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How should we evaluate arguments that people make to persuade us? And how should we construct our own arguments to be the most effective?
At its core, an argument consists of a conclusion and one or more premises, or claims.
It does not use reasons that contradict each other, contradict the conclusion or explicitly or implicitly assumes the truth of the conclusion. Checklist:
A premise is relevant if it provides some bearing on the truth of the conclusion. Checklist:
A premise should be acceptable to a mature, rational adult.
The claim should meet the following standards:
This principle is a judgment call. Checklist:
A good argument includes an effective rebuttal to all anticipated serious criticisms of the argument. Arguers often use arguments that misrepresent the criticism, bring up trivial objections as a side issue, or resort to humor or ridicule are using devices that clearly fail to make effective responses. Checklist:
SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:
Premise 1: I can’t explain or imagine how proposition X can be true.
Premise 2: if a certain proposition is true, then I must be able to explain or imagine how that can be.
... and to bring this up as part of an argument. The issue with doing so occurs when this incredulity isn’t justified or supported by concrete information, and when this lack of belief is used in order to assume that a preferred personal explanation must be the right one, despite the lack of proof.
At the same time, it’s also important to remember that it’s possible that the person using the argument from incredulity is right, despite the fact that their reasoning is flawed.
According to the Falsification Principle of Karl Popper, we cannot prove the validity of a hypothesis. We can only disprove it.
However, we can get closer to the truth by improving...
Inductive reasoning involves looking for a trend or a pattern, then using the observations to formulate a general truth. For example, "When I eat peanuts, my throat swells up and I have difficulty breathing. Therefore, I'm likely allergic to peanuts."
Deductive reasoning starts from established facts, then applies logical steps to reach a conclusion. For example, "Bachelors are unmarried men. Jack is unmarried. Therefore, Jack is a bachelor."
Begging the question is an example of a fallacy of presumption, also known as a circular argument: The conclusion appears at the beginning and the end of the argument. ...
"The law says you should drive on the right side of the road, and the law is the law."
When someone is questioning this statement, they are questioning the law. If we say, "because that is the law," we are begging the question. We are assuming the validity of what the other person is questioning.
The most simple form of begging the question: A is true because A is true.
Circular reasoning can also be a bit longer: