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Standard Form Arguments

Standard Form Arguments

Standard   Form Arguments

The central tool of logic is the   argument. Accordingly, constructing good arguments is the central element of   this course. Each writing assignment in this course will give you an   opportunity to construct and improve upon an argument that you will develop as   the course progresses. This discussion post allows you to begin the process   of developing your argument by presenting good reasoning on both sides of an   issue.

The requirement for this   discussion is a minimum of four posts on four separate days, including at   least two substantive responses to peers. The total combined word count for   all of your posts for this discussion, counted together, should be at least   400 words. Answer all the questions in the prompt, and read any resources   that are required to complete the discussion properly. In order to satisfy   the posting requirements for the week, complete your initial post by Day 3   (Thursday) and your other posts by Day 7 (Monday). We recommend that you   get into the discussion early and spread out your posts over the course of   the week. Reply to your classmates and instructor. Attempt to take   the conversation further by responding substantively to the replies that   others make to you as well. Keep the discussion on target, and analyze things   in as much detail as you can.


Prepare: To prepare for this discussion, make sure to read the   assigned chapters of the primary text and to review the required resources,   including the videos about arguments (in the “Lectures” link on the left).   Before responding to the prompt, make sure as well to participate in the   interactive scenario at the top of this page titled The Raise to gain more appreciation of the importance of   constructing good arguments in life.


Reflect: Choose a topic from the PHI103 Final Paper   Options  list. It should be a topic   that you find interesting, but also for which you will be able defend a   position with careful logical reasoning. Construct the strongest argument   that you can on each side of the issue. Strengthen your arguments by   contemplating possible objections to each  argument, and revise your   arguments in light of the objections. Continue this process until you feel   that your arguments for each side are as convincing as you can possibly make   them.


Write: Present your two arguments (one on each side of the issue)   in standard form (with each premise and conclusion on a separate line)   on the topic you selected from the PHI103 Final Paper   Options list. The two arguments should   defend different positions on the topic. For example, if your topic was the   existence of Santa Claus, then you would present one argument for the claim   that Santa Claus does exist and another argument that Santa Claus does not   exist. The premises of each argument will present reasons for thinking that   the conclusion is true.

Here is an example of what an   argument in standard form looks like:
Premise 1: If Santa Claus exists, then he lives at the North Pole.
Premise 2: No one can live at the North Pole.
Conclusion: Santa Claus does not exist.

For each argument, provide a brief   explanation of the strengths and weaknesses of the argument. You might   explain whether the argument is inductive or deductive, or you might provide   a diagram of the argument. Think about how the two arguments compare to each   other. Is one better than the other? If so, what makes that one better? Is   each a fair presentation of what someone taking that position would say? Are   the premises reasonable? How might each argument be made better?


Guided Response: Read the arguments presented by your classmates, and   analyze the reasoning that they have presented. Whether you agree with their   position or not, see if you can help them to improve their arguments. In   particular, point out any respect in which a reasonable person might disagree   with the truth of their premises or with the strength of their reasoning.   Consider addressing the following questions: Did your classmate present a   convincing argument? Why, or why not? Which part of the argument might   someone dispute (e.g., premise, conclusion, structure, etc.)? How might the   argument be strengthened? Make sure that your posts for the week include at   least two substantive responses to classmates.

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