As much as you might want to run and hide when someone uses the word “philosophy” or its variants, you would be surprised to know that how we argue effectively in our lives everyday boils down to philosophical arguments.

Have you ever done argumentative essays in school? If you did and you actually did it quite skillfully, you have practiced at least one species of philosophical argument.

Species of Arguments

1) Deductive

2) Inductive

3) Abductive

4) Argument by Analogy

5) Reductio Ad Absurdum

Premises

A claim, a statement or a belief are called premises in the context of an argument. Premises are like the atoms of deductive argument – which is only one species of philosophical argument as shown above. Premises can be true or false depending on how well substantiated by evidence it is; and premises should obviously be true for arguments to be deductively sound.

Deductive Argument

This is the simplest form of argument, and it is probably the one that you were taught in high school/junior college. This should explain it:

Premise A: I am human

Premise B: All humans are mammals

Conclusion: I am a mammal

This type of reasoning is called entailment where the premises entail a logically sound conclusion; and when they do, the argument is valid. However, validity does not always equate truth in the same way that correlation does not always equate to causation; because premises can be false. The lack of substantiation in premises is therefore the cardinal sin that prevents argument from reaching the quality of being deductively sound.

Signing off,

Jackson

Reference:

CrashCourse Philosophy

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