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Recognizing Arguments

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Conclusion-Indicators and Premise-Indicators

How may we determine which proposition is the conclusion of an argument, and which propositions are its premises? The order in which propositions appear in the passage surely cannot be relied upon. Some words or phrases typically serve to introduce the conclusion of an argument, and are therefore called conclusion-in-dictators. Here is a partial list of conclusion-indicators:

therefore *for these reasons
hence *it follows that
so *I conclude that
accordingly *which shows that
in consequence *which means that
consequently *which entails that
proves that *which implies that
as a result *which allows us to infer that
for this reason *which points to the conclusion that
thus *we may infer

Others words or phrases typically serve to mark the premises of an argument and hence are called premise-indicators. Usually, but not always what follows any one of these will be the premise of some argument. Here is a partial list of premise-indicators:

since *as indicated by
because *the reason is that
for *for the reason that
as *may be inferred from
follows *from may be derived from
as shown by *may be deduced from
inasmuch as *in view of the fact that

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