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“Arguments are made up of claims or statements in this section. I want to say say a few words about what this means and why it s important for logic s a definition you might see in a logic text. A claim is a sentence that can be true or false. But not both actually in logic texts.
A more commonly used term is a statement or proposition. These are all intended to mean the same thing. A claim or a statement or a proposition is a bit of language whose defining characteristic is that it makes an assertion that could be true or false. But not both the true or false part of this definition expresses a principle of classical logic.
That s called the principle of bi valence..
This principle asserts that a claim can only seem one of two truth values true or false. There s no third option like half true or half false or almost true the but not both part of this definition expresses a different principle of classical logic called the principle of non contradiction. This principle states that a claim can t be both true and false at the same time. It s either one or the other and to assert otherwise is to assert a contradiction interestingly.
There are systems of logic. Where both the principle of bi valence and the principle of non contradiction are relaxed and logicians can study different systems of reasoning that don t assume these principles. But in classical logic they hold and in what follows. We re going to assume that they hold now you might ask why defining claims in this way is important here are two reasons first not all sentences can function as claims for argumentative purposes.
For example questions don t count as claims since they don t assert anything that could be true or false..
A question like do you like mushrooms on your pizza. That s a request for information. It doesn t assert that such and such is true or false. Another type of sentence that doesn t count as a claim is a command or an imperative like step away from the car put your hands behind your head.
That s a request to perform an action. It makes no sense to ask whether the action or the command is true or false. So not every bit of language counts as a claim and so not every bit of language can play the role of a premise or a conclusion of an argument the second reason why this notion of a claim or statement is important is because it gives us a way of talking about clarity and precision in our use of language. This is because in saying that a sentence can function as a claim and an argument.
What we re saying is that all the relevant parties both the person giving the argument and the intended audience of the argument have a shared understanding of the meaning of that sentence and in this context..
What it means to understand the meaning of the sentence is to understand what it would mean for the sentence to be true or false. That is it involves being able to recognize and distinguish in your mind. A state of affairs in which the sentence is true from the state of affairs in which the sentence is false so in the context of logic and argumentation for a sentence to be able to function as a claim or it to be able to function as a premise or conclusion of an argument. There has to be shared understanding of what the sentence is asserting.
So if the sentence is too vague or its meaning is ambiguous. Then it can t function as a claim or an argument because in this case. We literally don t know what we re talking about so. The requirement that a sentence be able to function as a claim is not a trivial one it s actually pretty demanding not all bits of language make assertions and not all assertions are sufficiently clear in their meaning to function as claims.
This is important before you can even begin to ask whether an argument is good or bad..
You need to have a shared understanding of what the artument actually is and this is the requirement that you re expressing. When you say that an argument is made up of claims that can be true or false. What this means in practice is that ideally you want everyone to have a shared understanding of what the argument is about and what the premises are asserting. If people can t agree with the issue is or what s being asserted.
Then you have to go back and forth. And clarify the issue clarify the arguments. So that all parties finally have a shared understanding of the argument and only then can you have a rational discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the argument. ” .
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This video introduces the concept of a CLAIM, or STATEMENT, or PROPOSITION as the term is used in logic and argumentation.
claim, proposition, statement, premise, conclusion, argument