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This is the minimum you need to know to take part in my philosophy cafe -- or indeed any discussion at all. Full details are available in my NOUS course.

Every position that is not intuitively true must be supported by an argument.


An argument comprises two parts: reason and conclusion.


The reason is the set of statements that claim to imply the position (or conclusion). Each such statement is called a premiss.


The conclusion is the statement that the reason claims to support.


Every argument must pass two tests.


The first test is validity: the reason must imply only the conclusion.


The second test is truth: every premiss must be true.


We must accept any argument that passes both tests.


Premisses that are not intuitively true must be separately supported by a branch argument.


An argument can be rebutted on only two counts: invalidity (the reason does not imply only the conclusion) and non-truth (a premiss false or uncertain).


An argument for an opposing conclusion (or a counterargument) is not a rebuttal.


A complex argument (one with trunk and branches) is more easily attacked than a simple argument (trunk only).


A position is better supported by many trunks than by many branches.


To make a case: One accepted argument.

To break a case: Rebut all arguments.

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