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Thank you for reading my concern and providing your precious time. I am writing this question to highlight the difficulty in solving the problem due to wrong punctuation and sentence construction. Also, this question along with your answer will serve as a reference point for future revisions.

Sorry for asking such a basic question. I was going through Schaum's Outline of Logic, Chapter 1, Section 1.4 ARGUMENT DIAGRAMS. Initially, I found the illustration examples and exercise problems a bit confusing and challenging. So, I started asking little questions on each step and applied all the concepts I learned from Section 1.1 to 1.3. Things started working in my favor. But, while trying to solve the question below, I found that the punctuation was not done properly, and that is the reason I am unable to solve the problem. I was not able to figured out which sentences will combine, which sentences will be the premises and which one will be the conclusion.

The argument given in the book (as-is):

Today is either Tuesday or Wednesday. But it can't be Wednesday, since the doctor's office was open this morning, and that office is always closed on Wednesday. Therefore, today must be Tuesday.

I think this argument should be correctly written like this. [This is my question]

Today is either Tuesday or Wednesday , but it can't be Wednesday . Since, the doctor's office was open this morning, and that office is always closed on Wednesday. Therefore, today must be Tuesday.

Putting proper [brackets], bold, and italics in the above argument for the sake of solving the problem.

{ } for proper compound sentence,

[ ] for single statement,

Bold to indicate conjunction

Bold + italics to indicate Premises, and Conclusion indicator.

{[Today is either Tuesday or Wednesday,]1 [but it can't be Wednesday.]2} {[Since, the doctor's office was open this morning,]3 and that [office is always closed on Wednesday.]4} [Therefore, today must be Tuesday.]5

The above presentation alone with corrected punctuation provides clarity to solve the problem. Whereas, the original argument just creates more confusion.

So, my questions is,

How does the original argument given in the text book help to solve the problem, if it is not presented with correct punctuation? Or can it be categorized as a typographical error? Or still, can we achieve the same solution with original presented argument (in the textbook).

Sorry, for being to verbose.

  • The answer is only two options. Anyone can get the answer likely with these odds. The issue is NOT the correct solution BUT HOW TO THINK. Can you formally present the argument either in symbolic logic or a syllogism? That would demonstrate you have understanding. Some problems are worded to fool you, yes. Be more concerned with a thinking process which is deductive reasoning in these cases. If you can formally represent the argument regardless of the topic and do so consistently this is the point --not did I get the answer correct. – Logikal Jul 2 at 16:32
  • @Logikal I am preparing for competitive exam. For me, correct answer is very important. But, I get the gist of your thought. – Ubi hatt Jul 2 at 16:55
  • I made an edit which you may roll back or continue editing. Welcome! – Frank Hubeny Jul 2 at 18:07
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Here is the original argument:

Today is either Tuesday or Wednesday. But it can't be Wednesday, since the doctor's office was open this morning, and that office is always closed on Wednesday. Therefore, today must be Tuesday.

The proposed revision follows:

Today is either Tuesday or Wednesday, but it can't be Wednesday. Since, the doctor's office was open this morning, and that office is always closed on Wednesday. Therefore, today must be Tuesday.

The problem with the revision is that Since, the doctor's office was open this morning, and that office is always closed on Wednesday. is not a sentence.

Also one wants to conclude that today must be Tuesday. The first sentence gives us a disjunction, an or-statement: Today is either Tuesday or Wednesday. The second sentence allows us to use disjunctive syllogism to eliminate the case that it might be Wednesday because the doctor's office was open and it is closed on Wednesdays. With Wednesday eliminated we can conclude it must be Tuesday.

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