Logic Handout

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Phil 203 - Logic - Handout #1

It is important to be able to distinguish between a valid argument and a sound argument. A valid argument is one in which the conclusion follows necessarily from the premises, such that if the premises are true, the conclusion must also be true. A sound argument is one that is valid and the premisses are true (hence the conclusion is also true).

Here is an example of a valid deductive argument with true premises and a true conclusion (notice it is in the form of a syllogism):

Premiss 1: If the North won the Civil War, then the slaves were freed.

Premiss 2: The North won the Civil War.

Conclusion: Therefore, the slaves were freed.

But consider this argument:

Premiss 1: If the South won the Civil War, then the slaves were freed.

Premiss 2: The South won the Civil War.

Conclusion: Therefore, the slaves were freed.

Here, the argument is valid even though both premises are false and the conclusion is true. It is valid, because if the premises were true, then the conclusion would be true also. The conclusion still follows from the premises.

Are the following valid?

Premiss 1: All seniors are talented (F)

Premiss 2: All talented people are ugly (F)

Conclusion: All seniors are ugly (F)

Premiss 1: All ugly people are seniors (F)

Premiss 2: All seniors are insightful (F)

Conclusion: All ugly people are insightful (T)

Premiss 1: All ugly people are insightful (T)

Premiss 2: All talented people are ugly (F)

Conclusion: All talented people are insightful (T)

Are these arguments sound?

What is a syllogism? A syllogism has two premises and one…...

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