Monday, 26 August 2013

Critical Thinking 5: Soundness

Higher Philosophy Podcast
Critical Thinking: Soundness

This is available as an MP3 or to download as a podcast through iTunes
for Desktop and Apple devices, as well as PodcastHD for Android Devices.

If you have established that the argument is indeed valid you then need determine if the argument is sound.  Very simply, an argument is sound if it has both a valid structure and true premises.  How, then, do we assess true premises?  This may be an area that epistemologists have quite a bit to say.  However, we have to leave that tangent alone for now and try and simplify our definition.  True, in this this regard, means that you know the premise to be true or the premise is a commonly held belief. 

A sound argument is the most reliable type of argument owing to both its valid structure and its true premises.  When we speak of argument we try and avoid saying “that was a bad argument” or “good argument”.  An argument is either valid, or invalid, sound, or unsound.  As the most reliable type of argument is a sound argument we can rank argument types in regards to their reliability:  Sound > Unsound but Valid > Invalid.

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