Exercises to help learn the skill of explication

Identify premises and conclusions in the following arguments or argument forms.

  1. Because [a] and [b], then[c].
  2. Naturally [a]. After all, [b].
  3. When you remember that [a] and [b], you realize that [c].
  4. [a]. Since [b], then [c].
  5. [a] if [b], and [b], whenever [c]. [c], so [a].
  6. How could this stereo stand not be finished? I used all the parts.
  7. It stands to reason that local politicians should only get two terms in office. For anyone with nothing better to do shouldn't have power.
  8. The car won't start. It must not have gas in the tank.
  9. The car won't start. After all, it doesn't have gas in the tank.

Supply premises to make these arguments valid, if possible, or inductively strong, if they can't be valid. Or conclude that they can't be made either valid or strong.

  1. It's no use going on about whether this law is just. It was passed democratically.
  2. How can you be so critical of Pride and Prejudice? You never read it.
  3. I wouldn't call her reliable. She was late with her last rent check.
  4. It's not safe to let Dave drive you home. He just had a furious argument with his boss.
  5. Look, it's snowing. The air will be warmer today.
  6. We didn't miss the bus. It isn't 8:04 yet.
  7. That isn't art. A child could do it.

List the following arguments in logical order and number the premises:

  1. Everyone from Artemus Ward Pre-School knows how to tie their shoes. Bradley tried and tried and couldn't do it. She must not go to Artemus Ward.
  2. Put together that our uninsured children have pressing needs, and that the elderly face high medical costs, and you see that the new health care bill is the right one to pass, despite the fact that it will lead to higher taxes.
  3. There's no talent here. The novel's plotlessness and its unsavory characters make it the result of just stringing together a lot of big words. And when all you have is a lot of big words strung together, there's no talent at work.
  4. If he'd been perfectly innocent he wouldn't have been arrested; but he was arrested. And you've seen that suspicious smirk on his face. He's not innocent.
  5. There is no way she will be able to afford private schools for her kids. She speculated in real estate---that's been a real money loser lately. And she bought a lot of art and plowed the rest into her retirement account, which means she has no liquid capital.
  6. They have no convincing alibi for the night of the 14th. They can't explain what happened to their shotgun. And they owed the victim money, which means they had a motive. It makes a winning case and that's why I'm pressing charges.
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