Common Inference Forms

| March 13, 2016

What common inference form is exemplified by the United States of America Declaration of Independence? It corresponds to one of the deductive forms we have studied. Submit your answer, along with a brief analysis of the Declaration that includes the following: a statement of the argument form in terms of P and Q (continuing with R and S if necessary). State what proposition in the Declaration of Independence each sentence letter stands for, and write those propositions out in the appropriate argument form.

For example, assuming you read an article that exemplified a disjunctive syllogism. First state the argument form: DS: P or Q; not P, therefore Q. (you may use words for the connectives — you don’t have to use symbols). Then state which letters stand for which propositions, e.g.:

P = it is raining
Q = it is snowing
Then write out the argument in terms of its basic propositions: “either it is raining or it is snowing, it’s not raining, therefore it is snowing.” You will need to use your own words to state the key propositions in plain form.

Some hints: it is not always easy to tell what kind of argument is exemplified by a long essay such as this. Pay close attention to the second paragraph in which the argument is “set up.” Keep in mind that conditional statements don’t always start with “if” — look for the intention of the statements and words that function similarly. Then match up the key statements in that paragraph with the content of the rest of the essay. Also pay close attention to the last paragraph, which contains the conclusion. One more hint: it is a valid form!

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