What Makes a Sound Argument

September 13, 2010 · Published in Philosophy  by Jonathan Garrison ·

A sound argument has the following properties:

  • The conclusion follows logically and necessarily from the premises.
  • The premises are objectively true.
  • The truth of each premise is discernible.
In a philosophical argument, the truth of each premise need not be demonstrated to 100% certainty. In fact, no premise in human experience is shown to be true or false with absolute certainty. To demand such a criterion would result in skepticism so extreme as to prevent arriving at any useful conclusion. For a sound argument, it must simply be shown that the truth of each premise is more plausible than its negation. The greater the extent to which each premise is more plausibly true than its negation, the stronger the argument.

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