An argument is successful when the premises are true (or believable) and the premises support the conclusion.
- Conclusion (Composition)
- Logical Fallacy
- Logical Proof
Examples and Observations:
- "Here is a simple list of statements:
Socrates is a man.The list is not an argument, because none of these statements is presented as a reason for any other statement. It is, however, simple to turn this list into an argument. All we have to do is to add the single word 'therefore':
All men are mortal.
Socrates is mortal.
Socrates is a man.Now we have an argument. The word 'therefore' converts these sentences into an argument by signaling that the statement following it is a conclusion and the statement or statements that come before it are offered as reasons on behalf of this conclusion. The argument we have produced in this way is a good one, because the conclusion follows from the reasons stated on its behalf."
All men are mortal.
Therefore, Socrates is mortal.
(Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Robert J. Fogelin, Understanding Arguments: An Introduction to Informal Logic, 8th ed. Wadsworth, 2010)
- "Here is an example of an argument.
This job description is inadequate because it is too vague. It doesn't even list the specific tasks that should be performed, and it doesn't say how my perfomance will be evaluated.'This job description is inadequate' is the conclusion and is stated first in the argument. The reasons advanced to support this conclusion are: 'It is too vague,' 'It doesn't list specific tasks,' and 'It doesn't state how performance will be evaluated.' They are the premises. If you accept the premises as true, you have good grounds for accepting the conclusion 'The job description is inadequate' is true."
(Michael Andolina, Practical Guide to Critical Thinking. Delmar, 2002)
- "When someone makes an argument, typically that person is, at the minimum, advancing a claim--a statement the advocate believes or is in the process of evaluating--and also providing a reason or reasons for believing or considering that claim. A reason is a statement advanced for the purpose of establishing a claim. A conclusion is a claim that has been reached by a process of reasoning. The rational movement from a particular reason or reasons to a particular conclusion is called an inference, a conclusion drawn on the basis of reasons."
(James A. Herrick, Argumentation: Understanding and Shaping Arguments, 3rd ed. Strata, 2007)