Informal Logic 101: How to Think and Argue Better, Part 4 | A View from the Right

Meanwhile, at the clinic…
Client (Michael Palin): “Aha! If you’re arguing, I must have paid.”
Mr. Barnard (John Cleese): “Not necessarily. I could be arguing in my spare time….”

Sherlock Holmes - Basil RathboneOK, if you aren’t a Monty Python fan (and I am only marginally) and you don’t understand the above quote, you are forgiven. But, I urge you to look up the Monty Python skit “Argument Clinic” (or similar title) on YouTube. Go ahead. We’ll wait…. And, I assure you, those aren’t the kinds of arguments we’ll examine here. (Yes, it is! No, it isn’t!) By the way, notice that Palin’s character had it right. He said, “An argument is a collective series of statements to establish a definite proposition.” A fair definition, yet mostly what he got for his money was unsupported contradictions.

There are three types of logical argument, or ways of reasoning, if you will — deductive, inductive, and abductive. Most people have heard of the first two but are unaware of the third. (I know I wasn’t familiar with it until several years back.) Each has its strengths and proper area of usage….

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