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Definitions of Basic Terms An argument is a set of statements one of which is being argued for on the basis of the others those others therefore being describable as the statements being argued from To argue for a statement is to present reasons for thinking that it is true to argue from one or more statements is to present them as reasons for thinking that another statement is true Note the word argument has a number of different meanings Here what we are talking about is good or bad pieces of reasoning not arguments in the sense of quarrels or fights The conclusion of an argument is the statement being argued for By convention arguments are thought of as containing just one conclusion each and note in oral or written presentations of arguments the conclusions are not necessarily presented at the end The premises of an argument are the statements being argued from Arguments can have any number of premises Its often assumed that every argument has to have exactly two premises but this is false Arguments can also have unstated premises arguments with unstated premises are called enthymemes Definitions of Evaluative Terms A lousy or crummy argument is an argument that is such that even if its premises are true its conclusion is no more likely to be true than false Lousy arguments admit of various degrees of lousiness The extreme cases are arguments such that if their premises
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