Premise & Conclusion Applied

Instructor: JY

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Let’s take a look at a real argument.

All dogs are adorable. Fluffers is a dog. Therefore, Fluffers is adorable.

How do we know this is an argument?  Because it has all the elements of an argument. It’s got a premise and it’s got a conclusion, which is the definition of an argument.

The next question is how do we know that it’s got a premise and a conclusion?  By appealing to the definitions of premise and conclusion.

Premise: gives support
Conclusion: receives support

Here we have three sentences:

  1. All dogs are adorable.
  2. Fluffers is a dog
  3. Therefore, Fluffers is adorable.

Sentences (1) and (2) are separately premise 1 and premise 2.  Sentence (3) is the conclusion.  Sentences 1 and 2 support the conclusion.

How do we know this?  Well, at bottom, I have to appeal to your intuition.  I have to say something like, “Why would you believe that Fluffers is adorable?"

You: Well, I know Fluffers is a dog.
Me: Okay, but how’s that relevant?
You: Well, it’s relevant because all dogs are adorable.

So you see, statements (1) and (2) give you the reason to believe that statement (3) is true. Now we’re starting to unpack the definition of the word “support.”  Reason to believe that something is true.

On the LSAT, you should expect sentences and arguments that are much more complicated, convoluted, longer, and less clearly delineated by the use of periods and line breaks than these three sentences or this argument here. However, the fundamental theory of it all doesn’t change. What a premise is, what it does.  What a conclusion is, what it does.  That doesn’t change.

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