[Western Oregon University]

Phl 201:BEING AND KNOWING
WEBSITE

SPRING 1998
FOR PROFESSOR DALE CANNON

ARGUMENT ANALYSIS
by Dale Cannon


I.  "ARGUMENT" IN PHILOSOPHY

II.  "A GOOD ARGUMENT” II.  "AN UNSOUND ARGUMENT" III.  THE FORCE OF A SOUND ARGUMENT IV.  THE PARTS OF AN ARGUMENT:
 


V. HOW TELL WHEN THE REASONS OR EVIDENCE IS SUFFICIENT?


VI.  CRITICAL EVALUATION OF ARGUMENT OUTLINE
 


VI.  SOME BASICS ABOUT TRUTH CLAIMS
 

1.  Any claim, any candidate for belief, makes a claim about truth.
Even the claims, "No truth can be found." Or "There is no truth.", make claims about truth -- self-contradictory claims.
2.  In making or being a claim about truth, in risking being right or correct, a belief also risks being wrong.

3.  In other words, any claim could possibly be wrong.  We cannot escape the risk.

4.  To believe a claim is to take a stand against a claim that contradicts it.

5.  No two contradictory claims can both be true (literally and on the face of it).

6.  If two contradictory claims each have some truth, then it is because one or both of them is not entirely or literally true.

7.  But we  don't know that one or the other is true, or to what extent it is true, until we have examined them critically.

8.  Believing a claim, even  feeling certain about it, doesn't constitute knowing that it is true, nor does it make it true.

9.  To determine a claim's truth, we have to examine the relationship between the claim (the map) and the reality (the territory) it purports to represent.

10.  This requires that we have some kind of independent access (in our own persons) to that reality -- through direct observation, direct evidence, or indirect evidence.

This is where good reasons and rational argumentation comes into play.
11.  Simply coming up with an answer, belief, or claim on one's own doesn't make it true.
 


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