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Welcome to week two. In week one, we talked about language in general.

This week, we want to talk about how language is used in one particular context, namely, the context of arguments. We need to understand the language of argument in order to be able to spot an argument, that is to determine when a passage contains an argument and what part of the passage is that argument. So, how can we tell when an argument is being given? Well, recall the definition of argument as a series of sentences, statements, or propositions, where some of there premises, and one of them's a conclusion, and the premises are intended to give a reason for the conclusion. So the real question of when an argument is being given comes down to the question of when certain sentences are intended as reasons for other sentences. Now the answer is that, we can tell a person's intentions when they're speaking by which words they choose. So there are going to be certain words that indicate that some sentences are reasons for others. Just compare these two sentences. I am tall and I good at sports. And compare that to; I am tall, so I am good at sports. Now notice that you can take the first sentence, I am tall and I am good at a sports, and switch it around, I am good at sports and I am tall. Switching doesn't make any difference. But it's very different if you say, I am tall, so I am good at sports. That's very different from, I'm good at sports, so I am tall. So we know from the fact that you can switch around the and sentence and you cannot switch around the so sentence. The word so introduces something very different from just conjoining the two claims. But then, what's the difference? Well, the difference is that when you use the word and, you're simply stating the two facts. I am tall. I am good at sports.

And the is they're both true. But when you use the word so, you're indicating that one of them is a reason for the other. If you say, I am tall, so I am good at sports, then you're suggesting that the reason why you're good at sports is that you're tall. But if you say, I'm good at sports, so I am tall. You're indicating that the fact that you're good at sports is some kind of evidence that you must be tall. Maybe because you can only be good at sports of you're tall, which isn't true. That just shows it's a bad argument. But it is an argument, because by using the word so, you're indicating that one of the sentences is the reason for the other. Of course the word so is not the only word that plays this role in arguments or has this function. You can also say, I am tall. Therefore, I am good at sports. I am tall. Thus, I am good at sports. Or I am tall. Hence, I am good at sports. Or I am tall. Accordingly, I am good at sports. All of these different pairs of sentences play the same role. They indicate that there's an argument there, namely, the fact that I am tall is a reason for the conclusion that I am good at sports. So, we're going to call all these words argument markers, because they mark or indicate the presence of an argument. Next, we want to distinguish two different kinds of argument markers. So far, we've looked at so, and therefore, and thus, and accordingly. Each of those indicates that the sentence right after that is a conclusion, and the other sentence in the pair is a premise. So, we're going to call these conclusion markers because they indicate that the sentence right after them is a conclusion. But the other argument markers that also indicate arguments in the same way. What they indicate is that the sentence after them is a reason, or a premise, not a

conclusion. For example, I could say, I'm good at sports because I am tall. Now the word because indicates that the fact I'm tall is a reason for the conclusion that I'm good at sports. It doesn't mean that the sentence after the word because is a conclusion. Instead, it means that the sentence after the word because is a reason, or a premise. So, we're going to call it a reason marker, or a premise marker. And there are other reason markers as well. You could say, I am good at sports for I am tall. I am good at sports, as I am tall. I am good at sports, for the reason that I am tall. I'm good at sports and the reason why is that I am tall. All of these words, both the conclusion markers and the reason markers, indicate that there's an argument present, but only in some cases. You can't just look at the word and figure out whether it's an argument marker or not. You have to think about the role that it's playing. A perfect example of that is another reason marker, since. You can say, I'm good at sports since I am tall. And then it looks like you're presenting the fact that you're tall as a reason why you're good at sports. But the word since doesn't always play that role. After all, you can say, the sun has been up since 7 o'clock this morning. And that doesn't mean that somehow the sun has an alarm clock that causes it to come right up at 7 o'clock. All it's saying is that the sun has been up after the time of 7 o'clock and all times since then. It doesn't indicate any kind of rational relation. Such as, the fact that at 7 o'clock being the reason why the sun came up. Or what about this one? It's been raining since my vacation began. Very disappointing, but you're not saying that it's raining because your vacation began

as if there's some kind of plot against you and the nature or weather. That would be very paranoid. All you're saying is that, it has been raining everyday since the time when your vacation began, or everyday after your vacation began. So the since there, indicates just a temporal relation, not some kind of rational relation. And what this shows us is that you can't just look for the word since and always mark it as an argument marker. You have to think about what the word since is doing in that context, and that'll be true for a lot of other reason markers and conclusion markers as well. Here's another example the same point, but with a conclusion marker, the word so. The word so sometimes indicates that, the sentence after it is a conclusion and the sentence before it's a reason. But it can also indicate something entirely different. You don't need to eat so much. So there doesn't indicate that much is a reason for anything. The word so is getting used in an entirely different way. That should be obvious. But the point again, is that you can't just look for the word so and label it as an argument marker. You have to think about the function that it's playing in the particular context. But then how can we tell what role a word is playing in a particular context. Here's a little trick. Try substituting another word that's clearly an argument marker. That is, it's clearly a reason marker or a conclusion marker. For the original word that you weren't so sure about. Here's an example. He's so cool! Does that mean he's because cool? No, if you substitute because for so the meaning changes entirely. Not even clear what it means. Or how about, he's therefore cool. That don't make much sense either. So in this case you can't substitute another argument marker because or therefore

for the original word so without changing the meaning of the sentence entirely. And that shows you that, in the original sentence, the word so was not being used, as an argument marker. Either a reason marker or conclusion marker. Here's another example. Well, since he left college, he's been unemployed. Well are you saying that, because he left college he's unemployed? Maybe, if that's what you're saying then you can substitute the word because without changing the meaning of the sentence. And then the word since was being used as a reason marker in that case. But probably not. Probably, the claim is simply that since the time when he left college, he's been unemployed. And then if that's what you mean, then when you substitute because for since, it changes the meaning. And that would show that in that context the word is not playing the role of an argument marker, or a reason marker. Because it changes the meaning to substitute something like because that's clearly an argument marker. On the other hand, you might have a similar claim where you can substitute it. Since he failed out of college, he's unemployed. Whoa! Now, if somebody says that, they don't just mean since the time when he failed out of college he's unemployed. Probably the meaning is not changed if you simply said because he failed out of college, he's unemployed. So, since you can substitute because for since in that sentence, in that sentence the word since is probably being used as an argument marker. That's the role it's playing. That's it's function. That's how it's being used. And notice also, that you can tell that the word since in that sentence is a reason marker

instead of a conclusion marker. Because you can substitute because, and you cannot substitute therefore. Therefore he failed out of college, he's been unemployed. That doesn't make a lot of sense. So, if you can substitute because without changing the meaning, then the original word, since in this case, was being used as a reason marker. You cannot substitute the word therefore. That shows it's not being used as a conclusion marker. So you can use this substitution test to determine whether the word is being used as a reason marker or as a conclusion marker, or as no indicator whatsoever of an argument but in some entirely different way. One last word that we have to talk about is that little word if. Sometimes it's linked with the word then, in an if-then clause, which is also called a conditional. And we'll talk a lot about conditionals later in this course. But for now, I just want to make one point. The word if might seem like an argument marker, because it's often used in arguments. For example; I might say, If I'm rich enough, I can buy a baseball team. I am rich enough, so I can buy a baseball team. That would be an argument. But if all I say is If I'm rich enough, I can buy a baseball team, when I know I'm not rich enough. So, I would never assert the if clause that says I am rich enough. Then, that little if sentence is not being used to indicate an argument at all. Its just saying, if If I am rich enough, then I can buy a baseball team. It's not saying that I am rich enough, and it's not saying that I can buy a baseball team. So, the word if by itself does not indicate an argument. It sets a pattern for argument, if one thing then another. Well, the one thing, therefore, the other. But the IF (one thing) THEN (another) doesn't by itself indicate any argument at all because it doesn't assert that IF clause which is also called the

antecedent of the conditional. So we are not going to count the word if as an argument marker. Now we've learned how to identify an argument. It's simple, huh? But just to make sure you've got it straight, let's do a few exercises.