Talk:Argument

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Validity[edit]

I deleted the following example:

  • Some Greeks are logicians; therefore, some logicians are Greeks. Valid argument; it would be self-contradictory to admit that some Greeks are logicians but deny that some (any) logicians are Greeks.

The reason I deleted it is that it is an invalid argument for the following reasons: 1. All valid deductive arguments must have at least two premises. The above example has one. 2. To deny the argument's validity does not necessary say that it is denying that "any logicians are greek." Saying it is invalid is the denial that "some logicians are Greek." The reason being, it might be true that "All logicians are Greeks" instead of "any logicians are Greek." — Preceding unsigned comment added by Hateloveschool (talkcontribs) 15:58, 3 September 2015 (UTC)

Argument: Prevailing usage in logic[edit]

The prevailing use of the term argument in logic is that it (a) consists of one or more premises and a conclusion (b) the premises purport to support the conclusion (c) in the case of deductive argument, the premises are purported to entail the conclusion (d) Various terms are used in the literature when saying what the premises and the conclusion are including statements, sentences (by which are meant declarative or indicative sentences), propositions, claims. All authors agree that whichever terms they have used , they are referring to whatever it is they consider to be either true or false (i.e. truthbearers ).

The following citations from reliable sources are offered in evidence for the above:

  • The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, 2nd Ed. CUM, 1995: "Argument: a sequence of statements such that some of them (the premises) purport to give reason to accept another of them, the conclusion"; Stanford Enc. Phil., Classical Logic;
  • Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy."Argument", <http://www.iep.utm.edu/argument/>: "An argument is a connected series of statements or propositions, some of which are intended to provide support, justification or evidence for the truth of another statement or proposition. Arguments consist of one or more premises and a conclusion. The premises are those statements that are taken to provide the support or evidence; the conclusion is that which the premises allegedly support."
  • Standford Encyclopedia Of Philosophy, Informal Logic [1]: "The premises of a valid deductive argument guarantee the truth of the conclusion. If the premises are true, the conclusion cannot be false. Informal logic tends to categorize arguments in terms of a consequent distinction between "deductive" and "inductive" arguments (a distinction that Govier [1987] aptly calls "the great divide"). In contrast with valid deductive arguments, the premises of a good inductive argument render a conclusion only probable, leaving it possible that the premises are true and the conclusion false (identifying poor arguments as deductive or inductive is inherently problematic: perhaps it can best be said that poor deductive and inductive arguments are arguments that in some way approximate good deductive and inductive forms)."
  • Wesley Salman, Logic, PH 1963. pp 2,3 : "Arguments are often used to convince, and this is one of those important and legitimate function; however logic is not concerned with the persuasive power of argument. ..Roughly speaking, an argument is a conclusion standing in relation to its supporting evidence." More precisely, an argument is a group of statements standing in relation to each other. (Footnote: The term "statement" is used to refer to components of arguments because it is philosophically more neutral than alternatives such as "sentence" or "proposition". No technical definition of "statement is offered here, because any definition would raise controversies in the philosophy of language which need not trouble the beginner. More sophisticated readers may supply whatever technical definition seems most appropriate to them.) An argument consists of one statement which is the conclusion and one or more statements of supporting evidence. The statements of evidence are called "premises".
  • Mates, Elementary Logic, 1972, p 4, 5 ".. Logic investigates the relation of consequence that holds between the premises and the conclusion of a sound argument... By an argument we mean a system of declarative sentences(of a single language) one of which is designated as the conclusion and the other as premises...Sentences are usually classified as declarative, interrogative, imperative etc. Characteristic of declarative sentences is that they are true or false, and it is these that are of primary interest to the logician."
  • Jennifer Fisher, The Philosophy of Logic, 2008, p 6: "An argument ..is a set of sentences in which one or sentences are supposed to give some sort of support to another sentence." and p 24 14 "a set of sentences in which one sentence (sentences) is (are) supposed to give some sort of support to another sentence."
  • Anthony Harrison-Barbet, Mastering Philosophy, p 13: "In an argument we pass from one or more propositions called premises to another proposition called the conclusion"
  • LTF Gamit, Logic Language and Meaning, 1991, p 1 "For our purposes it is convenient to see an argument as a sequence of sentences, with the premises at the beginning and the conclusion at the end of the argument." p 6 "An argument is composed of indicative sentences. It does not contain any questions, for example."
  • Barwise & Ethcmendy, Language Proof and Logic, 1999, page 42: "..an arguments is any series of statement in which one (called the conclusion) is meant to follow from, or be supported by the others (called the premises)"
  • Sybil Wolfram, Philosophical Logic, 1989: p 10 "An argument is generally said to be valid if the conclusion follows from the premises" p 276 "Sentence: (varied usage) here used of series of words bounded by full stops etc"; p 33 "A meaningful declarative sentence is, as a first approximation, one which could express a truth (convey information)
  • Ian Hacking, A concise Introduction to Logic, Random House, NY; 1972, pp 5,6: "We can divide an argument into two parts. There is the part that states the conclusion and the part that gives the reasons. Statements giving reasons are called (27) PREMISES/CONCLUSION. The (28)_______________ give reasons for the (29)______________"
  • Ralph Johnson's Manifest Rationality: A pragmatic theory of argument (2000) "One view of argument sees it as a set of statements, (propositions, assertions, beliefs, and judgments), one of which, the conclusion, is supported by the others — the premises. A definition of this sort can be found in every kind of logic text, whether deductive or inductive, formal or informal. }}
  • The Oxford Companion to Philosophy (Honderich, 1995)p 47 : "In the most important sense for philosophy an argument is a complex consisting of a set of propositions (called its premises) and a proposition (called its conclusion). You can use an argument by asserting its premises and drawing or inferring its conclusion"

---

These are all definitions of a particular kind (the structural kind), which are not exhaustive - and not "uses".
Re: Salman:
'"logic is not concerned with the persuasive power of argument"
but it is sometimes concerned with the persuasive purpose of argument, as I have documented above. Never mind that every field that studies and uses argument (including logic) depends on this purpose and power.
I have reason to doubt the completeness of your citations. You have left out, for example, an additional "definition" from your second source, the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
"In philosophy, “arguments” are those statements a person makes in the attempt to convince someone of something, or present reasons for accepting a given conclusion."
And you have left out this sentence from Johnson:
[T]he mere existence of discourse–reasoning in which a claim is in some fashion supported by others is not a sufficient condition, although it is a necessary one, for construing that discourse as an argument … argument has its structure (reasons in support of a thesis, or premises plus conclusion) because of the purpose it serves – rational persuasion.
And two sources he cites:
Nickerson, Reflections on reasoning (1986): "Here the term argument will be given a somewhat broader connotation than its strictly deductive one. It will be used to connote any set of assertions that is intended to support some conclusion or influence a person's belief" (p.68)
Johnson and Blair, Logical Self-Defense (1983), "By an argument we mean a collection of claims (or statements) whose purpose is to lay out a route which leads from the acceptance of some claims (the premises) to the acceptance of some other target claim (the conclusion)" (p.3)
What else have you left out in your selective reading and/or citing?
Here is another source that endeavours to go further than the structural definition, which I provided above but which you have also apparently not read:
Stephen Edelston Toulmin, The Uses of Argument (2003): Now arguments are produced for a variety of purposes. Not every argument is set out in formal defence of an outright assertion. But … It could, I think, be argued that this was in fact the primary function of arguments, and that the other uses, the other functions which arguments have for us, are in a sense secondary, and parasitic upon this primary justificatory use.
Again, none of these sources disagrees with you, Philogo. You're like the Tea Party Republicans in the U.S. – you can't take yes for an answer. My own personal views, as you know, are much more radical than any of these – they support world disclosing arguments, whose primary function isn't to persuade, but to suggest possibilities.
Even still, here's another source that I provided above, and which doesn't disagree with you regarding the prevailing definition of argument in logic textbooks, but which you must take account of if you are to properly assess and contribute to this article:
Bickenbach, et. al., Good Reasons for Better Arguments (1998): There are various ways to characterize arguments; we will discuss two of the simplest and least controversial of these. The first is the formal characterization: an argument is a collection of assertion, one of which is the conclusion and the rest of which are premises, all of which are expressed, and therefore interpreted, within a specific context. The second characterization is functional: an argument sets our reasons in favour of a claim that, it is presumed, stands in need of justification or evidence.
If the "prevailing use" (or rather, definition) of argument is found obviously to be lacking or one-sided by several other reliable sources, then is it not equally obvious that the so-called "reliable" sources you cite are lacking or one-sided?
"Dogmatic" is starting to sound generous to me.
Walkinxyz (talk) 03:39, 6 August 2011 (UTC)
The scientific method involves looking at evidence which might refute one's hypothesis, not in finding instances which confirm one's preconceived ideas. And in Wikipedia terms the topic includes all non-fringe parts of it. The topic is argument in logic and philosophy, not just formal arguments in mathematical logic. Personally |I see no reason to have a separate formal version of the topic as we already have a theorem article. Dmcq (talk) 10:43, 6 August 2011 (UTC)

Articles mustn't take sides, but should explain the sides, fairly and without bias. This applies to both what you say and how you say it. Wikipedia:Neutral point of view Other people have to be able to check that you didn't just make things up. This means that all quotations and any material challenged or likely to be challenged must be attributed to a reliable, published source using an inline citation. The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth—whether readers can check that material in Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source, not whether editors think it is true. Wikipedia:Verifiability

The thirteen citations I have provided, indicate that the prevailing use of the term argument in logic is that it (a) consists of one or more premises and a conclusion (b) the premises purport to support the conclusion (c) in the case of deductive argument, the premises are purported to entail the conclusion (d) Various terms are used in the literature when saying what the premises and the conclusion are including statements, sentences (by which are meant declarative or indicative sentences), propositions, claims. All authors agree that whichever terms they have used , they are referring to whatever it is they consider to be either true or false (i.e. truthbearers ).
None of the citations I have provided say that the premises and conclusion are necessarily claims, and none of them say that they may not be; none of them say that an argument is necessarily an attempt to persuade someone of something, and none of them say that they may not be; none of them say that an argument is necessarily made by a person, and none of them say that they may not be.
(Although my opinion of no account, it does not surprise me that the authors quoted do not require (although they do not disallow) that an argument is necessarily an attempt to persuade someone of something. To restrict arguments in this way would appear to disallow (i) an argument being given as example (ii) an argument being considered silently by one person – from a book perhaps (iii) an argument whose premises are hypotheses (d) an argument being put forward to persuade some of the falsity of the premises (iv) an argument being merely a set of sentences, perhaps generated by a computer. What would be the point of this restriction? Of course one can define a term however one likes, but in Wikipedia we must report how the term is as actually (not how we think it SHOULD be used) used as evidence by reliable sources.)
Other reliable sources may say something else, but I think thirteen citations are as much as you might reasonable expect from one editor!. If I have mis-quoted any author, please accept my apologies but assume good faith (as I assume yours). None of the citations are attempts to say everything that the cited authors have to say on the subject. I have been attempting to summarise the prevailing use of the term argument in logic; other uses may prevail in other disciplines.

With which of (a) to (d) above do editors authors disagree? Please to remember Wikipedia:Civility. — Philogos (talk) 20:27, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

I repeat, you are simply looking up examples of argument in formal logic. Confirmatory instances do not prove something if there are non-confirmatory instances. The topic is argument in philosophy and logic. Dmcq (talk) 21:15, 8 August 2011 (UTC)
I just had a look at your talk page and it looks like you originally set up an article logical argument but that it was merged with argument. It looks like you want this article to be based on mathematical logic rather than anything more fuzzy and language based. Would it perhaps be better to split the article, why was it merged in the first place? Dmcq (talk) 21:39, 8 August 2011 (UTC)
Actually I did not set up a page called "logical argument" - I am totally unfamiliar with that term. I think this article was at one time "argument (logic)" but title was changed to just "argument" on the grounds that its use in logic is the prevalent use. The idea of having TWO articles one for argument as used in logic (and philosophy) and another for other uses of "argument" was discussed at some time but abandoned. It has never been my idea to set up a page about the use of the term in mathematical logic. (articles on mathematical logic are maiantend by a diffent user group, Wikipedia:WikiProject Mathematics; this article is maintained by Wikipedia:WikiProject Logic part of Wikipedia:WikiProject Philosophy. In mathematical logic if the term is used at all it is more like likely to be to mean parameter. In fact arguments per se are but little discussed in logic because since the time of Aristotle logicians have concentrated on Logical form|arguments forms (or schema)]]. Since the nineteen century and the growth of interest in symbolic logc (now called mathematical logic), interest has centered on Logical truth. Proof theory Natural deduction rather than arguments and argument forms. Be all that as it may, I do not think there is a good reason to "split the article" for the following reason. If you look at points (a) though (d) (as requested) you will I think you will see that there is little there with which reliable sources, including those cited by Walkinxyz would disagree. The article could easily define an argument in a most inclusive way, reflecting that with which most authors concur. It could then discuss and state how they disagree. E.g. it might begin (and it’s just a suggestion)

"An argument consists of one or more premises and a conclusion in which the premises purport to support/give reasons for the conclusion. In the case of deductive argument, the premises are purported to entail the conclusion. Various terms are used in the literature when saying what the premises and the conclusion are including statements, sentences (by which are meant declarative or indicative sentences), propositions, claims. All authors agree that whichever term they have used, they are referring to whatever it is they consider to be either true or false (i.e. truthbearer. Some authors require that an argument is made (by a person) who claims that the premises are true in an attempt to persuade another person of the truth of the conclusion.

— Philogos (talk) 22:43, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

Okay so no split. The lead of an article should be accessible to as wide an audience as possible, in WP:TECHNICAL it recommends writing to one level below the target audience for the article. The lead should not start off with a formal definition. A formal definition can follow later on. WP:LEAD gives the general guidelines for writing the lead for an article. Dmcq (talk) 23:24, 8 August 2011 (UTC)
Agree with lead of an article should be accessible.. but it does not follow that The lead should not start off with a formal definition. The WP:TECHNICAL#lead section discusses this, and at WP:TECHNICAL##Add a concrete example gives as an recommend example, from the article verb:
A verb, from the Latin verbum meaning word, is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (bring, read, walk, run, learn), or a state of being (be, exist, stand).
which look pretty much like a formal definition to me, followed by an example. Do you think

"An argument consists of one or more premises and a conclusion in which the premises purport to support/give reasons for the conclusion. In the case of deductive argument, the premises are purported to entail the conclusion. Various terms are used in the literature when saying what the premises and the conclusion are including statements, sentences (by which are meant declarative or indicative sentences), propositions, claims. All authors agree that whichever term they have used, they are referring to whatever it is they consider to be either true or false (i.e. truthbearer. Some authors require that an argument is made (by a person) who claims that the premises are true in an attempt to persuade another person of the truth of the conclusion.

is too technical (agreed there is no example)? Do think it it more technical than. for example,

A verb, from the Latin verbum meaning word, is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (bring, read, walk, run, learn), or a state of being (be, exist, stand).

or

Extreme physical information (EPI) is a principle, first described and formulated in 1998[1] by B. Roy Frieden, Emeritus Professor of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona, that states, the precipitation of scientific laws can be derived through Fisher information, taking the form of differential equations and probability distribution functions.

In classical mechanics, momentum (pl. momenta; SI unit kg·m/s, or, equivalently, N·s) is the product of the mass and velocity of an object ().

Visual calculus by Mamikon Mnatsakanian (known as Mamikon) is an approach to solving a variety of integral calculus problems.[2] Many problems that would otherwise seem quite difficult yield to the method with hardly a line of calculation, often reminiscent of what Martin Gardner calls "aha! solutions" or Roger Nelsen a proof without words.[3][4]

In physics, a force is any influence that causes a free body to undergo a change in speed, a change in direction, or a change in shape. Force can also be described by intuitive concepts such as a push or pull that can cause an object with mass to change its velocity (which includes to begin moving from a state of rest), i.e., to accelerate, or which can cause a flexible object to deform.

In logic, the corresponding conditional of an argument (or derivation) is a material conditional whose antecedent is the conjunction of the argument's (or derivation's) premises and whose consequent is the argument's conclusion. An argument is valid if and only if its corresponding conditional is a logical truth. It follows that an argument is valid if and only if the negation of its corresponding conditional is a contradiction. The construction of a corresponding conditional therefore provides a useful technique for determining the validity of argument.

Philosophy is the rational[5] study of general subjects concerning which certainty cannot easily be established scientifically or by simple observation.

Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Common elements of music are pitch (which governs melody and harmony), rhythm (and its associated concepts tempo, meter, and articulation), dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture. The word derives from Greek μουσική (mousike; "art of the Muses").[6]

— Philogos (talk) 23:53, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

Philogo, once again, please see the Wikipedia philosophy style guide, which suggests that the first sentence identify the subject ontologically – i.e. what kind of thing it is. Each of your examples above does that ("word"; "principle"; "material conditional"; "approach"; "art"; etc.) except your own proposed definition of argument. To say that an argument "consists of" is to bypass saying what it is.

(Although you could say it is a "set" of things, that again bypasses the well-documented functional definition of argument. To quote Johnson again: "[A]rgument has its structure (reasons in support of a thesis, or premises plus conclusion) because of the purpose it serves – rational persuasion." You would not say that an automobile is a set of – or consists of – mechanical parts arranged in such a way that the wheels support the frame, the frame supports the body, the body supports… etc. You would say that it is "a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor.")

Therefore, to say that the kind of thing it is, is an "attempt to…" seems perfectly right to me. You could also say that it is "a statement or set of statements intended to support, justify or give evidence for a particular claim, conclusion or line of reasoning." And then proceed with a more technical definition. However, that would fall short of Johnson and Rowland's condition that:

[A] good definition [of argument] must stress both the function of argument and its rational nature: "The rational function of argument makes evaluation [i.e. whether it is persuasive or not according to particular criteria] a necessary component of any adequate theory of argument" (Rowland, 1987, p.150)

Note that their conditions are consistent with a definition of Logic as "the formal systematic study of the principles of valid inference and correct reasoning." (Not just strict technical "validity" but "valid inference".)

To restrict arguments in this way would appear to disallow (i) an argument being given as example (ii) an argument being considered silently by one person – from a book perhaps (iii) an argument whose premises are hypotheses (d) an argument being put forward to persuade some of the falsity of the premises (iv) an argument being merely a set of sentences, perhaps generated by a computer.

I think you are in fact wrong about each one of these points. (i) would merely be an example of a (perhaps hypothetical) attempt to persuade someone of something; (ii) would be the argument considered from the perspective of someone to whom the attempt is addressed ; (iii) would be an attempt to persuade someone that the hypotheses, if accepted, could plausibly lead one to accept the conclusion; (iv-1) (d?) would still be an attempt to persuade someone of something – no matter how self-contradictory; (iv-2) would necessarily be derivative of what an argument is in practice – and I would argue meet the structural conditions of an argument, but not the functional conditions, which are just as important.

All of the supposed exceptions that you name are, I think, reasonably compatible with the general definition provided currently ("an attempt to persuade someone of something.") I will point out that you will never produce a schematic definition of argument that agrees with every source (i.e. the sources that disconfirm an exclusively structural view of argument), and therefore you must generalize as we do when we define things.

Nor will all generalizations in every instance be applicable. (A car can also be taken variously as a planter for flowers, a status symbol, or a set piece in a film – but a car is still nonetheless a "a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers"). That doesn't make them inapplicable, it just makes them generally applicable. A logician like you may crave more, but there is no such absolute (even a "verifiable" one) when it comes to such a definition. Walkinxyz (talk) 03:42, 9 August 2011 (UTC)

Other reliable sources may say something else, but I think thirteen citations are as much as you might reasonable expect from one editor!

As I said, you have ignored additional material in your own cited sources. And it is not a war of numbers to persuade us – consensus is what rules here – but valid inference and correct reasoning. Full stop. Walkinxyz (talk) 04:44, 9 August 2011 (UTC)

Look at those fields. The thirteen sheep in the field to the left are all white. That shows that sheep are white. That's the sort of reasoning I see here. Dmcq (talk) 07:32, 9 August 2011 (UTC)
Its not a matter of reasoning: it is a matter of representing fairly, proportionately, and as far as possible without bias, all significant views that have been published by reliable sources as per Wikipedia:Neutral point of view. So do other editors think that
  • (1) the thirteen citations provided are from published reliable sources?
  • (2) Do they that the prevailing use of the term argument in logic is that

    it (a) consists of one or more premises and a conclusion (b) the premises purport to support the conclusion (c) in the case of deductive argument, the premises are purported to entail the conclusion (d) Various terms are used in the literature when saying what the premises and the conclusion are including statements, sentences (by which are meant declarative or indicative sentences), propositions, claims. All authors agree that whichever terms they have used , they are referring to whatever it is they consider to be either true or false (i.e. truthbearers ).

  • (3) Does the following form of words follow and reflect that consensus:

    "An argument consists of one or more premises and a conclusion in which the premises purport to support/give reasons for the conclusion. In the case of deductive argument, the premises are purported to entail the conclusion. Various terms are used in the literature when saying what the premises and the conclusion are including statements, sentences (by which are meant declarative or indicative sentences), propositions, claims. All authors agree that whichever term they have used, they are referring to whatever it is they consider to be either true or false (i.e. truthbearer. Some authors require that an argument is made (by a person) who claims that the premises are true in an attempt to persuade another person of the truth of the conclusion.

  • (4) Are the views if the other reliable sources provided by the other editors at variance with 2 & 3 above?
with regard to the word "consists" in above passages, it is easily replaced by "is" as

"An argument is one or more premises and a conclusion in which the premises purport to support/give reasons for the conclusion. In the case of deductive argument, the premises are purported to entail the conclusion. Various terms are used in the literature when saying what the premises and the conclusion are including statements, sentences (by which are meant declarative or indicative sentences), propositions, claims. All authors agree that whichever term they have used, they are referring to whatever it is they consider to be either true or false (i.e. truthbearer. Some authors require that an argument is made (by a person) who claims that the premises are true in an attempt to persuade another person of the truth of the conclusion.

— Philogos (talk) 12:57, 9 August 2011 (UTC)
The article starts "In philosophy and logic,...". This section is however titled "Argument: Prevailing usage in logic". Why the disparity? Dmcq (talk) 17:30, 9 August 2011 (UTC)
The cap was "In logic" but Walkinxyz changed it to In philosophy and logic,...". If you like you can take the section heading here to be "Argument: Prevailing usage in logic and philosophy" . I was rather hoping you would reply to my "So do other editors think that .." above. Reason: If the article is to be written from a neutral point of view then it must fairly, proportionately, and as far as possible without bias, all significant views that have been published by reliable sources. This policy is non-negotiable and all editors and articles must follow it. To this end I am seeking to discover that with which all or reliable sources concur. I think the concurrence is great and the divergence is small, but I seek YOUR (and other editor's) view on that, with achieving consensus in mind. — Philogos (talk) 01:48, 11 August 2011 (UTC)

Its not a matter of reasoning: it is a matter of representing fairly, proportionately, and as far as possible without bias, all significant views that have been published by reliable sources as per Wikipedia:Neutral point of view.

In my opinion the current definition achieves that goal, and more importantly, does it while communicating to the general reader in clear terms what is important about the subject, which is the job of an encyclopedia. Your questions above don't really seem to touch this issue, though you do seem to be quite worried about the definition for some reason that isn't clear to me. I should point out, for the sake of being as helpful as possible, that our article is not a review of definitions. If you want to write one, you could do worse than to start with Johnson. His is the only reliable review of definitions of argument that I know.
Walkinxyz (talk) 06:19, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
This whole section is only really applicable to a subsection about argument in logic which can then be summarized in the lead which clearly states the topic is argument in philosophy and logic. What is the point in persisting in posting wadges of references for the wrong thing? Dmcq (talk) 11:32, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
Be that as it may, do you and other editors think that
  • (1) the thirteen citations provided are from published reliable sources?
  • (2) Do they that the prevailing use of the term argument in logic is that

    it (a) consists of one or more premises and a conclusion (b) the premises purport to support the conclusion (c) in the case of deductive argument, the premises are purported to entail the conclusion (d) Various terms are used in the literature when saying what the premises and the conclusion are including statements, sentences (by which are meant declarative or indicative sentences), propositions, claims. All authors agree that whichever terms they have used , they are referring to whatever it is they consider to be either true or false (i.e. truthbearers ).

  • (3) Does the following form of words follow and reflect that consensus:

    "An argument consists of one or more premises and a conclusion in which the premises purport to support/give reasons for the conclusion. In the case of deductive argument, the premises are purported to entail the conclusion. Various terms are used in the literature when saying what the premises and the conclusion are including statements, sentences (by which are meant declarative or indicative sentences), propositions, claims. All authors agree that whichever term they have used, they are referring to whatever it is they consider to be either true or false (i.e. truthbearer. Some authors require that an argument is made (by a person) who claims that the premises are true in an attempt to persuade another person of the truth of the conclusion.

  • (4) Are the views if the other reliable sources provided by the other editors at variance with 2 & 3 above?
with regard to the word "consists" in above passages, it is easily replaced by "is" as

"An argument is one or more premises and a conclusion in which the premises purport to support/give reasons for the conclusion. In the case of deductive argument, the premises are purported to entail the conclusion. Various terms are used in the literature when saying what the premises and the conclusion are including statements, sentences (by which are meant declarative or indicative sentences), propositions, claims. All authors agree that whichever term they have used, they are referring to whatever it is they consider to be either true or false (i.e. truthbearer. Some authors require that an argument is made (by a person) who claims that the premises are true in an attempt to persuade another person of the truth of the conclusion.

— Philogos (talk) 12:09, 11 August 2011 (UTC)

Plus I would have some objection even if the topic was logic rather than formal logic. Wikipedia is an encyclopaedia and the lead should explain the subject for someone who has not had any training in the subject and is just looking it up. One should always aim one level down. The formal definitions can be left to a section of the article, for instance many maths articles have a 'Definition' section and describe the topic more loosely in the lead. This is described in WP:TECHNICAL and WP:LEAD. For instance in Exponential function the formal definition is given in the second section down after overview. And even so I'd guess some people think the start and overview are too technical for the target audience. Theorem might be a better model here, it is after all just the maths name for the same idea, and there anything formal is left to the end. Dmcq (talk) 12:11, 11 August 2011 (UTC)

References

  1. ^ Frieden, B. Roy Physics from Fisher Information: A Unification , 1st Ed. Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-63167-X, pp328, 1998 ([ref name="Frieden6"] shows 2nd Ed.)
  2. ^ Visual Calculus Mamikon Mnatsakanian
  3. ^ Nelsen, Roger B. (1993). Proofs without Words, Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780883857007.
  4. ^ Martin Gardner (1978) Aha! Insight, W.H. Freeman & Company; ISBN 0-7167-1017-X
  5. ^ Anthony Quinton, in T. Honderich (ed.), The Oxford Companion to Philosophy (Oxford University Press, 1995), p. 666: "Philosophy is rationally critical thinking, of a more or less systematic kind about the general nature of the world (metaphysics or theory of existence), the justification of belief (epistemology or theory of knowledge), and the conduct of life (ethics or theory of value). Each of the three elements in this list has a non-philosophical counterpart, from which it is distinguished by its explicitly rational and critical way of proceeding and by its systematic nature. Everyone has some general conception of the nature of the world in which they live and of their place in it. Metaphysics replaces the unargued assumptions embodied in such a conception with a rational and organized body of beliefs about the world as a whole. Everyone has occasion to doubt and question beliefs, their own or those of others, with more or less success and without any theory of what they are doing. Epistemology seeks by argument to make explicit the rules of correct belief formation. Everyone governs their conduct by directing it to desired or valued ends. Ethics, or moral philosophy, in its most inclusive sense, seeks to articulate, in rationally systematic form, the rules or principles involved."
  6. ^ Mousike, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, at Perseus

Prevailing use of "Argument" in logic continued[edit]

Do other editors think that
  • (1) the thirteen citations provided above are from published reliable sources?
  • (2) the thirteen citations provided above indicate that the prevailing use of the term argument in logic is that

    it (a) consists of one or more premises and a conclusion (b) the premises purport to support the conclusion (c) in the case of deductive argument, the premises are purported to entail the conclusion (d) Various terms are used in the literature when saying what the premises and the conclusion are including statements, sentences (by which are meant declarative or indicative sentences), propositions, claims. All authors agree that whichever terms they have used , they are referring to whatever it is they consider to be either true or false (i.e. truthbearers ).

  • (3) Does the following form of words follow and reflect that consensus:

An argument is one or more premises and a conclusion in which the premises purport to support/give reasons for the conclusion. In the case of deductive argument, the premises are purported to entail the conclusion. Some authors require that an argument is made (by a person) who claims that the premises are true in an attempt to persuade another person of the truth of the conclusion.

Various terms are used in the literature when saying what the premises and the conclusion are including statements, sentences (by which are meant declarative or indicative sentences), propositions, claims. All authors agree, however, that whichever term they have used, they are referring to whatever it is they consider to be either true or false (i.e. truthbearer.

  • (4) Are the views if the other reliable sources provided by the other editors at variance with 2 & 3 above?

— Philogos (talk) 12:09, 11 August 2011 (UTC)

There are very many textbooks perhaps most, all reliable sources, that define the exponential function by the first series in Exponential function#Formal definition
As shown in Characterizations of the exponential function this is equivalent to the other definitions in that section which are also given by many different reliable sources.
And yet the article starts off with "In mathematics, the exponential function is the function ex, where e is the number (approximately 2.718281828) such that the function ex is its own derivative", which is also reliably sourced but is not any of the definitions in the 'Formal definition' section. It is close to another of the definitions given later on but not complete. In fact it would have been more accessible if it had simply talked of being that constant exponentiated to the power x, however exponentiation to the power of a real number is normally deined in terms of the exponential function so that would have caused a circular loop. There was no easy way to get a compromise between the formalists wishing to avoid a loop and the people wanting an accessible article there so you'll notice there is no reference to exponentiation in the lead even though it is obvious there should be one. Does any of this make sense to you? Do you think the first line of that article should have given the power series above like some people wanted? Dmcq (talk) 13:04, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
I think you've both done an impressive amount of research and it shows in the article. Philogo, I think you're precision really comes through in what you have here. I find myself pausing naturally at each point, assimilating and relating it with the prior points, proceeding to the next... I think students, especially, would appreciate such a methodical treatment in a section of the article. Walkinxyz's lede reads much easier, it ushers the reader briskly into the article, drawing attention to all the major points of interest along the way. It seems like a question of how to keep moving forward after an intense development cycle, with outstanding results having been achieved thus far.—Machine Elf 1735 16:35, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, ME. Let's think about how to bring everything in the rest of the article to a standard that can recommend itself for such an important subject. Walkinxyz (talk) 02:18, 13 August 2011 (UTC)

"Other Kinds"[edit]

The entire section of the entry entitled "Other kinds" is erroneous. The susbection "logical status" is especially confused. For example: "Argument does not belong to logic, because it is connected to a real person, a real event, and a real effort to be made." The science of logic is, quite simply, the science of any and all inferential thought (and it therefore governs both argumentative reasoning and any and all non-argumentative reasoning). The whole reason logic is so important is because it directly pertains to any and all "real persons, real events, and real efforts to be made." The author of this now-contested section (and I am hereby contesting it and arguing for its deletion, and I am fully prepared to publicly back up all my claims) appears to have it in his/her head that logic only deals with "the abstract" in some weird way that has abstract matters magically failing to pertain to specific or "concrete" scenarios. Anyone who holds that has categorically failed to understand what a universal quantifier is and does and, for that matter, what an existential quantifier is and does. The author of the section gets factually wrong: (1) what an argument is (to be an argument, by definition, just means to be an attempted proof of something, be that by deductive standards of entailment or by nondeductive standards of probability) (2) what logic is (logic is the study of inferential reasoning and the objective standards by which any and all such reasoning is either inferentially good ("valid"/"strong") or inferentially bad ("invalid"/"weak")). Because of these two factual errors, I suspect, the author then goes on to infer that there can be such a thing as argument outside the domain of logic. That is just false...ask any actual logician at any serious four-year college or university. You'll see (I know this for a fact principally because I happen to be one, and I'll be happy to provide my credentials and full name to the editors of this page upon request).

EDIT: I keep getting a false positive issue with the software, so I can't complete my post yet, but what I was trying to do is give another example of the factual errors in the subsection "Other Kinds." At any rate, I contend the entire subsection ought to be deleted (the errors in it are just too fundamental for anything in there to be rescuable).

Sparky Macgillicuddy (talk) 20:51, 27 May 2015 (UTC)

Hello. You likely got an edit-conflict, which frequently happens when you make multiple small edits in a row, because it makes it difficult for other people to respond and the software cannot reconcile the difference. To avoid this, you might consider using a word processor or similar software to compose your comments and copy-paste them here when you're ready. You should be aware that Wikipedia has neither the desire nor the ability to verify the expertise of editors. This is why articles are based on reliable sources. This is a collaborative project which is built by many editors, so rather than speculate on the motives and perspectives of a single hypothetical author of this article, it would be better to use reliable, verifiable sources (not just your own expertise, but something that can be independently confirmed, such as a published paper, a reputable web site, etc.) to make changes yourself. Please see. Wikipedia:Expert editors, but succinctly, any edits you make will generally be held to the same standard as any other anonymous editor. Thanks. Grayfell (talk) 20:55, 27 May 2015 (UTC)
(Actually it looks like they tripped an edit filter, I think that's what they meant by false positive.) — Jeraphine Gryphon (talk) 21:00, 27 May 2015 (UTC)
Oh, good catch. Nevermind, then. Grayfell (talk) 21:11, 27 May 2015 (UTC)
Yep, that's exactly what I meant. Thanks, Jeraphine Gryphon. Sparky Macgillicuddy (talk) 01:18, 28 May 2015 (UTC)

So, I tried to go ahead and delete that section on my own, but ClueBot said that was a no-no, and after reading the rules, I see why. I would, however, like to complete my argument in favor of deleting all of "Other Kinds." let me try that to see if I get another false positive on tripping a filter:

Here's another example of serious confusion from the subsection "logical status": "The value of the argument is connected [...] The argument is not logical, but profitable." Nothing in the cited section is correct. First error: neither of the two sentences the author cites are even arguments! I mean, that's just a huge, huge error right there. They're simple conditionals, and conditionals are not arguments.[1] Furthermore, the author implicitly assumes (incorrectly again) that logic only pertains to inferences that people care about. Logic is about entailment and probability, period. It is about any case or purported case of an entailment relation or probability relation between any propositions. It really doesn't matter whether anyone cares about those entailment/probability relations or not.

The reference made to Charles Taylor was correct in its account of what Taylor held. I suppose I can give the entry credit for that lone virtue. Still, even there the author gets factually wrong what a transcendental argument does. Transcendental arguments are very simple species of deductive arguments; they just happen to have premises for which rational indispensibility is claimed.

Accordingly, I contend the entire section "Other Kinds" should be struck.Sparky Macgillicuddy (talk) 01:41, 28 May 2015 (UTC)

Okay, Wikipedia says to be bold, so dagnabbit I'm going to be bold. I'm going in there and reverting the whole article back to what Philogo originally had, which is, in my judgment, much, much better than what Walkinxyz came up with. If anyone thinks I'm wrong in doing this, by all means: please try and exaplin to me how there can be, in philosophy and logic such a thing as a "nonlogical argument" whereby the domain of arguments somehow magically exceeds the domain of logic. It certainly is true that there are some arguments the strength or weakness of which is not readily formalizable in any of the current formal systems, but so what?? That just shows that either (1) the currently developed formal systems need further enrichment in order to capture, for instance, what goes on in analogical arguments, or (2) some arguments can only be accurately expressed in informal logic (which is STILL logic, of course, even according to guys like Johnson).

Two changes I will make in what Philogo did, though, are as follows:

  1. analogical arguments are not "arguments from the particular to the particular." That old Aristotelian stuff about generality and particularity is long since refuted. I can make analogical arguments about universal claims all day long, no sweat. For example, the main character in the show Lilyhammer gave a hilariously rude analgoical argument to his girlfriend's kid: [paraphrasing] "Women are like food. They're a man's reward for a long day's work." Now that's rude in a way that only a New York mob guy can be rude, I'd say, but it also is an argument by analogy, and all its claims are universal (rules under which relevant instances are subsumed). The fact that it's a weak analogy in no way affects its status as such an argument. Just check Patrick Hurley's standard, standard logic book on this, A Concise Introduction to Logic. The relevant section is on page 35 in my 10th edition volume.
  2. I'm going to try to work a compromise between the formalists' bent as so admirably seen in Philog and the desire for a more immediately accessible (but still accurate) definition of an argument, but I want to do one that doesn't introduce all the errors, inaccuracies, and distortions I see from Walkinxyz.

If folks wish to debate any of the changes I'm aking, I'll be very happy to engage them (civilly, but without backing away from correcting outright errors of fact). Sparky Macgillicuddy (talk) 17:45, 28 May 2015 (UTC)

2011 version proposed by User:Sparky Macgillicuddy: [2]
2015 current version: [3]
I believe the current version is better, since it has 19 reliable sources, compared to just 3 on Sparky's version. Also, there hasn't been an actually good reason why the 2011 version is better, apart from they didn't like @Walkinxyz:'s edits in late 2011. Joseph2302 (talk) 18:37, 28 May 2015 (UTC)
Also, Wikipedia says that if reverted you should discuss the issues. The issues are that I see no reason why removal of any of this content is in any way appropriate. There was a talkpage consensus to add it in 2011, and no reason why it should be deleted now. WP:IDONTLIKEIT isn't a real reason. Joseph2302 (talk) 18:40, 28 May 2015 (UTC)

Buddy, I keep trying to respond to you, but your changes, even to this talk page, keep blocking me from saying anything. How am I supposed to defend my contentions if I am not permitted to speak??

The 19 sources in the current version are not all reliable; the IEP in particular is deeply UNreliable as a source, so unreliable that I forbid my students at college from using it and instead make them use plato.stanford.edu, which has entries on argument, formal logic, and informal logic that are abudantly clear and wholly accurate (because everything there is written by invitation by the world's top experts in the relevant fields).

If, over the next few days or week, I am permitted to make my case, I will gladly and enthusiastically do so. If I keep getting blocked even from speaking on the Talk page by editing conflicts, though, I'll just walk away from here in the same way so many of us professional academics do when we get shouted down and reference-warred by people who don't understand the subject. And then I'll give my students at college the same old warning that so many do: "Never trust Wikipedia; too much of what it contains is just false." And it is. Sparky Macgillicuddy (talk) 18:48, 28 May 2015 (UTC)

I disagree entirely with what you're doing. On your talkpage, you said "You should know, though, that that page is seriously, seriously messed up. What we have there right now is work by a non-logician trying to teach the rest of us the nature of logic and argument." I believe that's not true, just because you claim to be an expert, the article shouldn't be about only what you want to focus on. It also won't be solved by you reverting to a strictly worse version. The version you're reverting to is almost identical to the current version, except for the fact that it's basically unsourced. I'm willing to let you look for sources, so long as you stop reverting back to an inferior version of the page. WP:3RR says you shouldn't revert more than 3 times in 24 hours though. Joseph2302 (talk) 18:53, 28 May 2015 (UTC)
Also, edit conflicts aren't my fault, if you ask questions then I'm going to respond. Joseph2302 (talk) 18:54, 28 May 2015 (UTC)

I am sorry for responding to your qualms on the talk page on my user account, but like I said, I am brand new to Wikipedia (*yesterday*) and am having a rough climb on its learning curve. I AM trying to climb it, but I'm also confident my progress will not be instantaneous; please try to bear with me on this, as this way of writing things is entirely new to me.

Here's an idea: is there some tidy, unobtrusive way I can take a copy of this latest page, the older page that I say is more factually accurate, and use both to come up with a proposed new revision (one that I would be very happy to submit to admins for review before publishing, mind you--we do that as a routine matter in philosophy). That way I can make my case and provide my sources, but still do so without having anyone jump in and block my proposed changes before I finish writing them. Can that be done?

Also, what are the specific criteria by which the older page is judged to be "strictly worse?" The content between the two contested pages is NOT the same at all, I can assure you of that. Is it just a simple, straightforward question of number of sources??? I mean, if that's all you want, I can provide indefinitely many of those (but, then, so could a flat Earther). What are the criteria by which sources are judged reliable? Sparky Macgillicuddy (talk) 18:56, 28 May 2015 (UTC)

Yes, you can take a copy of the article into your sandbox(es)- you can create sandboxes in your userspace, for example User:Macgillicuddy/sandbox, User:Macgillicuddy/sandbox2 etc... There you can work on it without affecting the main article, and hopefully that would also give other people time to weight in their opinions as well.
And I'm sorry for being annoyed, but one of my pet hates is having discussions in 3 different places- I like it being in 1 place if possible.
Mainly my complaint is the number of sources, and also I don't like mass reversions of content without a discussion to do so. I also think that for most readers, the other version is easier to understand, mainly becauseit is less theoretical, and has more examples that can be understood. Joseph2302 (talk) 19:04, 28 May 2015 (UTC)

Thank you. I've sandboxed copies of both pages for now, and I think I easily can address your concerns about:

  1. references
  2. clear examples
  3. accessibility

The current page is not a good page, and I disagree with your claim that it is less theoretical. It is less technical, certainly, but its theoretical underpinnings are no fewer and actually much more confused than Philogo's. But that is an assertion I'll have to substantiate for you and other admins over the next week or so, of course, so I'll save all my powder for the revision process.Sparky Macgillicuddy (talk) 19:12, 28 May 2015 (UTC)

  1. ^ Patrick Hurley, A Concise Introduction to Logic'; see esp. ch 1, subsection 1.2 on arguments vs. nonarguments