Recognizing Arguments

Recognizing Arguments

In this assignment, you will apply key concepts covered in the module readings. You will identify the component parts of arguments and differentiate between various types of arguments such as strict, loose, inductive, and deductive. You will then construct specific, original arguments.

There are two parts to the assignment. Complete both parts.

Part 1

1a: Identify Components of Arguments

Identify the component parts of the argument, premises and conclusion, for the following passages. Where applicable, highlight key words or phrases that identify a claim as a premise or a conclusion.

Refer to the following example:

“All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore, Socrates is mortal.”

All men are mortal.                                      Premise

Socrates is a man.                                      Premise

Therefore, Socrates is mortal.                     Conclusion

“Therefore” is a key word indicating the claim is the conclusion.

1.     Sue is pregnant and will give birth to one child. We know already this child has no genetic anomalies. If Sue’s baby is a boy, he will be named Mark. If Sue’s baby is a girl, she will be named Margaret. Sue will have either a boy or a girl. So we know Sue’s baby will be named Mark or Margaret.  

2.     If the library has The Lord of the Rings,you won’t find it on the first floor. This is because all fantasy novels are fiction and all works of fiction are housed on the second floor of the library. Of course, I am assuming that all the books are properly shelved at this time.

3.   “After a year, brain scans showed that among the walkers, the hippocampus had increased in volume by about 2 percent on average; in the others, it had declined by about 1.4 percent. Since such a decline is normal in older adults, ’a 2 percent increase is fairly significant,’ said the lead author, Kirk Erickson, a psychologist at the University of Pittsburgh. Both groups also improved on a test of spatial memory, but the walkers improved more. While it is hard to generalize from this study to other populations, the researchers were delighted to learn that the hippocampus might expand with exercise” (Span, 2011).


Span, P. (2011, February 7). Fitness: A walk to remember? Study says yes. The New York Times. Retrieved from

1b: Identify Arguments as Strict or Loose

Identify the arguments as strict or loose for the following passages:

1.     I was late for class because my car ran out of gas and I could not find a gas station.

2.     It’s a good idea to drink more cranberry juice. It’s a good source of vitamin C and they say it helps keep the kidneys healthy.

3.     “Researchers from the National Institutes of Health have found that less than an hour of cell phone use can speed up brain activity in the area closest to the phone antenna, raising new questions about the health effects of low levels of radiation emitted from cell phones” (Parker-Pope, 2011).

4.     She argued that despite my wealth of personal experience and knowledge, I should not attempt to help my cousin with preparing her divorce paper. “That would constitute impersonating a lawyer,” she said, “which is a crime.”


Parker-Pope, T. (2011, February 22). Cellphone use tied to changes in brain activity. The New York Times. Retrieved from

1c: Identify Arguments as Inductive or Deductive

Identify the arguments as inductive or deductive for the following passages:

1.     Because Una has circles under her eyes, is yawning, and looks tired, I’m certain she didn’t get much sleep last night.

2.     Grace concluded that psychotherapists caused indigestion, because every time she had a session, she left with a horrible stomachache.

3.     If a bug is a spider, it must have eight legs. A daddy-long-legs has six legs, consequently, a daddy-long-legs is not a spider.     

Part 2

2a: Argument Analysis and Diagram

Research the list and diagram structure using your textbook readings for the module. Apply the method to (a) outline and (b) diagram the arguments in the following longer text passages. Model your answers on the examples of diagramed arguments in the textbook and the sample diagrams provided.

Refer to the following argument outline components:

The issue here is: __________________________________________

The author concludes that: __________________________________

The reasons for making the argument are: _____________________

Refer to the following argument diagram structure:


1.     “You say many women at the most elite colleges intend to ‘put aside their careers in favor of raising children.’ But why shouldn’t the raising of children be considered a career as well? Few would deny that being a stay-at-home parent is a terrifically demanding job, requiring unlimited ‘people skills’ and a total commitment to a workweek that recognizes no concept of overtime, not to mention a paycheck. The term ‘working mother’ is a redundancy. No woman need feel any guilt for opting to fill her days with whichever activities give her the greatest joy and fulfillment” (English, 2005).

The issue here is: __________________________________________

The author concludes that: __________________________________

The reasons for making the argument are: _____________________



2.     “The attorney general does not merely head up the Justice Department. He is responsible for ensuring that America is a nation in which justice prevails. Mr. Gonzales’s record makes him unqualified to take on this role or to represent the American justice system to the rest of the world. The Senate should reject his nomination” (The New York Times, Editorial, 2005).

The issue here is: __________________________________________

The author concludes that: __________________________________

The reasons for making the argument are: _____________________




Editorial: The wrong Attorney General [Editorial]. (2005, January 26). The New York Times.

English, D. (2005, September 20). A revived debate: Babies, careers, ‘Having it all.’ [Letter to the editor]. The New York Times. Retrieved from

2b: Constructing Original Arguments

Complete the following:

Construct one original inductive argument and address the following:

  • Identify the conclusion and the supporting reasons within the argument.
  • Offer a brief explanation or justification for why the argument is an inductive argument.

Construct one original deductive argument and address the following:

  • Identify the conclusion and the supporting reasons within the argument.
  • Offer a brief explanation or justification for why the argument is a deductive argument.

2c: Finding Alternative Argument Examples or Finding Inductive or Deductive Argument Examples

Find one example of either an inductive or a deductive argument from contemporary media. Complete all the following tasks:

  • Identify the type of argument (inductive or deductive).
  • Include/reproduce the original passage of the argument and provide a complete citation for the source.
  • Identify/paraphrase the conclusion(s).
  • Identify/explain how you know or why you think the argument is an inductive/deductive one.
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