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Copi, in his Introduction to Logic, defines an argument as a "group of propositions of which one, the conclusion, is claimed to follow from the others, which are premises." In his book, Critical Thinking, Richard Epstein provides the following definition of argument: " An argument is a collection of statements, one of which is called the conclusion whose truth the argument attempts to establish; the others are called the premises, which are supposed to lead to, or support, or convince that the conclusion is true." To understand "argument," it necessary to understand the terms, "proposition" or "statement," the purpose of arguments, and the relationship of premises and conclusions in an argument.Warning: The different meanings of "argument" I made reference earlier to the everyday understanding of argument as a shouting match, dispute, or quarrel, and indicated that our definition of argument is different.
Sometimes people try to persuade by manipulating language in a variety of ways, such as, through threats and flattery, or by calling people names that have powerful emotional associations, or phrases that insinuate or suggest claims. Arguments can be distinguished from these other types of persuasion because they provide reasons for accepting the conclusion.
For now, note that this proposition is NOT saying that both events (Andre comes to the party and Susan will stay at home.) will occur.
Rather it is making a single proposition about the relationship of the two parts, namely that if one thing happens the other will happen too. It's just his or her opinion." The statement above is one commonly made by students in a critical thinking class.
Our views about religion, the best form of government, what constitutes the virtuous life, the meaning of works of art, literature, and music, can all be classified as "opinions." If such statements are not propositions, then they are not true or false, and there is no need to offer reasons in support of them.
In this course, we will not dismiss beliefs which people accept, though without certainly, as mere opinions.