Lecture Notes.

Module One: Session Six

Critical Thinking Fundamentals

Argument: Basic Parts

  • All men are mortal.
    Socrates is a man.
    Therefore, Socrates is mortal.
  • This simple argument has three sentences. An agument must have a minimum of two sentences. It may also have a great number of sentences. Frequently, arguments constitute entire books. They all have some basic structures.
  • The first two sentences support the third sentence. They are called premises. Another more familiar word is reasons. Those words mean the same thing.
  • The last sentence is the one that is being established by the others. It is called the conclusion. Another word that means the same thing is thesis.
    • In philosophy (and logic in particular) the word conclusion means something very specific. The conclusion is the one sentence being established by the argument. This is different from the way it is used in other disciplines. You may have learned that a conclusion is a summarizing paragraph at the end of a paper. That's fine, but make sure you understand the more specific way that it's used in this class.
  • Premise: All men are mortal.
  • Premise: Socrates is a man.
  • Conclusion: Socrates is mortal.

  • Next, you will learn some words that will help you to identify the parts of an argument.
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