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How to convert long arguments into syllogisms

tbhidc
Posts: 84
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5/27/2014 11:19:30 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
First step, find the conclusion. This is easy to do. Usually the conclusion is the same as the title of the article, or the resolution of the debate.

Second step, find one of the premises that support this conclusion. Sometimes this is more tricky to do. You need to read between the lines sometimes.

Third step, fill in the missing premise if it isnt stated, so that it's a logically valid argument.

And voila. Your opponent's argument has never been easier to critique.
Benshapiro
Posts: 3,928
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5/27/2014 1:15:36 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I think it's a great idea but you have to be careful not to put words in the other persons mouth or draw conclusions that are implied that weren't explicitly stated.
xXCryptoXx
Posts: 5,000
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5/27/2014 1:18:31 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/27/2014 11:19:30 AM, tbhidc wrote:
First step, find the conclusion. This is easy to do. Usually the conclusion is the same as the title of the article, or the resolution of the debate.

Second step, find one of the premises that support this conclusion. Sometimes this is more tricky to do. You need to read between the lines sometimes.

Third step, fill in the missing premise if it isnt stated, so that it's a logically valid argument.

And voila. Your opponent's argument has never been easier to critique.

This actually is quite handy. Personally one of the best ways to critique an argument is to turn it into well, an argument with labeled premises and a conclusion that way i can just attack the premises. Bonus points if you successfully make your opponent's argument look dumb after putting it into premises and a conclusion.
Nolite Timere
tbhidc
Posts: 84
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5/27/2014 1:24:12 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/27/2014 1:18:31 PM, xXCryptoXx wrote:
At 5/27/2014 11:19:30 AM, tbhidc wrote:
First step, find the conclusion. This is easy to do. Usually the conclusion is the same as the title of the article, or the resolution of the debate.

Second step, find one of the premises that support this conclusion. Sometimes this is more tricky to do. You need to read between the lines sometimes.

Third step, fill in the missing premise if it isnt stated, so that it's a logically valid argument.

And voila. Your opponent's argument has never been easier to critique.

This actually is quite handy. Personally one of the best ways to critique an argument is to turn it into well, an argument with labeled premises and a conclusion that way i can just attack the premises. Bonus points if you successfully make your opponent's argument look dumb after putting it into premises and a conclusion.

Yes. For example, suppose someone made the argument...

"Guns should be banned. Because guns are often used to kill people. Banning guns would reduce gun related deaths by (huge percentage here)%. Since banning guns would save so many lives, we should ban guns."

First, we could find the conclusion. Here it's "Guns should be illegal." Then we find the premise, or reason given, to believe this. "Making guns illegal decreases death by (huge percentage)".

So we could formulate it...

P1: ???
P2: Making guns illegal decreases death by (huge percentage)
C: Guns should be made illegal

But you'd need another premise to make it valid...

P1: Whatever decreases death by (huge percentage) should be done
P2: Making guns illegal decreases death by (huge percentage)
C: Guns should be made illegal

And now, it's much much much easier to attack premise 1 than premise 2. So we could essentially concede the second premise, and say "yes, banning guns will reduce deaths. So what?"

However, if I were the one arguing against guns I would qualify the first statement, and add in another property. Such as... "Whatever decreases death by (huge percentage) and doesn't encroach upon someone else's life should be illegal". Essentially, I'd argue that the value of all these peoples lives is worth more than your "right" to own a gun.

But I don't think that way, lol.
Envisage
Posts: 3,646
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5/27/2014 2:01:50 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/27/2014 11:19:30 AM, tbhidc wrote:
First step, find the conclusion. This is easy to do. Usually the conclusion is the same as the title of the article, or the resolution of the debate.

Second step, find one of the premises that support this conclusion. Sometimes this is more tricky to do. You need to read between the lines sometimes.

Third step, fill in the missing premise if it isnt stated, so that it's a logically valid argument.

And voila. Your opponent's argument has never been easier to critique.

I have been doing this more and more recently, this awesome user named zmikecuber did it a lot and I quite like the way he did it, it works really well when your opponent's argument isn't clear... But looks prima facie plausible as an argument.... Until you uncover the unstated assumptions the argument makes which are often not sound.

It is especially a problem when one audience might make connections where you might not immediately make them yourself, one of the most apparent ones is the following:

"Abortion is wrong because murder is wrong"

You have

1. ???
2. ???
C. Abortion is wrong

Premise 2 is easy to fill in

1. ???
2. Murder is wrong
C. Abortion is wrong

Then to find the unstated premise:

1. Abortion is murder
2. Murder is wrong
C. Abortion is wrong

Where to an audience which already agrees with the unstated premise, they will see the argument with far greater agreement than one who does not make the immediate connection (preaching to the choir).

I used it extensively in my debate against intelligent design (in my signature), but I lost a lot of points because some voters thought I was strawmanning my opponent's argument :-/...
tbhidc
Posts: 84
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5/27/2014 3:40:41 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/27/2014 2:01:50 PM, Envisage wrote:
At 5/27/2014 11:19:30 AM, tbhidc wrote:
First step, find the conclusion. This is easy to do. Usually the conclusion is the same as the title of the article, or the resolution of the debate.

Second step, find one of the premises that support this conclusion. Sometimes this is more tricky to do. You need to read between the lines sometimes.

Third step, fill in the missing premise if it isnt stated, so that it's a logically valid argument.

And voila. Your opponent's argument has never been easier to critique.

I have been doing this more and more recently, this awesome user named zmikecuber did it a lot and I quite like the way he did it, it works really well when your opponent's argument isn't clear... But looks prima facie plausible as an argument.... Until you uncover the unstated assumptions the argument makes which are often not sound.

It is especially a problem when one audience might make connections where you might not immediately make them yourself, one of the most apparent ones is the following:

"Abortion is wrong because murder is wrong"

You have

1. ???
2. ???
C. Abortion is wrong

Premise 2 is easy to fill in

1. ???
2. Murder is wrong
C. Abortion is wrong

Then to find the unstated premise:

1. Abortion is murder
2. Murder is wrong
C. Abortion is wrong

Where to an audience which already agrees with the unstated premise, they will see the argument with far greater agreement than one who does not make the immediate connection (preaching to the choir).


Then they're voting off of their personal bias rather than the debate presented. And yes, I agree, this can sometimes backfire. Unfortunately, this seemed to backfire in my debate with Mikal, since I had conceded the minor premise.

Then, since they saw the major premise, and just agreed with it, the argument was sound in their minds. They didn't even mention the fact that I had argued against the major premise.

But this is a problem with the voters, not the method....

I used it extensively in my debate against intelligent design (in my signature), but I lost a lot of points because some voters thought I was strawmanning my opponent's argument :-/...

Yeah, it's hard sometimes to not look like you're straw-manning your opponent's argument, so I guess you have to give them the benefit of the doubt and really really make it as convincing sounding as possible.

Unfortunately, most people here don't understand basic logic though... which I hope to remedy by getting users together to write some stuff about logical fallacies as a stikied thread.

Would you be interested? I'm doing a section on categorical syllogisms, but I'd need someone to talk about hypothetical syllogisms, (which are valid and which are invalid) and disjunctive syllogisms (which are valid and which are invalid). PM me if you're interested.
Envisage
Posts: 3,646
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5/27/2014 4:07:54 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/27/2014 3:40:41 PM, tbhidc wrote:
At 5/27/2014 2:01:50 PM, Envisage wrote:
At 5/27/2014 11:19:30 AM, tbhidc wrote:
First step, find the conclusion. This is easy to do. Usually the conclusion is the same as the title of the article, or the resolution of the debate.

Second step, find one of the premises that support this conclusion. Sometimes this is more tricky to do. You need to read between the lines sometimes.

Third step, fill in the missing premise if it isnt stated, so that it's a logically valid argument.

And voila. Your opponent's argument has never been easier to critique.

I have been doing this more and more recently, this awesome user named zmikecuber did it a lot and I quite like the way he did it, it works really well when your opponent's argument isn't clear... But looks prima facie plausible as an argument.... Until you uncover the unstated assumptions the argument makes which are often not sound.

It is especially a problem when one audience might make connections where you might not immediately make them yourself, one of the most apparent ones is the following:

"Abortion is wrong because murder is wrong"

You have

1. ???
2. ???
C. Abortion is wrong

Premise 2 is easy to fill in

1. ???
2. Murder is wrong
C. Abortion is wrong

Then to find the unstated premise:

1. Abortion is murder
2. Murder is wrong
C. Abortion is wrong

Where to an audience which already agrees with the unstated premise, they will see the argument with far greater agreement than one who does not make the immediate connection (preaching to the choir).


Then they're voting off of their personal bias rather than the debate presented. And yes, I agree, this can sometimes backfire. Unfortunately, this seemed to backfire in my debate with Mikal, since I had conceded the minor premise.

Then, since they saw the major premise, and just agreed with it, the argument was sound in their minds. They didn't even mention the fact that I had argued against the major premise.

Yes, this really pissed me off... Half the people that voted Mikal completely ignored this important objection, which Mikal didn't really address at all.

But this is a problem with the voters, not the method....

I used it extensively in my debate against intelligent design (in my signature), but I lost a lot of points because some voters thought I was strawmanning my opponent's argument :-/...

Yeah, it's hard sometimes to not look like you're straw-manning your opponent's argument, so I guess you have to give them the benefit of the doubt and really really make it as convincing sounding as possible.

Unfortunately, most people here don't understand basic logic though... which I hope to remedy by getting users together to write some stuff about logical fallacies as a stikied thread.

Would you be interested? I'm doing a section on categorical syllogisms, but I'd need someone to talk about hypothetical syllogisms, (which are valid and which are invalid) and disjunctive syllogisms (which are valid and which are invalid). PM me if you're interested.