The Nature of Arguments



Are you confident you can reason clearly? Are you able to convince others of your point of view? Are you able to give plausible reasons for believing what you believe? Do you sometimes read arguments in the newspapers, hear them on the television, or in the pub and wish you knew how to confidently evaluate them? In this six-part course, you will learn all about arguments, how to identify them, how to evaluate them, and how not to mistake bad arguments for good. Such skills are invaluable if you are concerned about the truth of your beliefs, and the cogency of your arguments.

Notes available to download here: http://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/people/marianne-talbot

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28 thoughts on “The Nature of Arguments

  • September 25, 2017 at 10:55 am
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    Funny she said the jug of water is loud and then poured some on the glass and it was loud. Hard to think it doesn't have a logical context when it just proved it did.

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  • September 25, 2017 at 10:55 am
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    Lectures are useful if recorded well. Very often they aren't. These lectures are the example of bad recordings. I love TED talks in this aspect: they use good microphones and record lectures very well. I, for instance wasn't able to hear clearly some questions from the audience. Good lecturers understand the limitations of their particular setup and repeat questions, prior giving their answers, realizing that they do have microphones, while their students often do not. Good lecturers do that: they care.

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  • September 25, 2017 at 10:55 am
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    I don't quite understand how the argument for it being Friday beacause soandso always wears Jeans on Friday is being called a good argument. It's actually a bad argument. The conclusion would only follow like that, if the premise was that soandso ONLY wears Jeans on Friday. In the original premise it only says something about her wearing Jeans on Fridays, but she could just as well sometimes be wearing them on other days as well, which would make the conclusion not follow, i.e. it's a bad argument.

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  • September 25, 2017 at 10:55 am
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    Wow, many varied questions to test the students! Ms Talbot dished out an array of premises and conclusions to tease the minds of the students in the class. But do you really think these questions are quite similar or dissimilar to multiple choice questions? Many of these questions tricked the students, and made some rugged slopes and slippery surfaces for them in order for her to hear their feedbacks to initially suss out what degree of an open mind they have as part of liberal arts training, that should eventually get them to think with a more open mind with less presumptive biases, and get them into the mode of thinking with reference to cultural or physical environments where a degree of subjectivity is always assumed. One question, regarding the sea salt and Melbourne, Australia is truly inspiring, and makes one wonder how many presumptive behaviours in various contexts encountered in real life are really the result of premises hidden away from view, either intentionally or unintentionally, which makes one keep ferreting and delving deeply into subject matters in question.

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  • September 25, 2017 at 10:55 am
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    Online students would, I think, benefit more by not having this lecture's audience's continuous interruptions and distracting, and often inane, questioning and opinions. It was a mistake to encourage it. Listen, and learn. Q&As should be at the end, write them down if you're memory's poor, and then the producer can have them edited down to include only the useful ones. This video only needed to be about 20 minutes long.

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  • September 25, 2017 at 10:55 am
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    Quite informative…makes me think deeper in arguments…now one can go explorethis …what  if  her jeans she would normally wear on Friday …she could not wear due to the
    washer broke down Thursday or out of the blue she chose not to wear the jeans on Friday. 🙂

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  • September 25, 2017 at 10:55 am
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    I was a bit put off with the defining of 'causal' and 'logical reasoning'. I learned it as 'correlation does not equal causation' but she seems to have redefined 'causal' to be synonymous with the definition of correlation by basically stating, 'causation does not equal a rational relation'. As far as I know, the wider scientific community would say that causation is actually synonymous with rational relations.

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  • September 25, 2017 at 10:55 am
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    I may just be an lowly working class prole but is it not correct to say that deductive arguments/syllogisms can be either good/valid or bad/invalid while inductive arguments are, mostly/usually, either strong/valid/invalid or weak/valid/invalid? Pardon my ignorance if I missed her definition or distinction between the two different forms or whether it remains to be clarified in later lectures.

    Oops, at one hour in she hints at inductive arguments. I would have preferred if she had given a brief overview of the differences between deductive and inductive types first then gone on to give her examples of deductive arguments.

    Oh, and my parting fallacy, hard soled shoes on a hollow stage are distracting.

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  • September 25, 2017 at 10:55 am
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    Thanks for the great lecture. Could anyone please tell me the reading list that was partially discussed at the end of the lecture? i would really appreciate it.

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  • September 25, 2017 at 10:55 am
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    Great lecture, but the class seemed to get really distracted when they inadvertently strayed into correspondence theory and metaphysics. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it can make it difficult for beginners to see the difference between logic and metaphysics/epistemology.

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  • September 25, 2017 at 10:55 am
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    The slides can be found on iTunes University.  Thank you, for these great series of lectures.  

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  • September 25, 2017 at 10:55 am
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    it's unfortunate that the slides haven't been provided in the description, they were available for the course on moral philosophy. Thanks for the lecture oxford but please upload the material, even if they don't have much intrinsic information I still find they are good to help with memory of the lecture.

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  • September 25, 2017 at 10:55 am
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    Well, being charitable can also be a good thing outside of the context of interpreting arguments…

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  • September 25, 2017 at 10:55 am
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    nice video i guess. lots of irrelevant questions from class . . . kinda wasted everyones time.

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  • September 25, 2017 at 10:55 am
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    I am listening to this while I exercise. Second class is done already. I appreciate how clear she is in her explanations, how she meticulously use the right words in the right places.

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