240 votes
Accepted

Is 'guns don't kill people, people kill people' a good argument?

This line of argument is basically a strawman fallacy, which is when you construct a weaker version of your opponent's argument in order to then disprove it. In this case the weaker argument is that "...
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45 votes

Is 'guns don't kill people, people kill people' a good argument?

To complement Chris' answer I'll try to deconstruct some of the reasoning in the arguments a bit. Suppose we claim that "guns don't kill people; people kill people." The only reasonable way to parse ...
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  • 7,171
34 votes

Can an argument be valid even though one of its premises is false?

First: we don't really say that arguments are true or false. Statements are true or false, but arguments have different kinds of properties. One of those properties is, as you are obviously aware of, ...
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  • 2,697
21 votes

Can an argument be valid even though one of its premises is false?

Yes : Premise : All dogs are mortal (true) Premise : All birds are dogs (false) Conclusion : All birds are mortal (true) The argument is valid because there is a correct relation between premises ...
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18 votes

Is 'guns don't kill people, people kill people' a good argument?

"Guns don't kill people; people kill people" is not an argument, it's a slogan. It may be the case that this slogan is just a way to get people to discuss the role of individual responsibility in what ...
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  • 6,997
17 votes

Can an argument be valid even though one of its premises is false?

(Promoting this from @MauroALLEGRANZA's comment, since it deserves a full answer.) Yes, an argument can be valid but still not be sound. This is really just a matter of understanding the terminology: ...
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  • 439
14 votes
Accepted

Are there philosophical theories that are either confirmed or refuted by the majority of experts?

Yes, there are many "philosophical theories" that have been refuted by the majority of experts. An obvious example is Thales identification of "water" as the irreducible substance. Many pre-Socratic "...
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14 votes
Accepted

Is "(1) All humans are mortal. (2) Socrates is mortal. Conclusion: Socrates is human." unsound argument?

Hence, I think this one is a sound sentence. Soundness is not a property that applies to sentences, but rather to arguments as whole. A sound argument is one that is valid and has all true premises. ...
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13 votes

Are there philosophical theories that are either confirmed or refuted by the majority of experts?

A problem in your question has to do with the concept of refutation and confirmation. If you think of refutation as empirical refutation, then trivially, only empirical sciences refute hypothesis. ...
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12 votes

Is this argument about abortion being both right and wrong valid or invalid?

The argument is valid. It's easier to see if translated to symbols: 1. R v W premise 2. R → F premise 3. ~F premise 4. ~R entailed by 2-3 5. W → ~D premise 6. D ...
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  • 6,458
11 votes

Is 'guns don't kill people, people kill people' a good argument?

I think you can view the "X doesn't do A; Y does A" formulation as either (a) a response to an equivocation meant to elucidate it OR (b) an equivocation itself Working with the classic "...
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  • 24.3k
11 votes

Is 'guns don't kill people, people kill people' a good argument?

This is a black-or-white fallacy. While logically it checks out as true and is difficult to disagree with in real-time discussion; the intention is to frame the argument using an oversimplification of ...
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9 votes

What is the difference between mathematical reasoning and philosophical reasoning?

Philosophical arguments are made mathematical all the time. Its why you will see First Order Logic symbols thrown around on this Stack Exchange. I think the big difference between mathematics and ...
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9 votes

Is the following statement true, false, or can't be determined? Why?

A statement of the form "If X then Y" where Y is true, is always true in classical logic. If the consequent of a conditional is true, then it matters neither what the antecedent is, nor whether there'...
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8 votes
Accepted

Is the logic of this argument valid?

This argument could hardly be rendered into a valid form without all kinds of additional assumptions and clarifications. For example, Assumes we know what God wants and what he/she might or might ...
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8 votes

Analogy between an unknown in an argument, and a contradiction in the principle of explosion

It is common for beginning students of logic to read philosophical importance into the principle of explosion, but this is a mistake. The principle of explosion is merely a mathematical outcome of the ...
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7 votes

Is 'guns don't kill people, people kill people' a good argument?

To quote Eddy Izzard: Guns don't kill people, people with guns kill people. The whole thing is a sophistry: A clever but wrong argument with the intent of deceiving people. First, it is a fact that ...
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7 votes
Accepted

soundness: how can one decide\know if premise is true or false

In general, you do not know whether the premise is true or not. Still, we would like to say that something is wrong with an argument, if its premises are wrong. Note that All men are immortal. ...
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  • 434
7 votes

How can one measure the quality of art?

There is no universal agreed upon answer, but personally I would be a little Aristotelian about it: art has a purpose, and the degree that it is fit to that purpose is the degree that it is great art. ...
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  • 304
7 votes
Accepted

How to find redundant premises?

Regarding the statement from your question: "it isn't valid" By definition, an argument is valid if the premises and our accepted working of logical rules create a situation such that if all of ...
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  • 805
7 votes

valid or invalid: “S or R. Not S and Not R. Ergo, B.”

This argument is valid on most definitions of validity. The common definition of validity in use today is: if the premises are true, then the conclusion must be true. worded another way, there must ...
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  • 24.3k
6 votes
Accepted

How to point out argumentation fallacy in "real life"

Take the logical fallacy that seems to come up the most: Appeal to Authority. People will make decisions all the time because someone with lots of experience or an important sounding title told them ...
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6 votes

Why are some communication failures regarded as important opinions in philosophy?

I'll try to provide a partial answer as I do think this is an interesting question about philosophy. Reasons Philosophy is Hard to Understand First, I would say that you might be losing something in ...
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6 votes

Why is Tarski's notion of logical validity preferred to deductive one?

This is an interesting and important question and merits a long answer. I shall be as concise as I can consistently with being helpful. The question asks whether we should understand validity in terms ...
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  • 15.4k
6 votes
Accepted

What fallacy dismisses a conclusion because supporters give invalid arguments for it?

The question is vague, so it can be several different things. Generally, dismissing an argument based on who is supporting it is called ad hominem, "attack on an argument made by attacking the ...
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5 votes
Accepted

Argument where premises cannot all be true

An argument is deductively valid if and only if it's impossible for all its premises to be true and its conclusion to be false at the same time. If it's impossible for its premises to be true at the ...
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  • 5,398
5 votes

Could the assumption of materialism be a flaw in the scientific method?

Science as a discipline does not take as axiomatic the view that nature is fundamentally material, although many scientists do. Science does postulate the existence of objects having mass and physical ...
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  • 331
5 votes

Question regarding sound argument

All birds are green, My dog is a bird Therefore my dog is green This is a valid argument because the conclusion follows from the premises. Yet the premises are false.
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5 votes
Accepted

Validity and Soundness

Let's look at the translations (into first-order logic): (1) ∃x : Man(x) ∧ Married(x). (2) ∃x : Man(x) ∧ ¬Married(x). The first is true in universes where there is at least one married man; the ...
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5 votes
Accepted

Why is Tarski's notion of logical validity preferred to deductive one?

Reagarding Tarski's original motivation, we can see the new English translation of Tarski's 1936 paper : Alfred Tarski, On the Concept of Following Logically (1936) : Even relatively recently it ...
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