Think Again: How To Understand Arguments

Arguments are
  • a way to gain an understanding of your reasons and beliefs.
  • A way to express reasoning
  • Set of reasons for a conclusion.
  • Not verbal fights, abuse, complaints, disagreements.

“Argument is an intellectual process, where you express your opinion/view and give reasons for it.”

Purpose of arguments
  • To convince/persuade you (to buy something).
  • To give a reason/justification for your belief.
  • To explain something and to increase understanding.
    • Causal (cause)
    • Teleological (goal)
    • Formal
    • Material
Arguments are made out of language. Language is
  • Important
  • Social
  • Representational
  • Conventional
Language acts at three level
  • Linguistic - is just the utterance of a meaningful sentence.
  • Speech - occurs even if the intended effect does not occur.
  • Conversational - is the bringing about of an effect.

Linguistic Acts

  • Meaningful sentence using syntax and semantics of the language.

Speech Acts

  • Can be a promise or a threat.
The thereby test
If I say, “I <something>” then I thereby <something>.

Conversational Act

  • Is bringing about the intended effect, which is the standard effect of the speech act speaker is performing.
  • The effect has to occur for it be conversational act.

Conversational Maxims

  • Quantity - say the right amount, not too much, not too little
  • Quality - don’t say what you don’t believe or don’t have reason to believe
  • Relevant
  • Manner - be orderly, be brief, avoid obscurity, avoid ambiguity.