Defining Terms: Premise & Conclusion

October 14, 2011

I always try to go back and explain terms that I use to make sure you understand the blog posts.  Perhaps I should do them before I post blogs, but that would require some extra planning and thoughtfulness, that I don’t have.  In a recent post, The Cosmological Argument, I used the following terms:

Premise – A proposition upon which an argument is based or from which a conclusion is drawn.  In logic, it is one of the propositions in a deductive argument.

Conclusion – The result or outcome of an act or process.  In logic it is a reasoned deduction or inference.

These two terms will help you hone your debate and conversation skills with others.  While people may not outright label their debates and discussions with these words, they definitely use them.  Part of your job as a good apologist is to listen to what people are saying and be able to pick out their premises that lead to their conclusions.   Only after you know what their premise and conclusions are will you be able to examine their arguments for truth and coherence.  You may be able to show someone how their faulty conclusion is faulted based on one of their premises.

If you have two opposing conclusions that fit into the law of excluded middle.  (For example, Conclusion 1: God does not exist.  Conclusion 2: God does exist.) one conclusion naturally is wrong.  It is then the task of those in debate or conversation to retrace the premises in the arguments to decide whether the premises or the inferences are true or faulty.  Thus the discussions began.

As always, questions, comments, and discussions welcome.