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Evaluating Arguments

In evaluating arguments, 2 aspects are considered:

1) Truth of the Premises (Content)
2) Validity of Reasoning (Form)

The actual content of the premises (whether the content is factually true or not is not the
concern of logic but of epistemology)
Thus, when we claim a syllogism to be TRUE, we are not questioning whether the premises
are in fact true but if the premises were true.
In order to properly evaluate an argument we need to ask ourselves 2 questions.
1) Are the premises true?
2) Does the conclusion follow from the premise?

If the premises are true; factually correct

If the conclusion follows from the premises valid
If the syllogism is factually correct and valid sound

Note: the argument subjected to logical evaluation is called CATEGORICAL SYLLOGISM.

1) Standard Form: Major Premise
Minor Premise

Ideal Form

*Other Possible Forms

1) m
2) C
3) M
2) Parts basic unit is called a TERM
In a standard form syllogism, there can only be a maximum of 6 terms; 2 for each
1) The subject term of the conclusions is the minor term (S). The predicate of the
conclusion is the major term (P), the term that appears in both premises but not
in the conclusion is the middle term (M).
2) The premise that contains the major term is the major premise (usually a general
fact); the premise containing the minor term is the minor premise (usually a
particular fact)
1) Neither the quantifier and copula is considered in the conclusion, rather, it is
only used to determine the type of statement.
2) Determine the subject term and predicate term of the conclusion, then
determine the major and minor premise.

Rules on validating categorical syllogisms

It can be divided into 2 parts; rules on terms and rules on propositions.

A) Rule on Terms
Rule 1: A categorical syllogism must contain only 3 terms. Each must appear twice
not on the same proposition and must have the same sense throughout the
1) Fallacy of 4 terms
2) Fallacy of Equivocation
3) Fallacy of Amphiboly
All candies are sweet
Some girls are sweet
Some girls are candies
Rule 2: The middle term must be distributed in at least 1 premise.
All pigs are mammals
All men are mammals
All men are pigs
1. Fallacy of undistributed middle term
Rule 3: The middle term must not be found in the conclusion.
All the students are thomasians
Pete is a student
Pete is a thomasian student
1. Fallacy of misplaced middle term
Rule 4: Any term distributed in the conclusion must be distributed in the premises.
1. Fallacy of illicit major term this occurs when the major term is
undistributed in the
premise but is distributed in the conclusion.
(But not vice
2. Fallacy of illicit minor term this occurs when the minor term is
undistributed in the
premise but is distributed in the conclusion.
(But not vice
Illustration 1
Illustration 2
All animals are organisms
are models
No insect is an animal
Actors are men


Insects are not organisms


are models
M (D) A

P (U)

M (D)

S (D)

M (D)

M (D)

S (D)

P (D)

S (D)


B) Rules on Propositions
Rule 5: No standard form syllogism with 2 negative premises (E, O) is valid.
No plants are humans
No Filipinos are animals
No Filipinos are humans
Note: There can be no conclusion
Rule 6: If both premises are affirmative, the conclusion must also be affirmative.
*Fallacy of affirmative conclusion (Rule 5)
*Fallacy of negative conclusion (Rule 6)
All apples are sweet
Some fruits are apples
Some fruits are not sweet
Note: violation of Rule 6 also commits the fallacy of illicit major.
Rule 7: If one of the premises is negative, the conclusion must be negative.
*Fallacy of affirmative conclusion (Rule 5&7)
Some lawmakers are not lawyers
All lawmakers are professionals
Some professionals are lawyers
Rule 8: If one of the premises is particular, the conclusion must be particular.
Results in either the fallacies of undistributed middle, illicit major and illicit minor.
Earth is a planet

All Buddhists are followers of Buddha

Saturn is a planet

Some Chinese are Buddhist

Saturn is Earth

Chinese are followers of Buddha

Some heroes are

No soldier is

a patriot
No soldier is

a hero
Rule 9: No conclusion can be drawn from two particular premises; at least 1 must
be universal.

Some men are lawyers

Some filipinos are men
Some filipinos are lawyers

Some nurses are OFWs

Some filipinas are nurses
All filipinas are OFWs

Some televisions are

Some gadgets are not
Some gadgets are not

Venn Diagram
Proponent: John Venn
Purpose: Determines whether a given categorical syllogism is a valid or invalid.

Note: Universals (A, E) are shaded

Particulars (I, O) are


1) Diagram the premises

2) Check whether diagrams contains the content of the conclusion
3) Determine its validity