Exercise

For the following argument, add claims that satisfactorily show why the given premises (claims 2, 3, and 4) are relevant to the conclusion. Then indicate two contexts for each: one in which you would explicitly establish relevance and one in which you would not.

1. All Australians should learn about their own nation's history.

2. History helps us to understand what is happening now.

3. Australia's history tells many stories of the fight for democracy and justice.

4. Learning about Australian history involves learning to write essays.

Strength of support

It is very important to think about the strength of the support that we can give our claims. There are two distinct issues involved. First of all, we must have good evidence. A well-founded claim, by virtue of the fact that it is well founded, will have a number of good premises, which should be provided to assist our audience in accepting and understanding it. But a more significant issue in communicating our reasoning is to decide which of the supporting claims that we know about should be explicitly stated in our argument or explanation. We should also be able to decide when we need to do more research to find out if the claims we want to make can be supported. The issue of well-founded claims must, in part, depend on an analysis of whether or not the claims are true or not, but it also requires that we consider carefully how we communicate our arguments and explanations. The following discussion addresses this second consideration.

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