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A valid structure is the way in which an argument is put together that assures it will pass the test of logical strength.
The Basic Structure of Deductive and Inductive Arguments
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Tightening laws restricting the use and possession of firearms does not protect average law-abiding citizens; it only puts them at greater risk. Enforcing licensing restrictions, trigger locks, and waiting periods makes it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to defend themselves, and, as a result, encourages criminal activity. Only criminals benefit when ordinary citizens are deprived of their right to own a firearm and protect themselves, their homes, and their families” (Lott, 2000, p. 169)
Lott, J., (2000). More guns, less crime: Understanding crime and gun-control laws. University of Chicago Press.
The argument boils down to this:
However, the argument itself is composed of three intertwined syllogisms:
Only ordinary citizens are persons who respect tight gun laws.
Criminal persons are not ordinary citizens.
Therefore, criminals do not respect tight gun laws.
Tight gun laws restrict only ordinary citizens.
No criminal is an ordinary citizen.
No criminal is restricted by tight gun laws.
Laws that disfavor the good are laws that favor the bad.
Tight gun laws favor the bad.
Therefore, tight gun laws disfavor the good.
Notice that you cannot remove any of the legs and maintain the claim. Notice, also, that the reasons are closely connected and depend on or follow from each other. Notice, also, that the first premise (called the major premise) must be accepted as true or the entire argument fails.
The United States is too dependent upon foreign oil. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, we rely on imported foreign oil for about 45% of our needs. Of the imported oil, most comes from Canada, but 22% comes from countries in the Middle East. Undeniably, this dependence shapes our foreign policy. We have vast oil reserves that could make us energy-independent. Development of these resources would produce much-needed jobs, many of them in areas of the country suffering most from the recession. We should be developing an energy policy that makes us energy independent.
Notice that any one of these reasons, standing alone, could support the conclusions; they are not logically related to one another as they would be in a syllogism.
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