To better understand arguments, it is useful to put them into standard form.

To better understand arguments, it is useful to put them into standard form.

Critical Thinking: The Art of Argument

Power Point Presentation by Chapter

Chapter One

Critical Thinking

and Arguments

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Lecture Six

Putting Arguments into Standard Form

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Standard Form

To better understand arguments, it is useful to put them into standard form.

It makes them clearer.

It makes them easier to read.

It makes the relations between the parts easier to see and talk about.

This process is called “standardizing” an argument.

LO3

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Standard Form

(1) This is the first premise.

(2) This is the second premise.

[3] This is the third premise.

Therefore,

(4) This is the conclusion.

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Standard Form

(1) This is the first premise.

(2) This is the second premise.

[3] This is the third premise.

Therefore,

(4) This is the conclusion.

We put brackets [ ] around the numbers of unstated premises or conclusions.

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How to Standardize

Put all the statements in declarative sentences and replace all pronouns with nouns.

Insert any unstated premises and any unstated conclusions.

Place the premises before the conclusion.

Number each statement with ( ) or [ ].

Indicate the conclusion with the word “Therefore.”

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What Standardizing Isn’t

Standardizing isn’t just rearranging the phrases you find in a text.

When you standardize, you should edit the phrases you find to make the argument clearer.

It isn’t just writing down the premises in any order.

You have to carefully note the relationships between the various sentences in the passage and find the logical order.

An Example

Don’t cry. Your toy dinosaur’s around here somewhere. You were playing with it in the kitchen less than an hour ago, and you haven’t been out of the house since then. We’ll find it.

Step 1: Look for an attempt to convince.

This person is trying to convince a young child. There’s an argument.

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An Example

Don’t cry. Your toy dinosaur’s around here somewhere. You were playing with it in the kitchen less than an hour ago, and you haven’t been out of the house since then. We’ll find it.

Step 2: Find the conclusion.

(C) The toy dinosaur is in the house.

We write “(C)” temporarily.

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An Example

Don’t cry. Your toy dinosaur’s around here somewhere. You were playing with it in the kitchen less than an hour ago, and you haven’t been out of the house since then. We’ll find it.

Step 3: Find the premises.

(P) The child was playing with the toy dinosaur in the kitchen less than an hour ago.

We removed the pronoun “you.”

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An Example

Don’t cry. Your toy dinosaur’s around here somewhere. You were playing with it in the kitchen less than an hour ago, and you haven’t been out of the house since then. We’ll find it.

Step 3: Find the premises.

(P) The child hasn’t left the house in the last hour.

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An Example

(P) The child was playing with the toy dinosaur in the kitchen less than an hour ago.

(P) The child hasn’t left the house in the last hour.

Therefore,

(C) The toy dinosaur is in the house.

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An Example

(1) The child was playing with the toy dinosaur in the kitchen less than an hour ago.

(2) The child hasn’t left the house in the last hour.

Therefore,

(3) The toy dinosaur is in the house.

Done!

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Next Lecture

Main Arguments & Subarguments

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