When we argue, we make claims about the world (these claims are called the conclusion of the argument) and provide reasons or evidence for those claims (these reasons are called the premises of the argument). Whenever one confronts an argument, the basic question is: are the reasons good? If they are good reasons, it is rational to believe the claim is true. If the reasons are bad, it is rational to withhold belief about the truth of the claim.
Homework problem: In 1-2 pages, tell me how you determine whether the reasons for a claim are good or bad. Be specific. Provide an example of an argument and use your technique to assess how good the reasons are.
If you don’t have an argument, here is a simple one to use:
Premise1: Jack went to the liquor store intending to buy a bottle of wine.
Premise2: Upon entering the store, Jack realized he had left his wallet at home.
Conclusion: The guests at Jack’s dinner party tonight will be awfully upset.