Spotting shaky conclusions

Spotting shaky conclusions
Photo by Aperture Vintage / Unsplash

An argument comprises premises and conclusion(s). Even if the premises are true, the conclusions can still be illogical, which can lead you to accept something that's false. Let's investigate one way of spotting a bad argument.

A bad argument will have words/phrases in the conclusion that don't appear in any of the premises. Here's an example:

  1. Python has a very simple syntax. (premise)
  2. Python is used in many colleges as a primary language to teach programming. (premise)
  3. Thus, Python is the best language to use in the industry. (conclusion)

Let's assume that the premises are true. However, the words "best language" or "industry" don't appear in any of the premises, but they do in the conclusion. We tend to fill in the gaps and automatically assume that the conclusion is correct. But the above text is illogical, because it has not proven any prior correlation between "industry languages" and "syntax" and "college" before making its conclusion.

If you're really interested in logical reasoning, I'd recommend getting an LSAT textbook, even if you have no interest in law. The Loophole in LSAT Logical Reasoning is a pretty one.