Philosophy 85 - 5.3 Arguments

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Define key components of an argument.
  • Categorize components of sample arguments.
  • Explain the difference between assessing logic and assessing truth.

As explained at the beginning of the chapter, an argument in philosophy is simply a set of reasons offered in support of some conclusion. So an “arguer” is a person who offers reasons for a specific conclusion. Notice that the definition does not state that the reasons do support a conclusion (and rather states reasons are offered or meant to support a conclusion) because there are bad arguments in which reasons do not support a conclusion.

Arguments have two components: the conclusion and the reasons offered to support it. The conclusion is what an arguer wants people to believe. The reasons offered are called premises. Often philosophers will craft a numbered argument to make clear each individual claim (premise) given in support of the conclusion. Here is an example of a numbered argument:

  1. If someone lives in San Francisco, then they live in California.
  2. If someone lives in California, then they live in the United States.
  3. Hassan lives in San Francisco.
  4. Therefore, Hassan lives in the United States.
This lesson has no exercises.

The content of this course has been taken from the free Philosophy textbook by Openstax