot logically be refuted.

4. Then there is the invalid argument. The invalid argument is an argument in which the truth of the conclusion fails to logically follow from the premises. An invalid argument occurs when a valid argument fails. In other words, if an argument cannot be termed valid, it can be called invalid.

5. Another type of argument is a sound argument. A sound argument is a valid argument with true premises. Therefore, a sound argument is a correct one for if it is valid and true, it cannot possibly be wrong. A philosopher who presents a sound argument has presented a true philosophy.

6. There is also a strong argument. A strong argument is an inductive argument in which true premises would make the conclusion highly probable. A strong argument may not necessarily be true. However, it provides enough evidence to back it up that it would obtain a following of supporters.

7.Next, there is a cogent argument. A cogent argument is nothing more than a strong argument that has true premises. It is very similar to a sound argument, for it is a true one as well and cannot be logically refuted. It can be a bit difficult to distinguish between a sound argument and a cogent one. However, the difference is that a sound argument originates from a valid argument in which it is impossible for the premises to be true and the conclusion false, whereas a cogent argument originates from a sound argument in which true premises would make the conclusion highly probable.

8. Last, there is what is known as the inference to the best explanation. The inference to the best explanation is a form of reasoning that tries to show that a particular theory is superior to all its competitors and that it is, therefore, the one that is most likely to be true. It is also known as abduction. This is perhaps, the argument used most often by philosophers for many philosophies cannot necessarily be proven beyond a doubt. Therefore showing how one theory is better than another is sometimes the best argument to offer.

These eight types of arguments are used by philosophers when presenting and defending their claims. Understanding them and being able to identify them can help you to support a better philosophy and perhaps even develop your own. I'd suggest that you check out the "laws of inference" and "fallacies", as this would aide you in your collection.

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GREG
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Posted Jan 7, 2010 - 4:04 AM:

Where is the 9th argument type? The argument with a woman?
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Posted Jan 7, 2010 - 10:31 AM:

Rypcord wrote:
Looking for a list of argument components.

Things like: A priori / ad hominum / straw man / etc.

I'd like to see a (hopefully as huge as possible) list with a definition by each.

Thanks.

Here's a great list which shows different kinds of fallacious arguments--with examples:

http://www.iep.utm.edu/fallacy/#H6
mayor of simpleton
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Posted Jan 8, 2010 - 1:00 AM:

SittinWSocratesTiff wrote:
Where is the 9th argument type? The argument with a woman?



Hey Tiff, I believe Rypcord meant "rational arguments". grin

Sorry, you set the table for that one...

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GREG
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Posted Jan 8, 2010 - 4:10 AM:

Mayor Of Simpleton wrote: Hey Tiff, I believe Rypcord meant "rational arguments". grin


Oh so sorry Rypcord I wasn't thinking rationally! wink
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Posted Jan 8, 2010 - 9:58 AM:

lol
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Posted Jan 8, 2010 - 10:35 AM:

Let me give you another take on this. This may not be what you're thinking, but it is common enough.

People have been arguing for centuries and compiling lists of kinds of arguments that work and don't. So, if I get that list and learn it, I'll be able to argue effectively.

There are couple of flaws to this approach:

1. Learning the patterns will not guarantee that you'll be able to apply them correctly or recognize legitimate fallacies when they present themselves. A complete study of logic and rhetoric will help, but it is a time consuming endeavor.

2. An accepted formal argument will guarantee that the conclusion is true if and only if the premises are true. Many topics that are worth the time to argue do not come with ready made indisputably true premises.

3. The major recognized informal fallacies are also the most widely used and effective rhetorical tools available. We have been educating at least two generations of students about these fallacies and they still are as effective as they ever were. Knowing about them does not diminish their effectiveness.

So, what to do? An alternative would be to learn a few useful patterns that are widely applicable. My suggestions are Modes Ponens, Modes Tollens, and Reducio ad Absurdum.

for example

Modes Ponens

If the weather is warm then I'll go sailing If A then B
the weather is warm A
therefore I'll go sailing B

Modes Tollens

If the weather is warm then I'll go sailing If A then B
I won't go sailing -B
therefore the weather is not warm -A

And Reducio is just assuming something is true then seeing if you can derive a contradiction.

Square triangles are real

A square has exactly 4 sides
A triangle has exactly three sides
so a square triangle has exactly three sides and exactly four sides.

Actually, reducio is really all you need. Most people can't think their way out of a revolving door; so, take them at their word and show them where their reasoning leads. It won't deter them but, it is satisfying watching them try to get out of it..
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