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The argument below is from the book "A concise introduction to logic".

The condition under which many food animals are raised are unhealthy for humans. To keep these animals alive, large quantities of drugs must be administered. These drugs remain in the animals' flesh and are passed on to the human who eat it.

In this argument the first statement is the conclusion and other two are the premises.

I am unable to find in what way or in what sense the premises support the conclusion. For me it doesn't seem to be an argument.

How do the premises support the conclusion of this argument?

  • If we assume that the first statement is not a premise, but just a statement, and next sentences are an explanation, I don't see how. This is done often in mathematics when a theorem is stated first and a proof last. It boils down to whether the first statement is a part of the argument. – rus9384 Oct 26 '18 at 5:28
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The argument is a straightforward line of if-then statements. (1) If A then B; if B then C; if C then D; if D then E. (2) A is true. (3) Thus E must be true.

  1. If these animals are kept alive, then they have received large quantities of drugs.

  2. If these animals have received large quantities of drugs, then those drugs will remain in the animals’ flesh.

  3. If the drugs remain in the animals’ flesh, then humans will consume the drugs when eating the flesh.

  4. If the humans consume the drugs, then the humans will injure their health.

Thus: the conditions under which many food animals are raised are unhealthy for humans.

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2) To keep these animals [i.e. many food animals] alive, large quantities of drugs must be administered.

and

3) These drugs remain in the animals' flesh and are passed on to the human who eat it.

are the premises.

Thus,

1) The condition under which many food animals are raised are unhealthy for humans.

is the conclusion.

  • See the first proposition which is the conclusion assert about unhealthy condition of animals for human and the second and third tells about how to keep animals alive that is second and third doesn't proving that condition is unhealthy instead they further telling how to keep them alive (healthy) – user273747 Oct 25 '18 at 9:25
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    @user273747 There is missing / implied premise : "The drugs are unhealthy for humans." – christo183 Oct 25 '18 at 9:29
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    It doesn't seem to be an argument but just three facts stated in turn. It has no premise/conclusion structure. – PeterJ Oct 25 '18 at 9:55
  • I should say this does not prove the argument is formally wrong. Just the inversed structure, while there are many premises omitted, because it's assumed the reader already "understands" them. Say, consuming drugs causes health problems. Not always true and misleading in fact. But it is based on this common belief. – rus9384 Oct 26 '18 at 5:32
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It isn't a valid formal logical argument. It is missing a premise, something like "Eating things with drugs in them is bad for humans". Otherwise, we see that people eat animals with drugs in them, but don't know whether this is unhealthy or not. It sounds plausible, but logic aims at better than mere plausibility.

  • Isn't second statement a premise? – rus9384 Oct 26 '18 at 5:29

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