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WILLIAM FLEMING - 1890 - Table of contents

A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H- I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W  

Diccionario filosófico
Complete edition

Diccionario de Filosofía
Brief definition of the most important concepts of philosophy.


A Dictionary of English Philosophical Terms Francis Garden


Vocabulary of Philosophy, Psychological, Ethical, Metaphysical
William Fleming

Biografías y semblanzas Biographical references and lives of philosophers

Brief introduction to the thought of Ortega y Gasset

History of Philosophy Summaries

Historia de la Filosofía
Explanation of the thought of the great philosophers; summaries, exercises...

Historia de la Filosofía
Digital edition of the History of Philosophy by Jaime Balmes

Historia de la Filosofía
Digital edition of the History of Philosophy by Zeferino González

Vidas, opiniones y sentencias de los filósofos más ilustres
Complete digital edition of the work of Diogenes Laertius

Compendio de las vidas de los filósofos antiguos

A brief history of Greek Philosophy
B. C. Burt


A Short History of Philosophy





ARGUMENT (arguo, from ἀργός, clear, manifest), to show, reason, or prove; procedure towards truth by inference (Whately, Logic, bk. II. ch. III. sec. 2).

The term argument in ordinary discourse has several meanings:—(1) It is used for the premises in contradiction to the conclusion, e.g., "the conclusion which this argument is intended to establish is," &c.; (2) it denotes what is a course or series of arguments, as when it is applied to an entire dissertation; (3) sometimes a disputation or two trains of argument opposed to each other; (4) lastly, the various forms of stating an argument are sometimes spoken of as different kinds of argument, as if the same argument were not capable of being stated in various ways (Whately, Logic, app. I.).


"In technical propriety argument cannot be used for argumentation, as Dr Whately thinks, but exclusively for its middle term. In this meaning, the word (though not with uniform consistency) was employed by Cicero, Quintilian, Boethius, &c.; it was thus subsequently used by the Latin Aristotelians, from whom it passed even to the Ramists; and this is the meaning which the expression always first, and most naturally, suggests to a logician" (Sir W. Hamilton, Discussions, p. 147).

In this sense the discovery of arguments means the discovery of middle terms.

Argument (The Indirect).—It is opposed to the Ostensive or Direct. Of Indirect arguments several kinds are enumerated by logicians:—

Argumentum ad hominem, an appeal to the principles or consistency of an opponent.

Argumentum ex concesso, a proof derived from some truth already admitted.

Argumentum a fortiori (q.v.).

Argumentum ad judicium, an appeal to the common sense of mankind.

Argumentum ad verecundiam, an appeal to our reverence for some respected authority.

Argumentum ad populum, an appeal to the passions and prejudices of the multitude.

Argumentum ad ignorantiam, an argument founded on the ignorance of an adversary.

Argumentum per impossibile, or Reductio ad absurdum, is the proof of a conclusion derived from the absurdity of a contradictory supposition.

These arguments are called Indirect, because the conclusion that is established is not the absolute and general one in question, but some other relative and particular conclusion, which the person is bound to admit in order to maintain his consistency. The Reductio ad absurdum is the form of argument which more particularly comes under this denomination. This mode of reasoning is much employed in geometry, where, instead of demonstrating what is asserted, everything that contradicts the assertion is shown to be absurd. For, if everything which contradicts a proposition is absurd, or unthinkable, the proposition itself must be accepted as true.



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