What is an argument?…….Propositions are the building blocks of which arguments are made. When we reach or affirm one proposition on the basis of other propositions, we say that an inference has been drawn. Inference is process that may tie a cluster of propositions together. Some inferences are warranted or correct, others are not. To determine whether an inference is correct, the logician examines the propositions with which the process begins and ends, and the relations between those propositions. This cluster of propositions constitutes an argument. Arguments are the chief concern to logic.
|What is an argument?|
The term ‘argument’ can have a dual meaning. In ordinary discourse, it connotes a quarrel or disagreement, whereas in logic – thatis, in the technical sense – an argument is a sequence of statements, ‘declarative sentences’ or propositions, in which one part known as the conclusion is claimed to follow from the others called the premises. In clear terms, therefore, an argument is any group of propositions of which one is claimed to follow from the others, which are regarded as providing support or grounds for the truth of that one.That means that an argument is not just a mere collection of statements. An argument has a structure which is defined by the terms ‘premises’ and ‘conclusion’ and the nature of the relationship between them.
The conclusion of an argument is that proposition which is affirmed on the basis of some other propositions, which serve as justification for the acceptance of the conclusion. These other propositions, which go by various names such as evidence, grounds, or reasons, are more professionally called premises. In an argument, therefore, the premises are intended to provide sufficient grounds for the acceptance of the conclusion.For an argument to be present, “there must be some structure within the cluster of propositions, a structure that captures or exhibits some inference. This structure we describe using the terms premise and conclusion” (Copi et al 2006: 4).Thus, the premise is a proposition used in an argument to support some other proposition, while the conclusion is the proposition in an argument that the other propositions (that is, the premises) support. Where there is no relationship whatsoever between the putative claim or conclusion and the reasons given for its acceptance, then there is no argument.
An argument may have two sentences where the first sentence serves as the basis for accepting the other which is the conclusion. In other words, the premise and the conclusion may be stated separately, each in a separate sentence. For example:
- Donte Drumm has not been convicted of the crime of murder. Therefore, any statement indicting him of the murder should be jettisoned as mere insinuation.
- Okorocha is a politician who has recorded great success at the state level. Therefore, he will win the presidential election in 2005.