What Are Arguments?

An incisive argument is the one which produces the greatest perplexity: for this is the one with the sharpest fang.

- Aristotle, On Sophistical Refutation, 182b32

Podcast of the Day

Why is argument so important in politics? In a democracy we have to reason together and convince each other. In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast Bob Talisse explores what this involves.

Listen to Bob Talisse on the Importance of Argument in Politics

Video of the Day

Short Article of the Day

So the Great Barrier Reef has not been listed as endangered by UNESCO. And same-sex marriage is high on the national agenda. Care to argue the case? Careful, there’s a minefield ahead.

There is one thing that is poorly understood about arguing in the public arena. It is the reason that a strong case will often lose its momentum and that an obvious logical conclusion will be missed. It is one of the reasons our political leaders fail utterly to have a reasoned conversation with the population and with each other. And it’s why denialists on just about any issue can sidestep rational debate.

It’s called the “point at issue” and describes what the argument is actually about. If you move away from this simple idea, the argument will be lost in a fog of related but unnecessary issues...

Continue reading Peter Ellerton's article: This is why you will lose your argument

Further Reading

When assessing the quality of an argument, we ask how well its premises support its conclusion. More specifically, we ask whether the argument is either deductively valid or inductively strong.

deductive argument is an argument that is intended by the arguer to be deductively valid, that is, to provide a guarantee of the truth of the conclusion provided that the argument's premises are true. This point can be expressed also by saying that, in a deductive argument, the premises are intended to provide such strong support for the conclusion that, if the premises are true, then it would be impossible for the conclusion to be false...

An inductive argument is an argument that is intended by the arguer to be strong enough that, if the premises were to be true, then it would be unlikely that the conclusion is false. So, an inductive argument's success or strength is a matter of degree, unlike with deductive arguments...

Continue reading the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Deductive and Inductive Arguments

Bonus Webcomic

Hey Kid - SMBC

Related Topics

 LogicParadoxes | Philosophy | Thought Experiments

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