A Guide to Argument Analysis

The analysis of arguments is key to doing good philosophy, but even more than this, it is one of the most useful tools you will take with you outside a philosophy course. Many years of teaching has shown that most students analyze an argument - which consists of both a claim (the conclusion) and reasons to accept it (the premises) -usually by just trying to establish whether some premises are false (if they want to argue against the conclusion) or by arguing that the premises are true, if they want to argue for the conclusion. Many times the arguments for or against the truth of premises are just as weak or unconvincing as the original argument, which makes for poor argument analysis. This short step by step guide to argument analysis, with tips along the way, is designed to increase your tools for analyzing arguments.