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Writing Simple Arguments in Standard Form

What are the standard forms of the arguments that follow?

a. Women live longer than men, on the average. So, you will probably live longer than your husband!

b. Subliminal advertising is quite common. Why? Hundreds of studies have
shown that subliminal persuasion works. You end up buying things you neither want nor need: like a singing, flipping fish on a board!

c. You should believe in God. If God doesn't exist, then all you've lost is a few Sunday mornings at church. But if God does exist, then you have gained eternal
bliss!

d. It would be foolish to permit the sale of marijuana to seriously ill people on the recommendation of their physicians. That just opens the floodgates to the complete legalization of that dangerous drug.

e. "Women have rights," said the Bullfight Association president, "But women
shouldn't fight bulls because a bullfighter is and should be a man."

Solution Preview

In a sense, each of the questions is asking you for the same thing: tell the professor the standard form of the argument. Although different professors may mean different things by 'standard form', there is a good chance that your professor wants you to re-write each of the arguments in what is known as standard categorical form. Standard categorical form is simply a way of making sure arguments following a definite, known pattern, so that confusion and ambiguity can be reduced. Here is an example of an argument in ordinary English, and then of the same argument in standard categorical form:

"That was the stupidest movie I've ever seen. There's no way it will last two weeks!"

What the person making this claim is trying to argue is pretty simple: the money he just saw is so bad that it won't possibly last two weeks. The first step in writing an argument is standard categorical form is to identify the conclusion -- what is the person trying to prove? HEre, the conclusion is:

Conclusion: There is no way this movie will last two weeks.

Okay, so we know what the conclusion is. But what about the premise(s). Well, one of them is clearly ...

Solution Summary

The solution gives an in-depth explanation of how to turn regular everyday arguments into their standard form versions, complete with an example, so that the reader can do the same to the ones in the question. 792 words.

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