Text: Pomerleau
Assignment number:_3___ Reading Assignment location Pages:80-87_ Arg. loc.:Combine quotation
on p. 84 with second "causal argument" bottom 1/3 of page 86 to bottom p. 87.


: In order to carry out Descartes "process of elimination a bit more thoroughly than he did in one argument
join the points made in the quotation, p. 84 to the choices listed in the indented section of p. 87 and get:

A= my cause is a cause less than myself. B= my cause is myself (as a possible cause of myself).

C= my cause is a cause like me. D= my cause is a multiple cause higher than me and perfect. E= my cause is a unique cause higher than me and perfect.

Then let:

"V" = either...or (and possibly both)"
"&" = both...and"

And let the expression:
A V B= "Either A or B and possibly both are true."
X & Y = "X and Y must both be true(otherwise the statement is false.)". X & Y & Z= all three must be true , and so forth for any number of propositions connected by "&" signs.
- A = "A is false." (i.e. let the negative sign "-" mean "is false."




=cause whose potential descriptions are A V B V C V D V E, and about which we know that -A & -B & -C & -D




=ultimate cause of me as a thinking being with an innate idea of a perfect being




=cause whose description is E


Article Boxes

Subject Boxes

Copula Boxes

Predicate Boxes






M&P (Major)

S&M (Minor)










Do a circle diagram of your argument in this box:


1. My S is A, B, C.
2. My P is A, B, C.
3. My M is A, B, C.
4. My major prem. is an A, I, E, O, prop. (A=A, I=B, E=C O=D)
5. My minor premise is an A, I, E, O, proposition (Same code.)
6. My conclusion is an A, I, E, O, proposition (Same code.)
7. The syllogism is Valid (A), Invalid (B)
8. The figure is First (A), Second (B).

 Second Argument Location: Text: Pomerleau, pp. 109-123 Argument location , p. 122-123.

Tools: Hypothetical Arguments

In addition to categorical syllogistic reasoning, ordinary language logic uses hypothetical arguments (sometimes also called syllogisms) in which one premise lists hypothetical possibilities (if..then or either...or) and one or more claims of facts in additional premises. Together these lead, on the basis of relationships established in the hypothetical premise, to valid conclusions. In ordinary language logic, one can test the validity of these arguments (not their truth), by supposing that all the premises are true and judging what must follow. I will illustrate with examples of "conditional syllogisms" (meaning those which use "if...then" propositions for the hypothetical premise. Note that unlike S,P,M, which stand for categories or "nouns", the symbols in hypothetical syllogisms stand for whole declarative sentences , i.e."propositions." Hence this kind of logic is called propositional.:

Let "S" = It is snowing . Let "-S" = It is false that it is snowing (Or "It is not snowing."

Let "T" = The air temperature is near freezing. Let "-T" = It is false that the air temperature is near freezing.

Let ">" = if......then

Let "S > T" = If it is snowing then the air temperature is near freezing.

Then one can reason in four ways, only two of which are valid, #1 and #4 below.

1.) S > T

2.) S > T

3.) S > T

4.) S > T

First Premise


___- S_____


___- T_____

Second Premise

....... T (conclusion)

No valid conclusion*

No valid conclusion

___- S (conclusion)__


Note: The first premise (sometimes called the "major premise) is the "conditional proposition" which contains to sub-propositions, the "if" proposition, called the antecedent, and the "then" proposition, called the consequent.
Using this terminology we can then describe the second premises thus: In #1 we affirm the antecedent, allowing us to conclude to the truth of the consequent, in #2 we deny the antecedent (producing an invalid argument**), in #3 we affirm the consequent (also producing an invalid argument), in #4 we deny the consequent, allowing us to conclude to the falsehood of the antecedent.

* Allowing no valid conclusion to #2 is based on an "intuitive" meaning of ">", i.e. when we connect things with the if...then sign we are asserting some connection between the antecedent and the consequent, some kind of "causal" connection which is extremely troubling for philosophies which deny humans the power to know causes. In S > T, the causal connection, the truth of S causes us to know something about the air temperature, and it is the physical need for cold air to form water into snow which underlies that knowledge connection. In the sentence "If I am at Water World (WW) then I am at Cal Expo (CE) the connection which makes "WW > CE true is geographic. Using this intuitive, common sense, meaning of ">", the way to test the validity of any hypothetical argument is to get it into one of these four forms , and assume that the premises are true and reject anything which fits #2 or #3.

**For those of those of you who have had symbolic logic this means that we are not following the conventions of "material implication" (which does not mean that you cannot test arguments with the axiom P > Q = -P v Q). What this does mean is that you do not have to use truth tables, they are a waste of time. Simply carry out any transformation needed to get the argument into the forms above and follow the intuitive path by substituting some obvious case like S > T or WW > CE.

 Testing Locke's Proof of God's Existence: Pomerleau lays out Locke's argument as a conditional syllogism and claims that it is formally valid. I want you to use the four forms laid out above to show how it is valid (which is not to say "true.")
Pomerleau lays it out on the bottom of p. 122 to top of p. 123 with a series of premises “a” thru “e”.  His "a." is the conditional (if…then) proposition. His "b.", "c.", and "d." are the parts of the antecedent (the “if” clause)  in "a." each of which must be true for that antecedent to be true. See the rule for "&" signs above. His "e." is the consequent (the “then” clause) of the conditional premise and the conclusion of the proof.  From this information and Locke’s evident meaning  construct an argument that looks like those in the boxes above and put it in the box here


First Premise


Second Premise




Instructions: Use the following scan-tron code to answer:

9.) By combining b,c, and d into a single proposition using & as a connector, which of the four forms above is Locke's argument in?
1 = A; 2 = B; 3 = C; 4 = D?

10.) Is the form

11.) In earlier lectures Dundon used parts this argument, especially the "causal principle" which Locke discussed and Pomerleau examines from the top of p. 122 to demonstrate not the existence of God, but the power of the human mind. Dundon did not use the causal principle explicitly except to say "Out of absolutely nothing comes nothing." Dundon did not conclude to Pomerleau's "e." because he thought a material chain of causes could be infinite. Which of the premises does that mean Dundon does not accept. b = B; c = C; d = D?

12.) By the rule for "&" signs that rejection (in #11) by Dundon makes one part of Pomerleau's "a" false and hence puts it into a different one of the four forms. Which? 1 = A; 2 = B; 3 = C; 4 = D?

 13.)  Is that form  valid (A) or invalid (B)?

 14.) Does the answer to #13 make the conclusion false?  Yes = A;  No = B.