Mainp softvnncom

Claims that argue for or explain another claim are always placed above them; claims that work together to form one reason are placed alongside one another, as a chain of dependent premises. Getting the diagram right doesn't make this happen, it is a way of representing—in a structured format—what is happening in our minds.

We tend to imagine that strong reasoning involves understanding and using a number of different reasons for our conclusion, giving our arguments and explanations intellectual breadth. This view has considerable merit (and we examine it in more detail in the next section), but it does not mean that we can ignore the requirement to argue and explain in depth. Learning to 'unpack' what we initially think of as a straightforward, simple reason and to express it as a number of distinct, but dependent, premises is the only way to make sure our reasoning is not too shallow.

For example, in relation to higher education, deep reasoning will bring out the current debate about whether education is vocational (training for employment) or liberal (education for the individual's own life). It would engage with the complex issues of who pays, against a background of reduced government spending and increased personal wealth for some Australians. It would engage with the social purposes of education (education for individual benefit or for social improvement). Each of these issues is worthy of significant argument and explanation in its own right. Such an approach ensures that our reasoning addresses all the issues raised by the conclusion: the meaning of certain words, the values that we are seeking to express, the exact way in which certain situations come about, and so on.

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