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An Example of Reconstruction (Part I)

CONTENT: This week’s material will teach you how to organize the parts of an argument in order to show how they fit into a structure of reasoning. The goal is to make the argument look as good as possible so that you can learn from it. We work through the main steps of reconstruction, including putting the premises and conclusion into a standard form, clarifying the premises and breaking them into parts, arranging the argument into stages or sub-arguments, adding suppressed premises where needed to make the argument valid, and assessing the argument for soundness. The lectures begin by defining the crucial notions of validity, soundness, and standard form. You will also learn to diagram alternative argument structures, including linear, branching, and joint structures. LEARNING OUTCOMES: By the end of this week’s material, you will be able to: label assuring, guarding, discounting, and evaluative terms determine whether an argument is valid or sound complete arguments by adding suppressed premises reconstruct arguments by and series of arguments classify argument structuresOPTIONAL READING: If you want more examples or more detailed discussions of these topics, we recommend <em>Understanding Arguments, Ninth Edition, Chapter 5.

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