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An argument is an attempt to persuade someone of something. Reasons are given to accept the conclusion. The general structure of an argument in a natural language is that premises (propositions or statements) support the claim or conclusion.
An argument is a reason to support an opinion.
There can be a "strong argument" or a "convincing argument" (for example, a good reason for why something should be done). Argumentation is the process of conducting an argument.
The opposite is a "weak argument" or an "unconvincing argument". An argument can be valid or invalid or a combination of both. Some arguments may appear reasonable, but they turn out to be misleading or wrong.
The verb is to argue. When people say that someone is "arguing", it can mean that the person is becoming very annoyed, but it does not have to mean that. "To argue with someone" can also mean that someone is becoming annoyed. Someone who is always arguing with people is argumentative.
"To argue" may simply mean "to debate", "to discuss", usually between people of differing opinions. "The lawyer argued the case" (he gave reasons why he thought the person was guilty or not guilty). Most people get into arguments (become annoyed) at times, but it is much better to try to agree with someone by discussing the arguments (reasons) thoughtfully. Sometimes an argument can be settled by each person making a compromise (an arrangement in which each side gives up something).
Arguments can escalate (get worse). Then they are disputes. Disputes can escalate into conflicts. Conflicts may escalate into violence. But arguments can also disappear or get resolved. People can listen, learn, and see the other point of view. They can be helped by discussion, mediation or negotiation.
- Argument, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. "In everyday life, we often use the word "argument" to mean a verbal dispute or disagreement. This is not the way this word is usually used in philosophy. However, the two uses are related. Normally, when two people verbally disagree with each other, each person attempts to convince the other that his or her viewpoint is the right one. Unless he or she merely results to name calling or threats, he or she typically presents an argument for his or her position, in the sense described above. In philosophy, arguments are those statements a person makes in the attempt to convince someone of something, or present reasons for accepting a given conclusion".
- Johnson, Ralph H. 2000 Manifest rationality: a pragmatic theory of argument. New Jersey: Erlbaum, 46-49.
- The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, 2nd ed. 1995: "Argument: a sequence of statements such that some of them (the premises) purport to give reason to accept another of them, the conclusion"
- Stanford Enc. Phil., Classical Logic
- Blakesley, David and Jeffrey L. Hoogeveen. (2007). The Thomson Handbook, p. 209.