5.5: Formal argument
In a nutshell
The following presents what you essentially need to know about this topic.
In a nutshell - Text version
- Formal language (a rule-governed set of symbols) can be expressed in numbers, symbols and even sentences.
- To perform a critique of formal arguments, it is useful to begin at the level of the sentence.
- Sentences (propositions) can be presented in the form of truth tables.
- A truth table is a table which shows whether or not a proposition is true based on variations in the combinations of ‘input values’ or words.
- Truth tables allow us to express natural language in formal language to represent the truth possibilities of different types of sentences.
- Truth tables can help us think more clearly about how truth (or falsehood) is presented in natural language at the level of the sentence.
- Truth tables can express concepts of negation (“not”), conjunction (“and”), disjunction (“or”) and condition (“if…then”).
- Natural language can also be expressed in formal language, however this is sometimes complicated by ambiguity and uncertain meanings in natural language.
- A sentence is not an argument; it can be described as a proposition or claim which states that something is the case.
- If you want more information about this topic, refer to ‘The complete’ version below.
The complete version
Follow the link to view the full version of ‘Formal Argument’.
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