1.1 What Is An Argument?

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Argument Quizzes & Trivia

Here's a short quiz on the concepts discussed in this tutorial.


Questions and Answers
  • 1. 

    In logic, the term “argument” always implies some kind of emotional confrontation.

    • A.

      True

    • B.

      False

    Correct Answer
    B. False
    Explanation
    False. In logic an "argument" is a technical term, it doesn't presume any sort of conflict or emotional confrontation. In the real world, of course, people can react emotionally when they're presented with a challenging argument, or when their own arguments are challenged. But that's a different matter.

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  • 2. 

    The same argument can be written in more than one way, using different words, different sentences and different sentence organization.

    • A.

      True

    • B.

      False

    Correct Answer
    A. True
    Explanation
    True. That's why writing arguments in "standard form" can be a helpful tool for clarifying the structure of an argument.

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  • 3. 

    In ordinary language we often rely on implicit background assumptions when both presenting and interpreting arguments.

    • A.

      True

    • B.

      False

    Correct Answer
    A. True
    Explanation
    True. Once again, this is why it can be helpful to write an argument in "standard form", so that we can make explicit what these background assumptions are and what role they're playing in the argument.

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  • 4. 

    "An argument is a set of claims, or statements."Is this enough to count as a proper definition of an argument?

    • A.

      Yes, it's enough.

    • B.

      No, it's not enough.

    Correct Answer
    B. No, it's not enough.
    Explanation
    No, it's not enough.The definition also requires that you specify that one of the statements is the conclusion and the others are functioning as the premises, and the premises are being offered as reasons to believe or accept the conclusion. If you've got all this, then you've got an argument.

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  • 5. 

    "Whales are mammals, so of course they breathe air."This argument relies on an implicit (unstated) premise in order to infer the conclusion. Choose the best candidate for this implicit premise.

    • A.

      Whales are mammals.

    • B.

      Mammals are whales.

    • C.

      Whales breathe air.

    • D.

      Mammals breathe air.

    Correct Answer
    D. Mammals breathe air.
    Explanation
    "Mammals breathe air" is the unstated premise that you need to infer the conclusion. In standard form the argument would look like this:

    1. All whales are mammals.
    2. All mammals breathe air.
    Therefore, all whales breathe air.

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  • 6. 

    Is the following argument is written in "standard form"?"Peanut butter is healthier for you than ordinary butter. It's got peanuts, for one thing, and peanuts have protein and nutrients that ordinary butter doesn't."

    • A.

      Yes, it's written in standard form.

    • B.

      No, it's not written in standard form.

    Correct Answer
    B. No, it's not written in standard form.
    Explanation
    No. For this to be written in standard form all the premises would have to be clearly identified, set on separate lines, and the conclusion written at the bottom. In this case, the conclusion is actually the first sentence -- "Peanut butter is healthier for you than ordinary butter".

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