Hey Rebels! Before we start this weeks Philosophy Friday I need to tell you all the the post series will be going on break for two weeks, as I will become busy and won’t have enough time to write these. To make up for this, we are getting a big topic out of the way: How to argue. Now, this is not the really simple explanation you got in issue 1, we are properly going to get into how to build a strong argument. Also, here’s something to be hyped for: This is the last post on basic how to argue stuff, next issue we will be doing real philosophy (the nature of reality). Anyway, click continue reading and let us dive into the wonderful world of philosophy!
Let us waste no time! First we will look at deductive arguments; they are made up of 2 things: premises and a conclusion. A premise is a truth that you are certain about, when you add this premises you can logically conclude information from them. The basic idea of a deductive argument is that if the premises are both true and related to the conclusion then the conclusion also has to be true. Let me give you an example:
Premise 1: All dogs have noses
Premise 2: My pet is a dog
Conclusion: Therefore, my pet has a nose
This one is the simplest of all kinds of reasoning, and the easiest to handle; although, you’ll find that, for most philosophical debates, it’s hard to come across thing that you know for a fact are true, so don’t rely on it too much.
Next we have inductive reasoning, and, in simple words, it consists of taking past knowledge from experience to make predictions about the future. For this kind of reasoning we will be required to be able to rule out what definitely can’t be true, as to be left only with the truth. It is important to note, an inductive argument will never assure you that your conclusion is true, it only assures you a high probability of it being true. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle gives us what is probably the best definition for inductive reasoning (although he wrongly calls it deduction) through Sherlock Holmes: “…when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever reamains, however improbable, must be the truth.” Let’s look at an example:
Premise 1: The neighbour’s children shout whenever they play videogames
Premise 2: I hear children’s shouts coming from the neighbour’s house
Conclusion: Therefore, the neighbour’s children must be playing videogames
Lastly, we have abductive reasoning. Abductive reasoning, very much like inductive reasoning, eliminates some ideas to be left with a conclusion. The difference is that abduction eliminates improbable options instead of impossible options, and it leaves you with one highly likely option as a conclusion. Let’s see an example to understand it better:
Premise 1: You and your roomate both ate sushi together last night
Premise 2: You both woke up feeling sick and started throwing up
Conclusion: Therefore, it must’ve been bad sushi
And now, for the philosophical question of the week we will have a warm up for the next issue: How can you know if anything is real? Discuss.
And that’ll be all for today. It’s not a lot of information, but it is quite useful; the objective here is to be able to formulate arguments and counter arguments using these kinds of reasoning. Understanding how they work will help you make less mistakes and stronger points. Remember that we’re taking a 2 week break from Philosophy Fridays by the way.
~Fight the good fight