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Formalize and Evaluate an Argument


I'm having some problems with this topic. I need to formalize the argument and state what the premises are and the conclusion. I also need to evaluate the argument to show the effectiveness of it.

Thanks for your help.

Here's what I think: everyone is selfish. You're always looking out for Number
One, no matter what you do, no matter what you think. Now I know what you're
going to say: what about love? What about the fact that parents sometimes die for
their children? What about the fact that when you love someone you make
sacrifices for that person? Good questions, but I have answers. First, consider the
small sacrifices that we make for our loved ones. Who are we helping? Probably
our family members, spouses, perhaps very close friends that we love, romantic
partners ... people like that. In other words, people we interact with regularly.
We make short-term sacrifices to help them. In the long term, though, we are
really helping ourselves. What would happen to a marriage in which one partner
never sacrificed anything for the other? It would fall apart and make that person
miserable! And how much would your family nag you if you never did anything
nice for them? I bet that the cost of living with that nagging would be higher than
the actual cost of the sacrifices you make for them. Really, you're better off
"sacrificing" in this way: you get short-term pain for long-term gain. As for
people who love others so much that they will die for them, just imagine how
those people would feel if they didn't sacrifice their lives. They would feel
horrible for the rest of their lives, probably get depressed, maybe become
alcoholic. Isn't dying better than living in misery? It's just like committing
suicide in order to avoid torture. So there's no getting around it: everything we do
is for our own good.


Solution Preview

PREMISE: The premise of this argument is that 'everyone is selfish' and that people are 'always looking out for number 1.'

FORMULIZE ARGUMENT: So having identified that the premise of the argument is that individuals are always selfish, the author goes onto to attempt to prove their argument by offering 'evidence' that will support their claim. This is done in a very clever way - the author identifies possible counter arguments (i.e. 'what about love' and the fact that some people make sacrifices for other people). The author then argues that these acts are actually selfish, and that people only sacrifice for their own good.

The argument is formulated as a conversation with the reader - this makes the argument more 'real' and the reader can imagine actually having the conversation with the author. The author also argues that people make short-term sacrifices for long-term benefits. ...