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ARGUMENTS &

NECESSARY AND
SUFFICIENT
CONDITIONS
Matheson

Project of Philosophy
here are two central projects in
philosophy:
1. To analyze concepts.
What is free will?
What would God be like?
2. To evaluate arguments.
Is this argument that we dont know
anything a good argument?
Is this argument that abortion is
permissible a good argument?
We will look at how to do both today.

Necessary and Sufficient conditions


X
is a necessary condition of being a Y just in case nothing can be a Y
without also being an X.
Being Canadian is a necessary condition for voting in a Canada national
election.

X
is a sufficient condition for being a Y just in case being an X is
enough for being a Y.
Being born in Canada is a sufficient condition for being a Canadian citizen.

X
and Y are individually necessary and jointly sufficient conditions
for being a Z just in case X and Y are each necessary conditions for
being a Z, and being a (X and Y) is a sufficient condition for being a Z.
Something is a triangle just in case it is a three-sided figure.

Evaluating Analyses of concepts


T
he claim X is a triangle just in case X is a three-sided
figure is correct just in case any and every triangle would
be a three-sided figure, and any and every three-sided
figure would be a triangle.
S
o, to evaluate the analysis of a concept you look for a
COUNTEREXAMPLE. A counterexample is an instance
which shows that the conditions are either (i) not all
necessary, or (ii) not jointly sufficient.
Something is a square just in case it is a four-sided figure.
Something is a bachelor just in case it is an unmarried
male.

What is an Argument?

Arguments
rgument: a sequence of sentences where some (the
premises) cited in favor of another (the conclusion).

tandard Form: We will typically examine argument in


standard form where each line of the argument is given a
number, and the premises are divided from the conclusion
with a line. (analogy with math problems)
1. Philosophy is the best.
2. If Philosophy is the best, then this class rocks.
3. This class rocks.

Good Arguments
hat is the purpose of an argument?
2 common answers: (a) to convince someone or (b)
to make the conclusion reasonable.
These answers are distinct and can come apart (you
can do (a) without (b), and you can do (b) without (a)).
Our focus will be on (b).

iven that, there are two general ways that an argument


can go bad: (1) its conclusion doesnt follow, or (2) it
has bad premises.

Validity
rguments avoid the first error by being valid.
1. The rings of Saturn are bright this year.
2. There will be prosperity this year.
n argument is valid just in case it is impossible for it to
have all true premises and a false conclusion (if the
premises were all true, the conclusion would be true)
n argument is invalid just in case it is not valid.
1. The rings of Saturn are bright this year.
2. If the rings of Saturn are bright this year,
there will be prosperity this year.

then

2. There will be prosperity this year.


alid arguments can still be quite bad since validity deals
only with its logical form. We rule out both errors with
sound arguments.

Soundness
An argument is sound just in
case it is valid and all of its
premises are true.
An argument is unsound just in
case it is not sound.
Sound Arguments must have
a true conclusion.
Sound arguments are valid = all
true premises guarantees a true
conclusion.
Sound arguments have all true
premises.

Common Simple Valid Arguments


ODUS PONENS

ODUS TOLLENS

1. If P then Q.
2. P
3. So, Q.

1. If P then Q.
2. Not-Q
3. So, not-P.

No matter what propositions


you put in for P and Q,
you cannot have all true
premises and a false
conclusion.

No matter what propositions


you put in for P and Q,
you cannot have all true
premises and a false
conclusion.

Argument Explanation
o explain an argument from the text:
Define all technical terms that appear in the argument.
Give reasons to think that each premise (not sub-conclusions
or conclusion) is true. The text will often provide these
reasons, or you may need to come up with why a reasonable
person might accept each premise. Sell each premise
(argument salesperson).
For each sub-conclusion and conclusion, explain how they are
guaranteed to be true if the premises which support them are
true (by showing how they are a conclusion of a valid simple
argument). If you can, state which kind of valid simple
argument.

Argument Evaluation
o evaluate an argument from the text:

tate whether the argument valid (for complex arguments, state


whether every simple argument it is composed of is valid). Name the
valid form if you can.
S
tate whether the complex argument is sound (whether all its
premises are true, if it is valid).
If
the argument is not sound, or it has a controversial premise, point out
this premise and criticize it. (you cannot simply criticize a subconclusion or conclusion)
If you think it is sound, defend this premise against the reasonable critique you
have raised.
If you think it is unsound, state how you think the author might respond to your
critique.

Practice
. If the Jaguars win the AFC South this year, then they will
make the playoffs this year.
. The Jaguars will win the AFC South this year.
. The Jaguars will make the playoffs this year.
Explain.
Evaluate.
Valid?
Sound?

Necessary Conditions
1. Being alive is a necessary condition of being
human.
- False
2. Being made of flour is a necessary condition of
being bread.
- False
3. Being over 4 feet tall is a necessary condition of
being an NBA player.
- False
4. Being a male is a necessary condition of being a
brother.
- True

Sufficient Conditions
1.
Being 7 feet tall is a sufficient condition for
playing in the
NBA.
- False
2. Being a male sibling is a sufficient condition for
being a
brother.
- True
3. Being made of glass is a sufficient condition for
being
fragile.
- False
4. Having a student ID is a sufficient condition for
being a
student.
- False

Necessary & Sufficient


Conditions
1.

Something is a brother just in case it is a male sibling.


- True
2. Something is a Starbucks coffee just in case it is a
coffee brewed at Starbucks.
- False
3. Something is trail mix just in case it is a mixture of
nuts, M&Ms, and raisins.
- False
4. Something has free will just in case it is not caused to
do what it does.
- False

Argument 1
1. If Socrates is a man, then Socrates is mortal.
2. Socrates is a man.
_________________________
3. Therefore, Socrates is mortal.
VALID (MP)

Argument 2
1. If George Bush is the president, then the president is
from Texas.
2. The president is from Texas.
_______________________________
3. Therefore, George Bush is president.
INVALID

Argument 3
1. If
the cookies have oatmeal, then they have carbohydrates.

2.
The cookies do not have oatmeal.
____
_______________________________
3.
Therefore, the cookies do not have carbohydrates.

INVALID

Argument 4
. If grass is red, then pigs can fly.

. Grass is red.
____________________________
. Therefore, pigs can fly.

VALID (MP)