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Identifying Arguments - Primary Goal of the Explanation

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Autor:   •  August 9, 2018  •  Essay  •  1,398 Words (6 Pages)  •  54 Views

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Assignment: Identifying Arguments - Anthony Lombe GSB 152260

Often people communicate with one another in order to stress a point across. This is usually done by using definitive statements which are backed by factual statements. These statements are usually based on observation, established facts, or proofs. These conversations are therefore riddled with arguments and explanations. Whilst people often confuse explanations and arguments and in most cases use them interchangeably, explanations can be used to bolster arguments.

An argument is essentially a line of logic that is presented in order to support the veracity of a statement. An explanation on the other is used to clarify and explicate a statement with the aim of making the listener understand the statement rather persuading them to accept a certain point of view.

There are many examples that can be used to distinguish explanations and arguments;

  1. In an argument, a person tries to convince another that it is going to snow tomorrow. The person will cite predictions from the weather station, the damp chill in the air and the clouds visible on the horizon as reasons for that claim.
  2. In an explanation, where both people will agree that it will snow the following day because there is a cold front coming in and the air feels damp.

Both examples uses a similar scenario of snow but its noted that in an argument, the person is trying to convince the other person of the truth of their statement, whilst in the explanation, the person is merely trying to explain why the claim is true.

Other examples in the usage of arguments and explanations come in the following;

  • A debate club usually takes on both sides of an argument and strive to prove each one is correct.
  • Lawyers also use arguments to convince the jury of the defendant’s guilt or innocence.
  • Entrepreneurs also use arguments when presenting potential backers with an argument in support of their business plan.
  • Lecturers also use explanations to out across new items to students in a classroom.

In conclusion, the primary goal of an argument is to show that some proposition is true by providing a basis for believing the conclusion. On the other hand, the primary goal of the explanation is to show why the proposition (fact) is true. In an explanation, a speaker or author usually assumes that the audience accepts the proposition (fact) as true thus has no need to persuade the audience of that fact. In an argument, the speaker or author doesn’t assume that the audience will accept the proposition (fact) so rather intends to persuade by giving reasons for the claim.

Distinguishing Explanations and Arguments;

1. The car won’t start because I left the headlights on all night and the battery is flat.

This is an explanation. The statement is telling us that the failure for the car to start was as a result (cause) of leaving headlights and because the battery is flat (cause).

2. I must buy a new car because my old Ford is unsafe and expensive.  It’s rusty and uses too much fuel.

This is an argument. The conclusion is stated at the beginning of the statement and is separated from the premises by the indicator word (because). Reasons are being given as to why a new car must be bought.

P1) My old ford is unsafe and expensive

P2) Its rusty and uses too much fuel

C) I must buy a new car[pic 1]

  1. She burnt the omelette because the pan wasn’t hot enough when she put the eggs in.

This is an explanation. The statement is telling us that the burning of the omelette was as a result of the pan not being hot enough when putting the eggs in (cause).

  1. If you want to make an omelette, you need eggs. But we’ve run out of eggs, so if you want to make an omelette, you’ll have to go and buy some more.

I will say this is an argument as it gives reasons for the proposition of buying eggs which is a conclusion. The premises being the running out of eggs and the need for eggs to make an omelette.

P1) if you want to make an omelette, you need eggs

P2) we have run out of eggs

[pic 2]

C) you will have to go and buy some more eggs

  1. You should vote for the Republican candidate because the Republicans will keep taxes low and lower taxes are better for the overall economy.

This is an argument. The conclusion is stated at the beginning of the statement and is separated from the premises by the indicator word (because). Reasons are being given as to why a Republican candidate should be voted.

P1) Republicans will keep taxes low

P2) low taxes are better for the overall economy

[pic 3]

C) You should vote for a Republican candidate

  1. The fact that the economy is healthy can be explained by the fact that taxes are low.

This is an explanation as it states the economy being healthy as a fact and supported by a cause which is low taxes. It would be an argument if more premises are added to support the healthy economy claim.

  1. The economy has remained buoyant because the government is investing in infrastructure projects such as new railways and roads.

This is an explanation. The proposition (fact) of the economy being buoyant is stated and its occurrence is as a result of infrastructure projects (roads and railways) invested by government.

  1. In a recession the best way for a government to keep the economy buoyant and keep people in jobs is to invest in infrastructure. The government’s austerity policy, with its constant rounds of cuts to the

Public sector is deeply mistaken. It has to change or the country will sink into an economic depression the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the 1930s.

  1. The coach was sacked because the team hasn’t had a win all season, even at home.

This is an explanation. The proposition (fact) of the coach being sacked is stated and its occurrence is as a result of team not winning all season, home included (cause).

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