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Humanities LibreTexts

2: Claims, Issues, and Arguments

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    • Contributed by Bradley H. Dowden
    • Professor (Philosophy) at California State University Sacramento

    Every argument contains at least one intended conclusion plus one or more supporting reasons, called premises. However, in some passages it is not easy to tell whether an argument occurs at all, nor what the premises and conclusion of an argument really are, nor how other arguments in the passage are related to that argument. This chapter explores that understatement. It begins with an introduction of special phrases that often indicate the presence of premises and conclusions. Then the chapter investigates the problems of identifying the unstated premises and conclusions. For especially complex argumentation, the chapter introduces a diagramming technique that can provide a helpful display of the argument structure.

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