Monday, November 8, 2010

Logic Principles: Arguments and Explanations

Argument                                         vs.                   Explanation
Wants us to believe the claim                                Wants us to know more about the subject

Gives us evidence (relevant reasons)                   Answers the questions: how? and/or

Purpose: To justify or prove                                   Purpose: To educate, to answer how?
  and/or why?

Audience: Skeptic                                                   Audience: anyone needing information

I went to sleep early.  I wanted to feel ready for the party.

He was a great runner.  He won the marathon.

Distinguishing between Arguments and Explanations
1.    Decide what the claim or conclusion is

2.    Decide whether the remaining claims are designed (1) to convince a skeptical listener or (2) to teach someone more about the topic.


Arg: I bought some candy at half price today.  This is the receipt.
Expl: I bought some candy at half price today.  I had a sweet tooth.

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