One of mankind’s most important inventions is the language. The language that we use to communicate has several other benefits apart from the mere conversation. Any language is helpful for making statements, issuing commands, asking questions, offering explanations, making jokes and doing a host of several other things. To add on, forming arguments is also one of the specialized uses of the language that we converse in. Logically speaking, an argument is a meaningful declarative sentence that supports another meaningful sentence to form the conclusion. But did you know that there are different kinds of arguments, each having its own special use, strengths and weaknesses. Further, each type has to be handled separately, in fact, different from the other. Without further explanation, let us look at the various kinds of arguments in the lines that follow.
Different Kinds Of Arguments
The most interesting and probably the most powerful kind of argument is the deductive argument. This is one which provides convincing proof of its conclusions. This is done by presenting all the supporting evidences and reasoning for the premises and inferences. Further, if the premises are true, the conclusion, in any way, must also be true. Consider the example, ‘All whales are mammals, all mammals breathe air, therefore all whales breathe air’. However, deductive arguments have one limitation. These arguments lack evidence beyond what is contained in the premises where some arguments require the inclusion of inferences as well.
The limitation of deductive argument is fulfilled by the inductive argument. Inductive argument is one where the premises are supposed to support the conclusion such that the conclusion is likely to be true if the premises are true. Thus, inductive arguments are weaker than deductive arguments as they are only plausible and not confirmatory. Check out this example - ‘Every crow I have ever seen has been black, so probably all crows are black’.
Argument By Analogy
It often happens that we reason about something about which we do not know, on the basis of other evidence, which we are better acquainted about. In such circumstances, we come up with arguments that fall under the category of arguments by analogy. Similar to inductive arguments, these arguments only give a probable result or likely conclusions. An example of argument by analogy goes as - ‘In my car, the lever on the left operates the signal lights, hence it is likely that the left lever will operate the signals in this hired car’.
Argument From Sign
Anything that is indicative of an occurrence of a situation or condition, based on some other observed feature concluding the presence of the premises, is known as argument from sign. For instance, ‘Here are some bear tracks in the snow; therefore a bear passed this way’. This sentence indicates that probably a bear passed by the track due the presence of the bear marks.
Other types of arguments include:
Argument by Example
Argument from Cause
Argument from Testimony
Argument from Narrative
Argument from Ethos