In logic and philosophy, an argument is an attempt to persuade someone of something, by giving reasons for accepting a particular conclusion as evident. The general structure of an argument in a natural language is that of premises (typically in the form of propositions, statements or sentences) in support of a claim: the conclusion. The structure of some arguments can also be set out in a formal language, and formally-defined "arguments" can be made independently of natural language arguments, as in math, logic and computer science.
In a typical deductive argument, the premises are meant to provide a guarantee of the truth of the conclusion, while in an inductive argument, they are thought to provide reasons supporting the conclusion's probable truth. The standards for evaluating non-deductive arguments may rest on different or additional criteria than truth, for example, the persuasiveness of so-called "indispensability claims" in transcendental arguments, the quality of hypotheses in retroduction, or even the disclosure of new possibilities for thinking and acting.
The standards and criteria used in evaluating arguments and their forms of reasoning are studied in logic. Ways of formulating arguments effectively are studied in rhetoric (see also: argumentation theory). An argument in a formal language shows the logical form of the symbolically-represented or natural language arguments obtained by its interpretations.
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