The Lay-out of Arguments

Arguments have been much misunderstood. Not only has it been assumed that they must be deductive, but it has been assumed also that, although often expressed in loose and elliptical form, they must be capable, if they are valid at all, of being expressed with absolute precision, as a set of necessary and sufficient conditions for the action in question to be appropriate. Mathematical arguments are capable of being stated precisely, and it has long been a reproach to workers in other disciplines that they do not manage to achieve equal precision in their work. The assumption is made that absolute precision is in principle available, and it is only a lack of rigour by practitioners in the non-mathematical disciplines that prevents them casting their arguments in satisfactory form, and the philosopher should, therefore, reconstruct arguments to conform with these requirements, evaluating those that do, and rejecting any that do not.
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