This example was in Critical Thinking by Moore and Parker:

My landowner will increase the rent, so I should not get a dog.

As I was reading the text, I wasn't sure what type of argument this would be. I thought it would be inductive because the premise supports the conclusion, but then again, if the conclusion is subjective, it can't be inductive. So, what type of argument would this be?

  • 1
    Your landlord is going to increase the rent; therefore you might want to look for a new place to live. It's easier to find a place if you don't have a dog. Therefore you should not get a dog. The argument is perfectly valid, it's just missing a step that the reader could have easily filled in. That's probably not the answer your book is looking for though.
    – user4894
    May 11, 2021 at 21:25
  • The conclusion being subjective as you call it is not relevant. No type of reasoning is determined that way. What you need to grasp are the concepts INDUCTIVE reasoning and DEDUCTIVE reasoning. Deductive reasoning requires certainty if the premises are true. That is there is no possibility of the conclusion being false. It is impossible to be false if we begin with true premises. Inductive reasoning does not guarantee certainty whatsoever. Inductive reasoning boils down to possibility from 1 percent to 99 percent. So the argument is inductive if the conclusion is not certain.
    – Logikal
    May 11, 2021 at 21:28
  • @user4894 your knowledge of how the world works allows you to think that way. Had you not been familiar with how apartment searching works how would your reasoning hold? I think we would both agree you reasoning would not work reliably. Even if you are correct you accidentally are correct from your reason alone. That reasoning is categorized as MATERIAL LOGIC. Once your awareness or familiarity is gone it doesn’t hold. Deductive reasoning on the other hand does not require you to be familiar with the topic of discussion. There is a difference you should notice.
    – Logikal
    May 11, 2021 at 21:33
  • @Logikal If you'll reread my comment you'll see that I said, "This is probably not the answer your book is looking for ..." But answer me this. If you didn't know the meaning of the words in the real world, how would YOU analyze the OP's argument? Without some amount of real-world semantic knowledge you couldn't even begin, right?
    – user4894
    May 11, 2021 at 23:18
  • @user4894, deductive reasoning is not solely about understanding the words or language. So you are wrong there. Deductive reasoning can be in ANY LANGUAGE --even if I don't understand that language -- & by following RULES I can derive a new proposition. So deductive reasoning is not in the category of MATERIAL LOGIC. I can understand why you are confused be most humans learn by Material Logic which is not a universal system. So reasoning by familiarity may work on Monday and fail on Thursday. Deductive reasoning is about patterns and rules of reasoning with CERTAINTY. One of the 2 is certain.
    – Logikal
    May 12, 2021 at 0:26

1 Answer 1


Apparently your 1 line material argument is not deductive and in reality some argumentation schemes may be additionally employed to further strengthen the rhetoric and cogency of arguments by filling in missing steps in between, for example. In such case your argument can be classified as elliptical or ethymematic argument as referenced here.

Often an argument is invalid or weak because there is a missing premise—the supply of which would make it valid or strong. This is referred to as an elliptical or ethymematic argument.

In your case it could be rationally speculated to be filled in as:

My landowner will increase the rent

(I'm short on money and have to find a new place)

(Most landlords don't welcome tenants with pets)

conclusion: I should not get a dog

Also it seems not your argument may not be strongly cogent, it can also be classified as Defeasible argument:

In modern argumentation theories, arguments are regarded as defeasible passages from premises to a conclusion. Defeasibility means that when additional information (new evidence or contrary arguments) is provided, the premises may be no longer lead to the conclusion (non-monotonic reasoning). This type of reasoning is referred to as defeasible reasoning.

In order to represent and assess defeasible reasoning, it is necessary to combine the logical rules (governing the acceptance of a conclusion based on the acceptance of its premises) with rules of material inference, governing how a premise can support a given conclusion (whether it is reasonable or not to draw a specific conclusion from a specific description of a state of affairs).

So in your example, if some landlords happen to be dog-friendly or even offering discount for dog owners, your conclusion may be wrong. This doesn't necessarily mean your argument above has fallacy since there seems to exist certain such custom or general rules...

  • I agree with the enthymematic option. But of course there are several different ways of filling in the argument. Maybe I don't need a new place, but I cannot afford both a higher rent and the expense of owning a dog. It is even possible to construe it as my landowner will increase my rent if I get a dog, so I would be better off without one.
    – Bumble
    Feb 6, 2022 at 12:14

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