If an argument is poor, you'd be better off tossing a coin to see if the conclusion is correct, which is far from offering grounds for a conclusion. If the conclusion is unlikely to be true even if the premises are true, the argument is weak. A strong argument will always lead to a true conclusion given true premises, and a weak argument may or may not lead to a true conclusion depending on how they fit together.
There are several ways to identify weaknesses in arguments. You can look at the argument structure. Are the premises leading up to the conclusion supported by evidence? Is there a clear link between the premises and the conclusion? That is, does the argument make sense? If you cannot understand what the argument is trying to tell you, it is difficult to evaluate its strength. You can also consider the credibility of its author. Is the person willing to stand by their work? Does that work follow logically from what they say they believe? Finally, you can ask yourself questions about what would happen if the premise were false. For example, "If my friend did not love me, he would not keep inviting me over to eat with him every week." By asking yourself this question, you can determine whether the argument is valid and whether its conclusion follows necessarily from its premises.
When evaluating arguments, it is important to remember that the goal is not to find flaws but to help you think more critically.
A strong argument is a non-deductive argument that provides plausible but not convincing logical justification for its conclusion. A non-deductive argument that fails to give plausible evidence for its conclusion is referred to as a weak argument. However, if a weak argument does provide evidence in its favor, it can still be useful.
The three main types of arguments are inductive, deductive, and probabilistic. Inductive arguments conclude based on examples from experience or statistics. Deductive arguments prove their conclusion by applying definitions to known facts. Probabilistic arguments describe possible outcomes of events and use reasoning to determine which result most likely occurred. These arguments say something like "There is a 70% chance that it will rain tomorrow," rather than "Therefore, it will rain tomorrow."
Arguments can also be classified by how they are formed: syllogisms, definitions, conjectures, opinions, etc. Syllogisms are sets of statements called premises that lead to a statement called a conclusion. The term "syllogism" comes from the Greek word for "a turning into"; thus, a syllogism is a set of propositions (statements) that turns into another proposition (statement). Every argument contains one or more syllogisms. Some common forms of arguments are categorical arguments, which only use two kinds of premises, such as "All cats are animals. Dogs are animals.
A strong argument is a non-deductive argument that provides plausible but not convincing logical justification for its conclusion. A non-deductive argument that fails to give plausible evidence for its conclusion is referred to as a weak argument.
Post hoc refers to something that happens or is done after an event, especially when there is a mistaken belief that the event has a logical link with the actions that come after it. Until I got new sneakers, our team was losing.
A counter-argument that weakens the argument might directly invalidate the assumptions. Any response that states that the assumption is erroneous weakens the case. Any new information supplied in an answer option that makes the assumption less likely to be valid weakens the entire argument. A response that ignores the question completely or provides information unrelated to the argument may also be considered a weakness of the argument.
An example of an argument that weakens itself is as follows: "All men are mortal; Socrates is a man; therefore, Socrates is mortal." This argument assumes that all men are mortal and that Socrates is a man. Both assumptions can be called into question so the argument cannot be concluded from these two statements alone. However, if evidence were to come out later showing both of these assumptions to be false then the argument would fail.
Weak arguments are common in philosophy because many arguments depend on one or more other arguments for their conclusion. If those other arguments are not strong enough themselves then they cannot be used to support the original argument. For example, if my argument for something being red depends on the argument that everything that is red is a fruit then you cannot use that last argument to prove that something is not a fruit - unless you can first prove that things that are not fruits are not red.
A selection can only do three functions: Top tip: Don't go overboard! "Strengthen" does not imply "prove," and "weak" does not imply "disprove." It is not necessary to demolish an argument in order to weaken it; simply making the conclusion less likely to follow from the facts is sufficient. For example, saying that all swans are white eliminates any possibility that this particular black swan might be a white one.
Arguments can be strengthened by providing more information about what we know already, by arguing directly from the facts rather than from reason alone, and by using logic and reason. An argument can also be weakened by raising doubts as to its premises or conclusions, by pointing out possible flaws in an argument's logic, and so on.
Overall, then, the best way to strengthen or weaken an argument is by showing how it applies to the case at hand. For example, if you want to strengthen the argument "All swans are white, so this must be a white swan," you would need to find some other things that are common to both animals and build your argument around these similarities.
Finally, an argument can be completely undermined by showing that it doesn't apply in the case at hand. For example, if it was argued that all swans are white, but this particular swan is not, then the argument would fail because it was based on an incorrect assumption.
If the question necessitates a strengthening or weakening of the argument, we shall examine its assumptions. The assumption will either support or contradict the argument in order to strengthen it. If the assumption is contrary to the conclusion, it will weaken the argument; if not, it will strengthen it.
For example, let's say that I were to argue that trees should be allowed to grow tall because otherwise there would be no space for humans to live. In order for this argument to be valid, three things must be true: 1 all other factors being equal, taller trees make more space available for people 2 all other factors are not equal 3 Taller trees are not equal to having more space made available for people.
Now, suppose one of these assumptions is actually false. For example, suppose that some extremely short trees were shown to produce more food than normal-height trees. This would contradict hypothesis number two and therefore weaken my argument significantly.
Hypothesis number three is also important. We need to know whether or not taller trees mean that there is more space made available for people. If yes, then our argument is strengthened; if not, then it is weakened.